Thursday, October 15, 2009

My First Marathon – Part 2 – During the Race

So I trained as hard as I could have and finally it was race time, September 20, 2009 and the gun fired off at 7.30am.

1) I eased into the run, just focusing on getting to the first 14km mark (warm up), I was very stiff as my warm up was not that great (no matter how much you plan things still go wrong, the taxi cab I called for the journey arrived 30mins late and I ended up rushing to the start line – you need to be prepared for these things as well).

2) I carried my own ‘drink bottle belt’ and kept my bottle consistently full so I could follow my hydration plan here.

3) I was aiming for a time of 4.45 and had my “Pace Band” printed out and around my wrist near my watch, this Pace Band also had the location distances for my “personal hydration packs” I had prepared and handed over to the race organizers. These packs basically had a bottle of Gatorade, a Banana and a GNU Gel in each. I didn’t use them all but because I had these packs available to me I was able to have a GNU gel available when ever I felt I needed energy. I honestly believe that as a first time marathoner, if it weren’t for these packs I would not have made it as the refreshments the race organizers provided was terrible, most drink stations had just water.

4) At the end of the first 14km I felt really good, it was starting to get pretty hot and I started to sweat a lot. I upped my hydration after that, drinking when ever I felt like it. I also had a banana and a GNU Gel (Never over drink! As it can cause serious medical conditions like Hyponatremia).

5) After I reached the half way point of 21km I still felt extremely good and even started running a bit faster. I had a GNU Gel as well.
6) At around 30km it was really hot and I was losing a lot of sweat. I started drinking a lot more Gatorade and started having a GNU gel every 30-45mins after this.

7) At 32km I remember feeling really low and depressed, both my thigh muscles started to cramp and I was starting to hear voices in my head. One of the loudest voices as telling me “Even if you finish this, what next? It’ll all be over; do you really want it to be over?” It’s actually a funny thing the mind and how it can completely overpower you when you are fatigued. But I knew I was in the “Chronic” phase and I had started to “hit the wall”. All I can do now is keep running.

8) At around 35km the cramps had spread to my entire lower body and my lower body started to ‘twitch’ making me lose balance a few times and almost fall face down. I just stopped and walked during these times but I never walked for more than a minute and resumed running soon after.

9) At around 40km I got a second wind! The doubt and pain disappeared and I was excited about the finish. I could see the Sydney Opera House and the finish line and actually stepped up the pace with the hopes of getting there quicker.

10) The last 500m was magical, people were lined up and cheering and you just feel so proud. I only have one requirement from myself during the closing phases of every run I do, and that’s t finish strong and sprint at least 200m. I did exactly that and finished at a time of 5:01:25 (5 hours and 1 min).

Read my next post for photos and videos.

No comments: