Sorry it has taken a while to get the race report posted. Here it is.
PreRace: In the early morning I got in a good breakfast and then relaxed in the hotel lobby until I was ready to hop onto the shuttle bus to the start. I watched runners as they all walked by excited to hit the streets of Berlin. The bus took us on a 20 minute ride from the hotel to the runners drop-off point. Once out of the bus, I followed the herd of runners to the baggage drop-off tents, which seemed like a mile away. I found a spot near my baggage tent, where I relaxed, stretched, and pondered at the task ahead. About 40 minutes till the start of the race I made my way to Coral B, which was designated for 2:20-2:50 marathoners. It was a good thing I went to my coral early because there were a ton of runners within the range of 2:20-2:50. (According to the results, there were 502 runners that finished under 2:51 - unbelievable)
Race: When the gun went off I was cautious not to start too fast due to the excitement. I ran comfortably and reached the 1K mark in 3:36 (5:48 pace), a second or two/km faster than my planned goal pace. So, what was goal pace? Well, I decided a few months ago, based on training, that marathon goal pace would be 3:37-38/km or 5:49-51/mile. The plan all along was to give it my all. Run a gutsy race with even or negative splits. Reaching the halfway mark in 1:17 plus, like I did in my last two marathons, was out of the question and never crossed my mind. With the exception of the 2nd km (3:36), I ran the next 3ks right at goal pace and crossed the 5K timing mat in 18:00 flat. My 5K split was about 12 seconds too fast, but I was okay with it because I was now running goal pace. However, that didn't last long because I only slowed 2 seconds over the next 5 kilometers. 10K split was 36:02 (sub-2:32 marathon pace).
From 11 - 20K I ran tactically. The pace during this 10km segment was a little inconsistent because I was surging in some areas to catch runners up ahead when others couldn't hold the pace. At one point, around 12K, one runner who was drafting off of me for a good period of time decided to come to the front to do some of the pacing. I was fine and happy with that; however, he ended up setting a slower pace. He knew it when we reached one of the markers and apologized to me. I told him it was okay and then took off to make up some of the lost time. My 3rd 5K split (11-15K) was in 18:07 (3:37, 7:26 (12-13K), 3:26, 3:38) and the 4th (16-20K) in 18:16 (3:40, 7:18 (17-18K), 3:39, 3:39). I crossed the half-marathon mark in 1:16:20 (3:37/km or 5:49 pace).
After the halfway mark, I was still running strong at goal pace. I went through the 25K mark in 1:30:34 (18:09 5k split - 5:51 pace) and the 30K in 1:48:40 (18:06 5k split - 5:50 pace). Following the 30K, I still felt good and was working with another runner. We clicked off splits of 3:37, 3:35, & 3:38 for the next 3ks (31-33K). I then began to slow a little over the next couple kilometers with splits of 3:43 & 3:44, which brought me to an 18:17 5k split (5:53 pace) at 35K. The runner I was working with for most of the 2nd half now had about a 10 meter gap on me. I told myself that if I can just catch up to him, then he'll pull me at least through the next couple kilometers. I fought hard and was able to catch up to him with a 3:38 split (36K). My time at 36K was 2:10:35, which was still sub-2:33 pace. Unfortunately, that last push was all I could manage and my goal of a 2:32-2:33 marathon was about to slip away.
Splits 37-40K were 3:49, 3:43, 3:49 & 3:47. The last 5k segment (36-40K) was 18:46 (3:45/km or 6:02 pace). When I reached the 40K mark in 2:25:43, I knew I had to dig deep if I wanted to lower my PR. At 42K, I crossed the Brandenburg Gate, which was an electrifying feeling, and could see the finish line just 200 meters ahead. With about 100-150 meters to go I saw the clock ticking at 2:33.4x. I then gave all the remaining effort I had left, but sadly watched the clock roll over to 2:34. Official net time was 2:34:06. You can view my splits here or below, official results here and video clips here.
Also, here is a news article that was published in one of the papers in Guam.
Here are my 5K splits:
5 km 00:18:00
10 km 00:36:02
15 km 00:54:09
20 km 01:12:25
25 km 01:30:34
30 km 01:48:40
35 km 02:06:57
40 km 02:25:43
Gender Place: 91
Age Group: 25
Gun Time: 02:34:08
Net Tiime: 02:34:06
Thanks to all who were following my race and cheering me on. You all rock!