Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Marathons are Hard

So I ran my first marathon on Sunday. I finished with a time of 4 hours and 13 minutes which is respectable, however I was left feeling very disappointed. Perhaps foolishly, I went into the race expecting to kick ass even though I had never run that distance before.

Unlike shorter runs, the human body does not contain enough energy (glycogen) to complete the race. This means you either have to refuel during the race (because it stresses the stomach, I never bother in half-marathons) or slow down and burn fat which is much less efficient as a fuel source. On my many practice runs I would carry energy drink but the day of the Marathon I didn't bother with my fuel belt since I didn't want the extra weight. Mistake.

The Gatoraid on the course didn't sit well in my stomach. The energy candies I was sucking on I had never tested on my training runs so I'm not sure if that was what dried out my mouth or just general dehydration. In any case around the 24th kilometer things started to go down hill fast. I had a nasty cramp in my side and I was forced to alternate walking and running for the next 6 kilometers. By the 30th kilometer my body was completely out of fuel and the best I could do was a fast walk although even that made me nauseous.

It was a long final 12 kilometers as literally hundreds of people passed me. Had I been able to maintain the pace I kept for the first 24 kilometers I would have finished around 50th overall, instead I came in 640th. I did manage to run the last 100m although the effort made me debate checking into the first aid tent. I felt really, really awful. I lost over 5 lbs over the course of the race and it took the rest of the day to feel human again.

I now know I have to pay much more attention to my diet in the days leading up to the race, eat and drink enough before the race and get enough sugar, salt and water during the race. During the race I told myself that Marathons were just not for me but by the next day I decided to not let it get me down and I have signed up for another one. My plan next time is to run at a more conservative pace and actually try to run the entire thing and not smack "the wall". I can try to qualify for Boston again next year.


3 comments:

Philip Rice said...

Hey that's awesome! Finishing is an accomplishment. I'm more than content w/ 2-4 miles every other day :) so my hat's off!

Obiri said...

Thanks. I'm looking forward to a shot at redemption in the fall when I try another one.

Rognar said...

Run Forrest, run!

Seriously, congrats! Quite an accomplishment.