Each race is a learning experience. You figure out what works for your body and what doesn’t. After 13 marathons I’m still figuring out what will help me achieve optimal performance. Here are some lessons I learned from this weekends race.
What I did right :
- The day before the race I drank. No not alcohol. I drank two venti soy chais from Starbucks. I then used those cups again and drank two venti cups of caffeine free Stress Relief tea, I carried my race water bottle with me and drank from it whenever I remembered. I was probably more hydrated going into the race than any other marathon.
- The night before the race I didn’t have a giant bowl of pasta and eat till I felt I couldn’t stuff one more bite in me. I ate a well balanced meal that was not any larger than any other meal I would normally eat.
- I started eating at mile 5. I didn’t wait till my tank was depleted of gas, I took preemptive measures.
- I ate blocks and gel blasts. Whey is commonly found in gels and gus. Whey does a number on my stomach. When I first starting running marathons I would finish and my stomach would be bloated and people on the sidelines surely thought I was pregnant. It was the whey.
- I didn’t spend allot of time chewing it each blast/block. I chewed it enough to swallow it and down it went. I didn’t want to spend precious breath eating food.
- I carried my own water, stopped twice to fill it up and did not toss the bottle. Carrying my own water allowed me to blast through the aid/water stations with out loosing precious seconds. It also allowed me to drink water right after eating and helped me to regulate my own needs. I drank 3 full bottles of water. This is more than I have ever drank at any race. I think next time I may even need to drink more.
- I wore racing flats. I don’t recommend them for everyone and certainly not for full marathons, but if you have not been injured before and have progressed enough to wear them for 1/2 marathons, then you might be able to try them. In all honesty if I had brought lightweight trainings shoes with me, I would have worn those. Those were another one of the many items I forgot at home. Note that I also still have not run and my legs are still sore from the pounding. I feel that my time made this all worth it. However if you are the type of person that knows you are not going to take a good amount of time off after a marathon, I wouldn’t recommend flats.
- I did not go out to fast. I went out at about a 7:30 pace. My miles slowed a tad on the miles I stopped for water or the miles that were uphill, but other than that I stayed right around the 7:30 – 7:40 ish range. Mile 26 was in the 7:30’s. This tells me I did not go out to fast. All 26 miles were in the 7’s.
- I ran this race as a competitor. When I felt wind blowing in my face and slowing me down, I tried to tuck in behind other runners and draft off them while they broke the wind.
- When a runner was beside me, I ran with them. I didn’t push out of my comfort zone, but I used their strength to pull me.
- I barely talked at all. I don’t normally talk during races. Last year however at the Freedom’s Run Marathon I talked for a good amount of the race. I’m sure this annoyed my fellow runners. I was feeling good and got too excited. In hind sight it wasted too much precious energy.
- Because I was alone at the race there was no one there to ask me how I was feeling. This meant that I never had a chance to voice out loud that I was tired. I fully believe that if you say something out loud your mind starts to believe it. A marathon is just as much a battle with your mind as it is with your body.
What I did wrong:
- Despite trying to not overdress and wearing less than I wanted too. I still over dressed. I started out the race with gloves, mittens over the gloves, and a headband. All of which got tossed through out the race. In hind sight I should have just worn my Saucony red shirt and arm warmers, possibly a tank underneath to keep my stomach warm.