Okay, a few days after my first marathon. So what are my feelings about the race?
What worked well?
Well… There was a lot. Not to be cocky, it’s just I think this race ended up being the ideal first marathon for me.
I think carb-loading helped. Honestly, it alleviated my stress. Whenever I stressed about the marathon, I shoved a doughnut/slice of pizza/crackers/etc into my mouth. So that helped. A lot. Also a couple glasses of wine the night before helped.
The temperature was perfect. Since it was cold at the beginning, we were kind of forced to go slow, because we were cold/warming up.
Training up to 22 miles definitely helped. And training through tired legs. And training with Dan/Dave for my mid-week mid-distance runs, so I was used to comfortably hurting on a long-ish run. Still, nothing feels like that last 4-5 miles of pure pain. My best advice for training for a marathon is run hard, run often, and push yourself to stretch a further distance or speed when you just “don’t feel like it” for mental fortitude.
That being said, I also went into the marathon on fresh legs. I didn’t do any speed work the week before the race. I didn’t do any runs over 5 miles the week before the race. I even skipped out on the first tapering long run (16 miles) because I was sick. A significant taper, after the wear and tear on your legs is crucial. At 13.1 miles, I felt like I could begin to pick up the pace because my legs felt sooo rested.
Once Allison and I split, I was able to open up some (there was more space as I got closer and closer to the finish), and able to just concentrate on running my own race.
Getting water at every chance was also a good move. I never felt dehydrated. Putting Nuun in my fuel belt; I was chugging that like crazy mile 22-25. Bringing the Honey Stinger Chews (that way I could slowly eat the electrolytes throughout the race).
What would I do differently?
I would have liked to do some of the Junk Food stations (I think it would have loosened me up a bit), and maybe even a “shot” of beer at mile 22.
I would love to cross that 4:30 barrier, since I was so close, and think I could do that by actually paying attention to my pacing on my long runs, and teaching myself how to slowly negative split (I tend to do what I did in the race; run for 20 miles at a 10:30 pace, then drop down to 9:30 for the last 6 miles). It would be smarter to do 10 miles at a 10:30 pace, 10 miles at a 10:00 pace, then 6 miles a 9:30 pace, and would improve my time too 🙂
Honestly, I would have tried to pick up Allison’s spirits some. I was hurting by the time she told me to ‘go on’, and I didn’t have the (mental) energy to be positive. At some point, you have to run your own race (I get that). But I wish she had a more enjoyable race, and feel like I left her in the dust to fend off negative thoughts on her own. (Even though she said ‘go on’ and the golden rule with running partners is to trust them, and let go when they tell you to)
Oh, and I would have hobbled straight over to the medical aid tent to get my blisters checked out. …I’m pretty sure the one that burst in the last stretch is somewhat infected (yuck!) because it’s red and inflamed. My legs are fine, and I plan to run tonight (and tomorrow), but my toes may be in too much pain to get all the way through a 5-mile run. Might be an elliptical/ strength training night.
My goals had been to
1. Enjoy it <— Check! (smiles up to mile 22, and then again when I saw the 25)
2. Be able to walk after the marathon <—Check! (4 mile hike on Monday)
3. Finish in <4:40<—Check! (4:30:39)
So what’s in the future for me?
I have a Turkey Trot 8K next week (Thanksgiving morning). I just hope to be able to run the whole way, without pain. Though, I always run with a goal in mind- so 45-something?
Organizing our next relay team (Palmetto200), which currently has 9 people. But I’m sure we will get more people interested. If not, more room for food/luggage 😀
And, I signed up for next year’s Richmond Marathon, while it is only $65 (for a 7,000-person and strongly community-supported race, that’s awesome price). It’s only $65 until Nov 15 at 11:59pm, then it jumps to $80, and slowly increases. Even if I drop to the half, $65 for a half marathon is a decent price. It really was a great course- pretty flat, scenic at times, and crowded/loud at times (in a cheering/good way). It was well organized and a lot of fun!
Oh, and yoga at my friend’s studio. I kept saying I would go, and it’s now been two months since it opened. I will make my debut this Monday…
And Friday night Cheers! …At least until December. Also, winter running means you don’t have to get up early because it’s too f-ing hot outside by 9am, so I can casually run (some alone running might be nice again; get my head right) however long and whenever I want. GASP! People run 12 miles at 1pm?! I know! Insane!