Sunday, April 1, 2012

East Sussex Marathon 2012

I did it - I completed my second marathon today. I'm sad to say, it was hellish. The hills, the hills, oh the blasted hills.

It all went wrong, my race strategy that is. I did exactly what they tell you not to do, and started out too fast. I'd done the half marathon in 2:06 - not that mega quick, but the pounding of the roads, and the seemingly relentless up and down hills, meant that my thighs were 'gone'. Gone in that, with every footstep, I felt a major pain up both thighs. What to do ?? Well, carry on in great pain, obviously. And so I did. I even had to call my BB after 24.5 miles and get him to join me at mile 25 for the last mile. I needed him to give me a boost. Bless him, he turned up, and did his best to get me moving but the downhills were excruciating.

To cut a long story short, I finally crossed the line in about 4:45, I say about as the official results are not out yet. I was lucky enough to be joined by my little cousin Libby this time, she's ten years my junior and about half my size. She did the half in about 1:50, and at that point was fourth woman, but she blew up on the second half too, and when BB left to meet me she was about 800m from the finish. She finished in 4:19.

Yes, can you believe it took me 25 minutes to run a mile and a half. I've run three miles quicker than that..
To reach the finish, you had to run up a majorly steep hill. I was nearly crying at this point. Without my BB, I'm sure I would have walked that last bit.

So, lessons learned today:
1) Choose blinking flat marathons - not ones with hills!
2) Don't try and beat your half marathon time when running a marathon, or you will have a rubbish marathon time.
3) Move everything downstairs ready for when you arrive home to save yourself the agony of the stairs. The stairs, the stairs! I currently have everything on the stairs as I cannot face the ascent and descent.
4) Take a towel with you -just in case there are (warm) showers. Today's were cold and I had no towel ...
5) Yoga - before my last marathon I took up yoga twice a week, for the four weeks before race day. Was that why I was able to run just 3 days later ? I've had a really busy couple of weeks, and had a really tense neck before today's race. I didn't have that last time.. True, I wasn't quite as busy, but no doubt, the yoga works. Next time (??), or before an important race I will definitely be doing some yoga. Nameste.

Things that went right:
1) Nutrition - a gel every 40 minutes, washed down with two gulps of water, works. It just does. If after 3.5 hours of running, eating a gel makes you gag, don't worry, just wash it down with lots of water. The gag reflex goes as the water washes down.. Well, it did today. Never rely on a race having sufficient nutrition for your needs. Always take your water and gels with you.

2) Kit - All the kit worked today. No chaffing, no blistering, no black toe nails. All kit tested pre-race day. So, plenty of vaseline on my feet, and also some on my tum, anti-blister socks bought for me by my BB for mother's day. I got those tested out about twice before race day. Trainers, I now run in a size 7 (40), I used to run in a size 6(39) or 6.5 (39.5).  Your feet swell after running a long distance, so you need the extra length at the toe. Believe me, I've had the nails to prove it - Ew! Not good. I also had a lighter water bag thingy than the one I used in my last marathon, it holds 1.5 l, and that worked well too.

So, what next ? Of course I need a new challenge, but purlease not another marathon. I am done with running anything further than a half marathon for now. You know the best part of today was the first half.. I'd like to mix it up a little, so maybe a duathlon next, or a shorter cross country run.

And I'd still recommend a marathon if you've never done one. It certainly is character-building stuff.