I trained to run more like 3:35 pace using their plan, but as it came closer to race day I was more paranoid about not hitting my goal of breaking 3:40, so I decided (and convinced my training partner) to run 8:20 pace and then if we were still feeling good, I would push the last miles. And that is what happened.
We had perfect weather, the front that was coming started pushing through right as we were finishing with wind and then it was raining about an hour or two after we finished. We ran steady, 8:20-8:15 pace throughout the race after a slow first mile with all the congestion. The trail wasn't crowded, there was a good group of people around us running. We ran through halfway at 1:49:40 (which I still was freaked out about). But we kept running, my knee help up and I felt awesome. I executed my fuel plan of drinking every 2-2.5 miles and eating every other time (so every 4-5 miles). I used Honey Stingers chews/gels and used Skratchlabs drink mix (and water).
I can honestly say, I don't feel like I hit "the wall". I felt strong and really pushed the last 3 miles averaging 7:35 the last 3 and I felt like I could have kept running.
And I raised $3733 for Vs. Cancer Foundation.
I am now a huge believer in Hanson's training method. It was tough, but in the end manageable. I really ended up liking the monotony of the weeks and knowing what to expect every day. And I will use it again assuming I get in to Boston next year. I had such an amazing support crew on race day. My sister running the last half with me, my friend LCP running with us the last 10. My dad and Evelyn came to cheer us on, EZ and the kids were at the finish. And of course, my BF (and BRF) Jenny running side by side with me until around mile 24 when I started pushing as hard as I could. I am so in awe of her running her first marathon (40 seconds behind me) and only haven't started running a couple years ago.
I'm super excited that I set out a goal, put in the work and reach that goal. I think I have another 5 min in me perhaps, Boston 2015.