Well this race went way worse than I ever could have expected. 4:58:11 was my time. If you recall, my goal was to break 4 hours. So I was an hour slower than I hoped for. I've been trying to think of what went wrong. I'm sure there are lessons to be learned here, but in order to glean those lessons, I need to figure out what went wrong.
The start was cold. I actually had to scrape my windows on my car this morning because we had frost last night. So it was cold (I think it was in the lower 40's at the start), but I made arm warmers out of trouser socks and was happy with them.
The first 2 miles felt awesome. I felt like I was going really slow, and in reality, I was going slower than my original planned pace. So I know I didn't go out too fast. By mile 10 I was off my pace, and knew that 4 hours probably wasn't realistic. I battled stomach cramps and nausea most of the way.
I'm pretty sure I was fueling and hydrating okay, at least for the beginning of the race. I started having the cramps and nausea around mile 3. I had some gatorade around mile 4, felt like crap, and switched to water only. I had a gel at mile 5, another one at mile 12 or 13, and another one at 20. Once I started feeling like I was ready to throw up, I drank less, because my stomach was sloshy and I just couldn't even think about putting any more into it. I did sip every mile. It was hard to eat that last gel. I just did not want it, but I thought maybe I needed the calories.
I ran 20 miles, and then had to stop and walk. I was feeling dizzy and lightheaded and I thought if I stopped and walked a little bit it might help me feel better. I said I'd start running again once I started feeling better. While I was walking, I was weaving from side to side, felt like I was going to pass out, and completely zoned out of reality. If I tried to pick up the walking pace, I started to feel even worse, so it was a slow walk. I walked for five miles. I should have tried to run a little bit, but I was so cold, and I was so sleepy, my eyes kept closing, like I was almost falling asleep. And I felt like I couldn't get enough oxygen, I kept yawning. I was so lightheaded, and I kept looking for good places to throw up on the side of the road if I needed to. I actually wanted to throw up- I thought it might make me feel better. My fingers were swollen and I couldn't walk straight. I just wanted to curl up in the sun and take a nap.
Finally, I thought, maybe some gatorade would help. At mile 24 I had a cup of gatorade. I was expecting it to make me feel worse, but by mile 25 the nausea was better. I started a slow jog. I was able to run to the finish, and actually felt like my legs had a lot left in them. Unfortunately, I had a side cramp that prevented me from really getting into a good form. The side cramp started as soon as I started running. I still had the abdominal cramps, but the nausea was much better. So, the gatorade helped.
I was able to finish under 5 hours. What a difference from the way I planned this race. My pace between 9 and 20 miles was slower than my long run pace! So was I trained properly for this race? I think so. I'd run 4 half marathons previous to this race. I followed a respected marathon training program (Higdon Intermediate 1), and hit two successful 20-milers in training. I was prepared.
So, I'm thinking that being sick is probably what did it. I ate what I normally eat the days before and the morning of race day, nothing different. I was ready for this race. I didn't start off too fast. I fueled properly during the race, I didn't hydrate too well once I started feeling so bad, but I don't feel that was contributing factor. I can only chalk it up to being sick. I can't see that I did anything wrong during the race. I mean, I was struggling early, and my pace was conservative, so I just can't see what else could have affected me so much.
So, what now? Well, I finished. Even though at times I thought I wasn't going to. My legs feel remarkably good, actually. I am sore, of course, but I think my 20-milers left me feeling worse. So, I know I could have done better.
I'm not anxious to do this again, but I realize that I have to avenge myself on this distance. RACC has a big group that will be running the Green Bay Marathon next May. I'm going to plan on that. We'll see how training goes through the winter and spring. Maybe I will try a different training program with some more speedwork in it. That is one thing that I didn't have in this program. Whether or not it would have made any difference, I don't know.
At least a week off now. Maybe 2. Hopefully I can get rid of this cold and let my body recover from training. I'll start running again by training for the RACC Winter 10K Series, which starts end of November.
So, to sum up, this was a disappointing first marathon, nothing like I expected. I feel like I could have run better, and I still think I had more left in my legs. But being sick really took it's toll on me physically.
On a positive note, it will be easy to PR at my next marathon!