It’s almost a week since I achieved what was once the impossible for me so I want to note down what I’ve learned. Not the cheesy ‘you can do anything’ usual gibber but the finer detail that will get me through the next tough challenge.
It took me so long to understand this. I was convinced I had one pace and one pace only and if I really had to I could sprint for a very short distance. I did quite a few pace sessions with my running group but never really got it until just a few weeks before the marathon. I was always consciously going out slower on my long runs but I was beginning to believe I could no longer run any faster either so in my head my one pace had gone down. Then one session with the running club I went to when I was totally exhausted finally got through to me. We had to run round the track and sprint the last section. I hated it. We did it so many times and then he challenged me to not let him past. As we went round I was undoubtedly slower but somehow I managed to pull the tiniest sprint near the end – I increased my pace. Light bulb moment for me.
When I first signed up my aim, like every first timer, was just to get round. When it became apparent that was going to happen no question (not big headed, that’s just what training does) it then became about time. How fast can you do it in? So and so did it in this time. The pressure came out of nowhere and hit me hard the night before. I wanted a good for age time for London next year and I was capable of it. Yes I wanted to beat my brothers time from 9 years ago too. To try and take the pressure off I settled on aiming for sub 4hours. It took me all night to remove the elephant off my chest and convince myself what ever time I got was fine. I run because I love it. Not to be the best. Not really to beat anyone. Just because I can. In the end it was 4hours 15 – and I am genuinely fine with that. If I had pushed harder I know I would have hated it and that may have put me off running – not a risk I’m willing to take.
WHAT WILL BE
You just don’t know what will happen on race day. I pretty much know I will be late – that’s guaranteed. Really doesn’t help my anxiety but I’m my own worst enemy. I had no idea my quads would go. Never crossed my mind. And for them to go at mile 5 with 21.2 still to go – well, it’s a killer. I pushed through though. I let all thoughts of ‘time’ leave my head. I allowed myself a short walk break in the last few miles. I had nothing to prove to anyone. I can get a ‘better’ time on the next run. You can’t control everything that can happen. So just take it.
This is an actual thing and I did think I did it quite well. However, on reflection, why it didn’t cross my mind that pushing my hardest on the cycle route of a sprint Tri only a week before the marathon probably wasn’t a good idea is beyond me – now. I can only presume this is why my quads hurt on the day. Lesson learned. Take it down, take it way, way down.
HYDRATION AND NUTRUTION
I’ve learned a little bit still have a long way to go on this. I know I need to drink more – so much more. I drank at every station on the marathon and I probably could have done with more. I had 2 gels which is a big increase for me too but I know I need to prevent the dizziness caused my lack of fuel and not wait for it before taking something.