Ray and I were looking for a fast marathon to run, and we picked Chasing the Unicorns. It was a flat, pretty course, along a towpath, with soft gravely footing (but not too gravely, so nice for running), nice views, friendly people.
Unfortunately, there was too much going on for me - some stuff at home, prep for Burning Man (complete insanity - I left two days after getting home from the race), dealing with the after-effects of a concussion (headaches every day, difficulty concentrating, vertigo, dizziness, reduced training), prep for the Burning Man Ultramarathon, work was nuts...so it was really bad timing. My mind was all over the place, and sadly, my running was too.
I started out hard, sticking to 7:20-7:30 pace. I chatted, enjoyed the course. I rotated between 1st and 2nd place throughout the first 18 miles. Then my legs went dead and I slowed down. I felt pretty sad, but then finished. Upon finishing, my throbbing head and cramps in my uterus, coupled with a slower-than-desired time, left me sad. Oh well. Every race can't be THE RACE.