Well, I think enough has passed and I can now reflect on my marathon with critical eyes. It seems you have to run one to learn how to run one. Pity. Because I have said this would be my Rick Astley (One and Only…get it?!)
I made monumental mistakes and I committed grave errors. I did not run the race of my life and while I finished, I did not finish well. My time was a hugely disappointing 5 hours 5 minutes. 11:40 min miles. Up to the first 20k I was running 10:13 miles but once I passed the half way point it all fell apart.
Settle in. Get comfortable. This is a long one.
My shoes..my shoes. My shoes died about four weeks ago. Worn out heels with nothing left in them. I should have been watching but didn’t. And then it was too late. By mile 11 my feet just started to hurt. Fatigue and soreness. I might as well have been running in flip flops.
Cover your eyes because the cliche is glaring here. I ran too fast in the beginning. Yup. Guilty. How many times did I hear and read this advice?? But somehow I convinced myself I was feeling good. Mile 8, 9 and 10 I did at around 9:20 min pace. Wha???? It was downhill. I knew the boys were at mile 10 and I really wantes to catch the 4hr20 pacers. Which brings me to..
Absolutely unrealistic finishing time in my head. Had done no real calculation or prepared properly for what time I would do. I kept saying ‘oh, I just want to finish’ and then on the day, on the DAY I decided I would go for a 4hr20 time. Hello?? I should have started with the 4hr40 and had enough left to finish strong.
Prideful competitiveness. Speaking to a girl as we queued for the bathrooms/grimechambers before the start we talked about times. She was going for 4hr30 and seemed pretty comfortable with how she was going to get there. All of a sudden I heard 4hr20 come out of my mouth. Why?? Something in me just wanted to beat her. As I ran and saw the 4hr20 pacer ebb away from me I fell in with the 4hr30 crowd. They seemed older, less fit. I didn’t want to be seen with these people!! Time to run fast. Stupidly. Well. Joke’s on me. Because not only did the 4hr30 crowd pass but the 4hr40 crowd and 4hr50. When I came out of the swill pit that was a Porta Potty at mile 22 and watched the flag saying 5:00 tottering by, I finally accepted my humiliation. All this because I wanted to be something I wasn’t. Story of my life. The marathon can humble you says Bill Rodgers. It certainly did.
Nutrition. I had no nutrition plan. Lining up I saw all these people with belts stacked with little energy gels and Mars bars. Me, I had my person. That was it. I figured I would get an energy gel on route along with water/Lucozade. I should be fine. Newsflash. I was not fine. There was a reason those people had boosters. I wouldn’t normally go five hours without eating something and that is without running for those hours. Sweets were being handed out by all the locals and I took some of those but I should have had my own supply that I had tried and tested and knew worked. At mile 21 I took two energy gels. Moments later my stomach lurched and the familiar gurgles of diarrhoea started. Thank God there was a Porta Potty just at that moment because that would have been a whole different level of humiliation.
Complete and utter lack of proper preparation. All of the above point to that. I ran the miles but that is only half the battle. My mental edge needed to rely on my being somewhat in control of proceedings. I had no plan. Even though I struggled in every long run I took the foolhardy attitude of ‘ah it will be alright on the day. One foot in front of the other’. RUBBISH. Although everything in me did not want to become one of those intense runners with all this runnery talk and lycra and gels and Garmin watches. There is a reason they finished two hours ahead of me and fitness is only a part of it.
Not having a Garmin watch. Oh they all had them. All the cool kids. I was offered a loan of one twice. I turned it down in favour of my tried and tested phone with Runkeeper. I will be grand, I said. But my phone was in one of those protective arm holders and trying to look at it was impossible. I couldn’t see it clearly and therefore never knew what pace I was running at. Poor decision.
Going it alone. I am a loner. Okay not in a trenchcoat/tinted glasses/catfood way but I am happy enough on my own. Running affords me that time. And I feel intimidated and a little bit intruded on when running with people. But I see the value in it now. Company. Advice. Encouragement. Comradery. I was completely on my own during the marathon. No familiar faces. No connections to be made. I could have done with a buddy. I would have done better with a buddy. Yeeesh. I should join a club. Be a joiner. A groupish person. Shiver.
And I think that covers it. My list of don’ts. Does this mean I have to do another marathon and listen to my own advice?? Mmmm..