What I was waiting for the most was to finally have an injury-pain-free marathon race. Until the day of the race I wasn’t sure if this will happen as there still were some niggles in my ankles every now and then (not to mention a knee…).
Three times lucky!
Race details Date: 14 April 2019 Location: Brighton, UK Temperature: 8C degrees Brighton Marathon Weekend Distance: 42,195 m Time: 4:44:56 Participants: 10675 Marathons completed: #3
Preparation I have completed my longest run, 30km, 3 weeks before the day of the event, next long run(27km) I had to skip due to not feeling well and then a week before a marathon I ran 21km in trails (Hampstead Heath). I didn’t have as many km in my legs as I wanted to but that was a way better training than before my previous two marathons as my injury was settling in. I created a plan for the race and the idea was I will run it somewhere between 4:00-4:30hr, aiming somewhere in the middle. And I was so sure it will be done easily.
Nutrition I took 4 Maurten gels with me and 1 Blockhead caffeine gum. Had 2 pieces of orange on the course and some water. I didn’t touch any of the isotonic drinks. Something I took with me into a small 100ml bottle was #iskiate. Inspired after reading Born To Run book I made my own super-power drink, based on Mexican Indians’ recipe. If worked for Tarahumara, maybe will give me an extra kick? I took 4 ‘slurps’ of it throughout the course.
There was one more purpose I was using iskiate for, moisturise my throat. It often gets dry when I run (I usually carry chewing gum with me). One of the reasons I turned to Blockead instead Caffeinebullet for races (Blocked is a chewing gum whereas Caffeine bullet is a chewy candy).
Iskiate recipe for 100ml:
2 tbs chia seeds
2 tbs lime juice
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
Race I had a plan. A well thought through plan. And I tossed it after first kilometre. Why you’d ask? To be perfectly honest, I am not quite sure. I felt great, full of energy and was running ” a natural” pace of 5:30-5:45/km. It felt so easy so I decided I will continue in this pace, even though I had no plan or desire to finish under 4 hors on that race (nor trained for it) – and that was the pace I was running. I thought I will slow down a bit later on. AND THAT WAS A MISTAKE! I should’ve had stick to a plan and run my 6:00-6:20 min/km throughout the whole course. That was what got me lost. That’s why I didn’t meet my goal of finishing under 4:30h. When you make a plan, stick to one, because while in the race you will not be thinking straight, and there is a reason why you prepare a plan before. Have a race plan? Stick to one! I have learnt one big and important lesson on this race.
It was very cold in the morning, then the sun came up and it was boiling hot for about 15 kilometres, and when hitting the seafront on last 7 km the wind was so strong and chilling it became very difficult. The weather conditions were not my only struggle. I don’t usually get cramps when I run but got them around 27th km, on both quads and toes of my right foot. I would still hobble through it as I didn’t want to start stretching – I was worried if I do, I might get cramps in my hamstrings area, which I consider even worse!
There was a big social aspect of this race. The day before I came to pick up my race number and met for a coffee with Adam, not long after Alan joined us and we went to the event village where I bought lots of 2xu stuff (including my first wetsuit, for my second ever triathlon in June!). Then I met Alan’s friends Alechia and Carel and we went for obligatory fish and chips. On the day of the event I met with Derrick at the station and we went together to the bag drop. Saw him twice on the course too which was great as the second time I saw him was after my cramps hit me and I was struggling, he came to give me a hug which lifted up my spirits a little bit!
There was my girl Raissa just after 30km mark with her camera, was so good to see her. I must have looked horrible at that stage but when she asked me if I want a photo, I went through a very quick transformation and for 5 seconds went from miserable to smiling and posing for the photo. There also were 2 big cheering stations on 23 and 35km, was great to see running friends and boy, the second cheer point gave me back my power! AT that stage I was in pain and struggling to send any energy to my legs, running/hobbling…but when I saw Yvette screaming and running few metres with me recording it on camera I got my power back and went from running 8:40min/km to 6:40min/km to finish on 5:35min/km for the last stretch. Where was that energy before? I don’t know. What I do know it is great to see friends and it can give you wings to fly even when you thought you have nothing left in the tank.
Goals So I didn’t get that under 4:30hr marathon time. But I still got a 7min PB, and this is great! My training wasn’t focused on speed really as my long term goal for this year is SVP100, 100km ultramarathon in August for my 30th birthday (shhh, let’s agree I’m 25 years old – never say more than 25! :D). I was a bit disappointed with my score but it was my own fault I got so tired on the second half. I went too fast at the beginning and that was my punishment. Lesson learnt.
Gear Made in China headband Kalenji trail running shorts (they have tiny pockets at the front and back where I put the candies in) ZeroPoint compression socks Asics Kayano 25 Running Shoes Caterpy Laces (so you don’t have to worry about stopping and fixing your laces while running) Race belt Runderwear Evossi racing vest (with my name on it) Garmin Forerunner 235
Summary There is something very humbling about running marathons for me. You cannot just wing it (at least at this stage of my running career I can’t). Preparation, not only physical but mental as well will leave it’s mark on your final result. Every time I run a marathon I learn something new, about myself and about running. It is a very special experience when you are left with your true self and it is only up to you if you will push through or resign and go back home. You have to find your ‘Why’, what drives you, why do you want to finish? Without a good why, when you are there with pain and your bare self you might not have the drive to finish. Find your why, and let it drive you.
Now onto the next challenge! Focus is on Race to the Tower (87km), my first ultramarathon in June!