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March 01, 2008

HOW TO NOT TRAIN FOR A MARATHON

Or: Why not to follow my example....

Or: How I could screw up an easy marathon

Before you read on, please know that I'm not whining or complaining or feeling bad. Nope. Just facing some cold hard facts that decided to slap me in the face today...oh, say around mile 22 or so. I'm dividing this post into four sections: What went wrong today, What went right today, How I surprised myself in my training, and How I surprised Troy.

WHAT WENT WRONG TODAY:

Well, for starters, not only did I not do a sub-5 hour marathon, but I also didn't even come close to PRing. I think I finished up around 5:12 and some change but I was so ready for it to be over with, I never bothered looking at the clock or stopping my watch. in the beginning I was on track to finish a sub-5 but over the course of the marathon my lackadaisical training regimen came back to haunt me (more on that later). I also think I Gu'ed too much. Around mile 20 I started to feel really really nauseous. I mean I felt like if I even tipped my head slightly toward the ground I was going to throw up. Really. I even stopped a complete stranger walking down the street and asked him if he had any gum. I figured the minty taste might take away that throw-up taste brewing in my mouth. I think he thought I was crazy, but at that moment he was my hero. That nauseous feeling along with the lack of proper training, which will be discussed shortly, ultimately lead to my complete and utter failure to accomplish an itty bitty goal. Oh well. At least I realize it's my fault so that next time I can take the right steps to make it not happen again. Oh, and I got minimal sleep the past two nights...I'm not sure why because usually I don't have any problem getting to sleep...maybe it was a premonition of things to come.

WHAT WENT RIGHT TODAY

For starters I got out of bed and ran 26.2 miles when no one forced me to. Also, I picked a great race to bonk on. Really. For such a small race (maybe 1,000 folks between the full and half) the support was great. I also choose to start the race with Tim (my Sunday long run partner), Tommy (a Trackster member), and his friend Rick. They were great running partners for the first half or so. After that we started to break up and eventually finished on our accords. But despite that they were great guys to run with. And it was a first marathon for all three of them. Did I mention that I finished? That should count for something going right today. Also, up until around mile 22 or so, I thanked each and every volunteer I ran by. I even made idle chit chat with most of them as I approached and eventually passed them. It felt great to be able to tell them thank you and really mean it. I also met the sweetest former Marine and maybe VA Tech alumni (not sure, but he had the hat on). I first ran into him at the half way point. He said he'd see me at the finish because we'd have a date. I agreed and went on my way. At mile 20 I ran into him again! He said he was just checking on me and wanted to remind me that we had a date. He also told me that I was the prettiest girl he had seen on the race course. Talk about feeling like a rock star. At the end, he was there to give me a big hug. It even made me shed a tear. I figured Troy didn't want me going on a date with someone else, so I kindly told him I was taken but that I had a single grandmother who looked just like me :) What else went right? During the last mile or so, even though I felt like a bucket of funk, I started running with a 67-year old woman named Rita. It was her 2nd marathon and she just looked great. Come to think of it, I should have set her up with Former Marine :) When she and I started our jog into the finish it was a great reward for some hard work to see our Macon Tracks President, Kerry, there to give me a high five, along with Neel, Donna and her husband, Rick, my brother, my nephew, and Troy's nephew. I may have given some other high fives in that chute but I honestly don't remember them :(

HOW I SURPRISED MYSELF IN MY TRAINING

This section won't be long. Basically, I think I had come to enjoy the fact that over the last two years I have experienced PR after PR. So, I guess I figured that the marathon wouldn't be any different. I did minimal training. I mean really. I did what I had to do to get by. I didn't finish all of my long runs, and my weekday training was a hit and miss at best. I didn't do any strength training. I didn't do any long runs by myself, which was a big factor in my running out of steam in the last few miles. I was just out there all alone and couldn't regain my mojo because I didn't have any experience in dealing with being all alone. I just kept signing that Beatles song "All the Lonely People" over and over in my head. I was just a train wreck after mile 22 and my lack of consistent, quality training was to blame. I knew it. I just really hated that it decided to bite me in the rear on the last few miles. Oh well, I've got plenty of other opportunities to train better, harder, and smarter.

HOW I SURPRISED TROY

I really wanted to post about this on my blog before the marathon, but I couldn't because you-know-who reads it daily. Today is Troy's 38th birthday, so Thursday I arranged for Tim and Mandie to transport a cake to the pasta dinner on Friday night. After the guest speaker, Jeff Galloway, got through speaking we (me, Mandie, Tim, and several other Macon Tracksters) surprised him with the cake and a sing-along of Happy Birthday. Then for the race today, I had arranged for all of his family, and my brother, Mom, and nephew to come down and watch him run in. They had posters and everything. He actually never saw them as he ran in the chute, but while they were taking his timing chip off he said he looked up and saw them all standing there one by one. I wished I could have been there to see the look on his face!! And I hope it made him have a much happier birthday! By the way, he finished in 4:12 (yes, exactly one hour ahead of me...weird) and although he has his own tales of how he didn't do everything right today, he still PR'ed!

Overall, I don't regret the fact that I had a craptastic race. I mean without failures we will never achieve success, right? I guess I just needed a swift kick in the behind to get my act in gear and train like a real marathoner needs to.

Today at mile 25 I had vowed I would never run another marathon again. I'll be laughing about that to myself on Tuesday when I start training for the next one (ING at the end of the month).

7 comments:

Tim said...

Hey Amy - you finished.

That is not a failure in any sense of the word.

Congrats!

Christy said...

First, congrats on finishing 26.2 miles. That is an accomplishment no matter.

Second, sounds like you know what happened. Now, learn from it and ROCK your next marathon.

Third, happy bday to Troy!! Hope he had a good one!

Firefly's Running said...

Nice job, Amy! Awesome finish!

Anne said...

Hey, if they were all smooth sailing, what would be the challenge, right? Each race is a learning experience, and on this one you learned that you shouldn't skip too many training runs; Gu is not all that great after a certain point; and when in doubt, look for a Hokie in waiting because we Va. Tech alumni always see our peeps through. And what a great surprise for Troy on his birthday!

Laurie said...

Exactly. You finished and you should be proud of that. I know you will take the lessons you learned and apply them to your next marathon in just a few short weeks. I think when you train for multiple marathons you have to approach them differently, don't push quite as hard and risk injury. You're doing it right.

Marathoner in Training said...

You did great, dispite some minor complications. I am glad you have taken the time to evaluate what went wrong, and what you can do better next time.
Happy B-Day Troy

Kurt said...

You finished, your not injured and you did great. Your running for yourself and the time is just one measure of an accomplishment.

I am very proud of you!

No failures ever on a race (just don't read what I say about my times LOL). Your a great runner and not every race is going to go as well as you hope.