Valencia Marathon 2018

My first marathon was a disaster – I was injured and because of that injury I couldn’t tackle in proper training. My second marathon was supposed to be different. And it was, it was way worse, and all that was my own fault. It also taught me a lot about my body, myself and in all that I actually achieved something…

Race details
Date: 2 December 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
Temperature: 22C degrees
VALENCIA CIUDAD DEL RUNNING 2018
Distance: 42,195 m
Time: 4:51:46
Marathons completed: #2

Breakfast Run

It was a fun 5km the day before. I met the instagram family before and we ran together, fuelling with local goodies after the run and headed to Paella Party afterwards for a nice dose of carbs. I do not believe in carb loading specifically for an event. Every day is a carbs day 😉
We also had a group dinner in the evening – pasta!

Race
I had a plan. And boy, it didn’t go as planned! It was going pretty ok until 25th km but then I had 2 critical moments on the course.
It was a very sunny and hot day. Especially if you travel from cold and windy London you can be hit by the temperature’s difference! Water stations were distributed like on most of such races, every 5km, but I started feeling dehydrated and few sips of water every 5km were not doing the job! My head started spinning and I felt like I am going to faint reaching 27th km! I fainted due to heat in the past so knew what is very close to come. I stopped, went on the side of the course, bended over and put my head between my knees and waited. It took a while to get back to normal, I started walking and after some time transitioned to jogging. I was scared it might happen again so starting from the next water station I was running with a water bottle in my hand. Not the most convenient way, but thanks to sipping a bit of water every few hundred meters I was feeling better.

Second critical point on the course happened around 35th km. It only happened to me twice in my lifetime, last time about 2 years ago cycling… I knew the feeling when it came, and I also knew that there is no other way of dealing with it than stopping and calming yourself down. PANIC ATTACK.
It is a scary feeling when your lungs slowly start compressing so you can no longer take deep breaths, they get more shallow and quicker as you cannot get enough air in them; you start sort of hyperventilating and run out of breath. It is scary and overwhelming, nothing nice to experience. I knew it’s coming when it started, soon enough to manage it. I was scared and worried and couldn’t calm myself down at first. I pulled from the course and used the lamp post on the side of the road to help me balance, bended over a bit and tried to calm myself down, focus on breathing. The more you try to calm down the worse it gets. I was telling myself to breath. BREATH… But I couldn’t. Then I approached it with nearly a meditative technique and tried to talk sense to my body, be reasonable. Focused. I was a bit worried I might pass out but I didn’t.
A volunteer or maybe a police officer approached me not long after I stopped, asking me in Spanish if I need any helo, water? If I want to sit down? Do I need sugar? She even offered me a sugary snack. I didn’t need anything of it, and didn’t want the attention. It is very difficult to communicate when your lungs are compressed and you cannot breath. Sometimes it is just better to be left alone to calm down, attention makes it worse and more stressful. The only way to deal with it for me is to accept it, when it happens, and slowly try to calm myself down, which is not always easy like I experienced in Valencia.
I knew I slowed down and wasn’t going fast enough. Even though I told myself to take this race easy I had a plan in the back of my head and assumption what time I could get. I knew I could get it! I think subconsciously I stressed myself about these goals and knowing I wasn’t going fast enough (lack of training due to injuries) I triggered a panic attack.

Gear

No name headband (amazon)
2XU MCS Run Compression Tight
Asics Kayano 25 shoes
Caterpy Laces (so you don’t have to worry about stopping and fixing your laces while running)
Race belt
Sweaty Betty Ultra Run bra (the best running bra ever)
Salomon Women’s Lightning HZ Mid Top
Garmin Forerunner 235

Summary

I didn’t have a proper training due to my injuries. Instead of one injured ankle I had now two injured ankles approaching the race. My longest run before this race was only 25km. It was hot and I nearly fainted. I managed to stop a panic attack and continue to run. I sprinted (ok, transitioned from a jog to a run) last 900m from when I saw the sign and finished strong. I nearly cried after crossing the finish line. Given all of the above and still finishing the race, even though I wasn’t entirely happy about my time, after some time passed I feel like it was a huge accomplishment for me. I also got a 9 min PB which I think is pretty bad ass taking into the account how the run went.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *