I’m still walking (hobbling) around in a happy bubble of amazingness. Don’t get me wrong, I am fully shattered and my legs didn’t feel anywhere near normal until Wednesday. And I will stop going on about the marathon I promise but I wanted to do a little ‘wrap up’ post.
I am fully aware that my marathon experience (especially my first ever marathon) was quite rare in that nothing seemed to go wrong – especially considering my training (or lack thereof). It was like a dream. Of course it was tough. Mentally more than physically I’d say. The sheer effort of keeping focused and not allowing myself to acknowledge the aches, the tiredness, and the overwhelming temptation to stop. I remember looking at my watch and thinking “oh my God, I’ve been running for three hours!” But at the same time, it was such a buzz.
The only thing I think I’d have done differently would have been to not have had three gels.
Maybe it was the temperature being so warm, but they really messed with my tummy. I know this is completely my own fault having not tested out using more than one gel in a long run before and it was a risk. Thankfully I just felt a bit sick and that was all.
Next time I think I’ll use one gel (probably between 8-10 miles) and then either have nothing or have some small easy-to-eat sweets, like jelly babies or even sugar cubes. After listening to the very insightful interview on Marathon Talk with Barry Murray (a sports-focused nationalist who is against the whole carb-loading premise) I wonder if I actually needed the gels. I do all my morning runs and long runs with no nutritional help or breakfast and have no ill effects. It’s something for me to consider in the future I think.
On another note, as good as running a race in a whole different country was there were some draw backs to it too. You have a whole different routine in a hotel room in terms of getting ready, ‘toilet time’, breakfast, getting to the race…it’s very surreal.
And post-race both Ben and me would have loved to have just been at home with our creature comforts and ‘normal’ food. But the experience of running such an iconic race was pretty amazing regardless.
I’m also somewhat jealous of the Brighton and Manchester marathon race reports with just how much support there was from the crowds. Paris was a bit lack lustre. They did cheer, but it seemed selectively so. And don’t get me started on people randomly walking out into the course to cross the road!!
OK, enough moaning. It makes it sound like I didn’t enjoy it. The truth of the matter is that I can’t smiling. It was brilliant. Epic. Amazing. Life changing. I’ve fallen in love with running again and so much harder.
So what’s next? Well, some easy weeks worth of running for definite! No care for pace, time, mileage. Just easy running and long walks. I have a few local races in the pipeline: a marathon relay where I’ll be doing a 7.8 mile leg, a few 10ks and Endure 24 in June as part of a team with my running friends (24 hours of running 5 mile laps).
And then at the end of September the Berlin marathon. I’m hoping to have a very sensible lead up, having had a good summer of base building and increasing my speed (finger’s crossed). Then head down and focused training. Nothing crazy but a sensible training plan I can actually follow this time. I have my fingers so tightly crossed that I won’t get injured again any time soon. I will continue with my strength training twice a week to work on this.
My aim for Berlin? No idea yet. But all I do know is that I want to enjoy it as much as I did Paris. If that means a similar finishing time, then that’s fine by me! I don’t want to experience 3-4 hours of hellish running.
I can quite confidently say that I am much more a fan of the longer distances than shorter. Half marathons and marathons is where I’m firmly at right now.
What are your future races?
Did you run a marathon recently? What did you learn?
What’s important to you in an event – scenery? Support? Aid stations?