1. Run Smart - I will be the first person to admit that I didn't "run my own race." The pace at the beginning was way too fast and unbridled confidence got the best of me. On top of that, I convinced myself that I was fueling properly, though my Gatorade and water-soaked shirt said otherwise about my drinking-while-running skills. I made one mistake after the next creating my own perfect storm - no need for outside factors to do it for me!
2. Set Realistic Goals - The two weeks prior to the race, I barely ran more than a couple miles and suffered a variety of injuries. Yet, when race day rolled around, I still set out for the 3:25 goal time. I'm sure some part of my brain attempted to reason toward more practical goals, but irrationality had already taken over. While "stretch goals" are awesome for pushing for something long-term, pull something too tight and it will snap.
3. Have Fun - In trying to make pace and push hard, I lost a little bit of the fun I could have had. One of the most enjoyable parts of the race was when I chatted with a fellow runner named Matt. Having a little conversation back and forth was really nice and I could have had a lot more of it if I hadn't let self-competition dictate my race.
With these tidbits of wisdom in mind, I feel much the wiser approaching the Pittsburgh Marathon in May. I'm even going to push for the positive in hoping that a month after that race, I'll want a redo because it was so epicly amazing!