Sunday, October 18, 2009

Long, Slow Training Day: The Duke City Marathon

Today I did my first marathon.

T told me to go slow.
He signed us up by telling me that this was to be a training day. No racing, just training pace.
That was easy to do.

I was so tired when I woke up this morning, that I was almost unable to get out of bed. As I reluctantly fought my way to wakefulness, I had this feeling of deja vu--then realized this was the same feeling I used to have when I was young and would stay up too late. As I gained consciousness, I realized I felt young again. How funny is that?

For a number of reasons, I haven't slept well in days.
Combine this with being ill last week, not giving myself enough recovery time so that I became ill again this week, 3 days of total rest this week (Mon,Tu, Wed), then working out Thursday, Friday, and Saturday--and, yes, I was tired.

Not only was I tired, but I woke up sore.
I had gone for an easy ride on the flats the day before, but the wind made it difficult. Plus, I had ridden low and aero for practice, and my hips were letting me know they could feel the difference.

So I groaned my way out of bed, telling myself that Time marches on and soon the day would be over.

I found it funny that at 6:00 am, as one of the first people to arrive, some yAhoo had to use his horn in the parking garage. How fast do you have to go to get to nowhere?

The race started at 7 am, so it was nice to be out of the cold in the "warm up" area in the large banquet hall in the convention center.

We picked up bags for the clothing drop off early, which allowed us to drop off our warm clothes fast 5 minutes before the start.

It was nice not to care where we seeded ourselves. Time didn't matter today--except in my case, I just wanted it to pass.

We started out slow and easy. T took off after a few blocks. I felt pretty poor for the first mile, then settled in. Sort of. I was far more hydrated than I realized, since usually I'm coming off a swim and a bike beforehand. I used every portopot available, and had some uncomfortable miles in between, eyeing every bush and wondering if I should use one. My hands were so frozen by mile 5, that "clothing management" was difficult and I couldn't get my shorts to "unroll" after clumsily trying to pull them up. I always think of Misty and her inhaler vs. the portopot incident, so I was slow and careful--even though I didn't have any pockets--so probably my brain was frozen, too.

The nutrition went easy. Water initially, with a little Gatorade for the first hour, a gel at the first and second hours, a 2X caffeinated gel at mile 16, and an extra sodium with no caffeine gel with 5 miles to go. I kept the fluids to primarily water, with some Gatorade as I neared the top of each hour. It worked well. What didn't work well was the banana that they had at the turnaround. Clunk. Like lead in my stomach. Brown and icky. Probably chopped the night before and left out on a counter somewhere. Really bad. So, now I know at least one of the reasons why people develop tummy troubles during big/long events. That one took several miles to get over.

I spent an inordinate amount of brain power trying to figure out what "training pace" was. All the way out to the turn around--when I finally got tired of the whole "slow and easy, I'm going to be out here for days" pace, and decided to pick it up a bit. The problem was I knew my training pace for an easy 9-12 miler, but had no idea what my training pace was for a marathon--since I'd never run the distance before--and especially not when my body was that tired.

So I booked it back in a negative split, passing all those poor people who'd gone out harder than me and were now walking, and trying not to be competitive, because 1) T told me not to, and 2) at this point, what would be the point? I knew I might pay for it later, but it felt good to stop worrying about my pace. My miles were completely consistent--same time for each mile (slow) all the way out, and same time for each mile (slightly faster) all the way back. Add in innumerable potty stops, and walking each aid station, and I had a finish time of 5 hours and change. The best part was finishing with a strong pace and finding out that running a marathon is doable. One day, I think I might actually want to run one for real and find out what my marathon time would be. But, for now, with no taper, sore, recently ill, and tired--it's 5 hours and change--and that's good enough for me.


SWTrigal said...

N-That is awesome!! Your first marathon and you have been sick and all-you should be proud..I always thought a stand alone marathon was harder than IM marathon-I hope that is the case for you! great job..

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

good work n!

S. Baboo said...

Great job on your first marathon! Sorry you didn't feel better.

ShirleyPerly said...

Congrats on finishing your first marathon!!

I'm glad you were able to finish strong, esp. considering that you'd been sick recently. So many people go out too fast early on and crash and burn. You will probably recover much quicker having run a smart race.

See you soon at B2B!

Chris and Amy said...

Great race report! I hope you can find time to write more often - I really like your style. I'm glad you found my blog. Did you spend some time on Okinawa or the mainland? I'm loving it on Okinawa. My husband is Air Force. We have about a year and half left here and then we're HOPING he gets assigned to Kirtland. Maybe we'll get to run together. My marathons are anywhere from 4:14-4:30 so I'm thinking we'd be about the same pace. :)