For about an hour after the marathon I was wondering whether perhaps running marathons was – for me – a bad idea. I recalled the skinny guy in the med tent telling a medic that this was his first and he wasn’t sure he was cut out for this. Well if he’s not cut out for it when he clearly weighs at least 40lbs less than me, then I’m definitely not.
Why would I put myself through months of hard training, insanely early alarm calls, considerable expense, increasing discomfort, a lot of pain (and in the last few minutes dizziness and circulation issues)…only to miss my target? Particularly when if anything needed proving, I proved it when I ran my first marathon?
Shortly afterwards my predictable answers to myself were:
- Because even failure can be rewarding
- Because failure focuses the mind
- Because I can get better
- Because running marathons (and half-marathons) is awesome
- Because running a marathon is really hard, but being a marathoner (i.e. running multiple marathons) is much harder…and that’s even more rewarding
- Because it helps me focus on keeping my weight down. When I have no immediately apparent need to keep my weight down, it’s very easy for it to go up
In fact I have a number of other races lined up already:
- December 1st: Cayman Islands Half-Marathon (already in the rear-view mirror by the time this column is posted…ugh…but more of that later)
- February 20th & 21st 2016: the Michelob Ultra Challenge at the Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa:
- Saturday 20th: 15K race followed by a 5K race
- Sunday 21st: Half-marathon followed by an 8K race
- April 10th 2016: Philly Love Run (Half-Marathon)
- October 9th 2016: Chicago Marathon – I’ll try entry-by-lottery, and if that doesn’t work, maybe go via a sports travel agent. I’ve got to get to April in significantly better shape than I’m in now. Not running shape, just…SHAPE.
- December 2016: Cayman Islands Half-Marathon
- If I do Chicago then I’ll have about six weeks until Cayman…enough time perhaps to recover from that ordeal and do the Cayman full marathon as a bucket list event. That is, run it but not worry about my time at all – just try not to get hospitalised.
Observation points/lessons from NYC:
- I need to plan exactly how much to drink rather than merely drinking lots, as I’m fairly sure I overhydrated myself and ended up flushing rather than building my electrolytes.
- Some people recommend drinking as you perceive you need to, including an article I recently read on runnersworld.com. Trouble is, my body’s an inveterate liar so that’s a dumb idea.
- Lose 15lbs.
- NYC: The bridges are fine – it’s the overcrowded roads that will tire you out…
- …well, that and Mount 5th Avenue
- New York runners leave half has much room between the front of the queue and the port-a-potty door as Florida runners.
- Get back into training asap. I can’t, mustn’t and won’t go through another fitness-sapping two-month ho-hum period like I did after the Disney Marathon early this year.
- My existing McMillan Running programme takes me through the end of Feb – I just have to make sure I do it…
- NYC is only a PR course if you’re really new to marathon running and either did a hilly course in your previous attempts or were significantly less fit than doing NYC.
- Bearing that in mind, think of it as a marathon running event, not a marathon race and consider adding at least 5-10 secs/mile to your projections vs. a flat course.
- Of the two clichés, “When you’ve run the first 20 miles, the crowds will carry you the last six”, is far less true than, “The real race starts after 20 miles”. In fact, the first statement is nonsense unless you have an outrageous energy surplus that far into the race.
- I have a very small margin for error to run somewhere approaching my best at the marathon distance: weight, health, injury status, training and hydration all need to be bang on.
- The race would have been more enjoyable for me with 10,000 fewer people on the roads – it’s a subjective thing… Lots of people is great, but so is room to manoevure.
- Get more sleep
- Less carbohydrate for dinner.
- Goodbye desserts. I skipped them almost entirely for three years, but they and I reconciled to the delight of my mouth and the anguished cries of the rest of me. We have a toxic relationship and need to stop seeing each other, and really it’s not them…it’s me…but I would love it if we could still be friends. They’re not going to end it so it’ll have to be me…could be an awkward conversation…
- More strength training. The further away in time I get from my pre-running days of all weights, no running, the further removed I am from the muscle I used to have, and it’s not helping my running form or my calorie-burning.
26.2. Quit being such a…