I loved this race, in spite of all my bitching about the hills. It is a hard race, but it's not played up like Boston or Big Sur. There is a homespun or craftiness about the whole operation. And heart: there is so much heart poured into this race by this tiny island community. You feel as if the whole island has come out in support of this race--not just on the course but from the hotels to the restaurants to the stores, every person and entity feels involved in the race. Heck, the restaurant where we had dinner after the Marathon was giving race participants $2 pints.
All this, combined with the fact that I felt undertrained MDI has become the first race I have ever put on my "must run again" list. Oh, and this video helped too.
Speaking of training: I will probably not be doing the FIRST program again soon. It was the easiest program to stick to because there is lots of flexibility, minimal running, and lots of cross training. But on race day I knew I was only just ready enough so that I wouldn't fall apart--and not enough to do anything beyond that. I know for the future when I'm training for a race that I'm looking to take a little easier that I can revisit this training plan.
Something that I didn't play up that much in the race report was the psychological component. For the whole day prior every time I would worry about preparing for the race I would remember that I had my little schedule typed up already and that I had made sure to capture everythign I needed to do in that list. It was a little thing, but it destressed me so much--mostly because I didn't think all day "oh, I have to remember such and such on race morning, I'm goign to have to make a note to remember it." Those little notes pile up pretty quickly.
Also, whenever I would worry about the course or the hills or the weather I would repeat to myself my little "powerful beyond measure" mantra. And it worked. It simultaneously calmed me down and reaffirmed my faith in my running.
During the race I did the same thing: everytime there was a tough hill or particularly labored breathing or endless thoughts about wanting to give up, I repeated "powerful beyond measure" to myself and that got me through it in a very positive way. And that led to a very happy experience overall--so much so that even missing a PR by 8 minutes didn't phase me.