To those who want to do their first full marathon (42.195 km), let this piece of writing be a reference for you to prepare yourself. It’s not a professional account but I assure you this is as real as it gets. Statistics reveal that only 1% of the world population has ever done a full marathon so that spells it out for you; if it was easy then everybody would do it.
That picture of me was taken right after crossing the finish line, less than 2 minutes before the cut-off time of 7 hours. Talk about cutting it real close. I had successfully crossed 4 checkpoints earlier so missing the course cut-off time would have caused a major disappointment. To think I started this endeavour with a sub-6 hour target! So, what happened?
Let’s start with what I feel I did right.
My fueling strategy worked as planned; carbo loading went on schedule the day before and thus I didn’t have major problems with energy to drive me forward. During the race I burned 2,253 calories whilst I consumed about 1,000 calories throughout race time in the form of 1 banana, 1 energy bar, electrolyte salts, energy gels and isotonic drinks. In the future I would want to fuel up a bit more because I remember feeling incredibly hungry towards the end.
My gear strategy also functioned as planned; apart from my usual running apparel, I used kinesiology tape to support my thighs and knees along with calf compression support. I also prepared sport sunnies, a cap and a long sleeve running tee to protect my skin from the sun. Ironically I brought my earphones but didn’t use them at all. Somehow I felt comfortable listening to the ambient noise, my breathing and even chatter from fellow runners.
My run strategy was plain and simple: to finish the course without any injury within the stipulated cut-off times at every checkpoint. This would relieve me of the pressure to over-perform, keep my pace at ease and my body relaxed. I didn’t know what to expect after crossing the 25 km mark so it was prudent to exercise caution to avoid bonking too early.
So if everything was in place, what went wrong?
Although I strategised my food & fluid intake in the days leading to race day I made a foolish error of eating too much spicy food 48 hours to flag off. The combination of chilli & spices gave me a sore throat which in turn lead me to being feverish. Luckily for me it wasn’t serious and a few pops of paracetamol controlled the spread. But the damage was done…
At the starting pen I made a silly mistake too. I was so overwhelmed by the atmosphere and excitement that I mistook the 6 hr 30 min pacer balloons to be 6:30 min/km speed. Duhhh! I ended up losing a lot of time and momentum in the first 10 km or so before I realised what was happening. Talk about being ignorant…
There’s a well known belief that when you run a full marathon you have to cross that 30 km ‘wall’ in order to have the mental strength and physical drive to finish the course. Well, let’s just say that wall got the better of me. Mentally I was raring to go but physically I was beaten. The culprit was my right knee and later the doctor told me that the ligament was sore & stressed hence why I felt the excruciating pain. It was so unbearable to run that I was forced to alternate between brisk walking and jogging. And it was a long walk-jog indeed (12 km under the blistering hot sun).
So quite simplistically the fundamental reason as to why I didn’t achieve my timing target was because I didn’t train enough. I didn’t acquire the necessary mileage for my body to accustom itself to the stresses from running 42 km. That was why my knee ligament gave way. It was a tough lesson to learn, in the most painful way. And I have no one else to blame but myself. But I have to say that for the right things I did, I did them well. I did not have any blisters, no black toenails, my upper body bore no major soreness, didn’t suffer from any cramps nor sunburn and definitely no chafing.
But you know what? The experience was immeasurable, knowledge acquired was priceless and so much more to learn as I look forward to better myself. Yes you read that right, I would want to do another full marathon!
Looking back at that picture of me, I am certain of one thing: I wouldn’t have finished the last 500 m within the cut-off time if it wasn’t for team support. Team PROTON Runners waited and cheered me on. The best team in the world in my books. Thank you Mr. KE for capturing that moment in time and big thanks to those who gave me the final push 😉
Now let’s plan for the next shall we?
#scklm2016 #fullmarathon #runninggoals #fitlife #fitness #teamprotonrunners #myteamisbetterthanyours #tpr