Sunday, April 26, 2015

Lessons Learned from the Marathon

When I worked as a beginning engineer, I had a manager who would sit with me after every meeting I chaired to give me a "lessons learned" session on what worked and what didn't and how I can improve.  He was a great boss.  Too bad I got laid off.  Whatev!

Now I have a coach to do the same thing with my running.  Last week after a few days of sulking and then getting pissed, we broke the marathon down into things that worked and things that didn't.

My training was spot-on for a PR and/or Boston Marathon qualifying.  My fitness was not the issue.

This was my 17th marathon and I've been using the same nutrition throughout.  Although my stomach hated me during the race, I don't believe my nutrition was the issue either.  I could have helped my stomach problems earlier in the race by eating some Tums.  I had them in my bag.  I should have asked Dave for them.  This one was my fault.  Next time, I'll carry them with me.

One thing that did affect me during the race was the heat.  Sure, it wasn't that warm, but the starting temperature was 60 and the ending temperature was over 70.  I'm not sure I've done one run this whole training cycle in the 70s, except for inside on the treadmill.  You can sure use fans and hydrate a lot to help that when training indoors.  If the temperature had been in the 40s or 50s, I would have been golden.  Spring marathons are a mystery.  You train through terrible conditions (at least, if you live in the midwest like I do) and then you might get lucky with a beautiful 50 degree day or it might be 85 and hotter than hell.  I got unlucky.  My friend Star is an amazing ultrarunner who is currently training for Badwater.  I know she does a lot of sauna training and whatnot.  Coach and I have developed a plan for the next one that includes some heat adaptation.

Obviously, my head got in the way too.  Ever since Ironman Louisville, my head has been kind of a mess when it comes to racing.  I used to enter races confident or at least oblivious to the pressure at hand.  The one thing I love about running is it allows me to turn off my brain and just be.  I don't hear anything; I don't see anything; I just breathe and move my feet.  But recently, I've had a hard time turning off the chatter.  When things started happening, when things got bad, I just thought about how horrible I was feeling, and would I be sick, and were they going to have to pull me off the course, and how much of a disappointment I was, and how this was a waste of time, and how much time I've put into this and not spending time with my son, and on and on and on.  Aside from physically removing my brain, obviously not an option, I'm not sure how to get back to the confident, carefree runner that I was.

But, we have come up with a plan.  For my PR/BQ attempt, I need a bigger race - one with spectators and lots of runners and undulations to the course.  I need to feel the energy and move with the crowd.  I need others to call out for me and push me.  I want to go out with a pace group and see what I can do. 

Yes, there is another marathon on the schedule in a few weeks.  For now, I'd like to keep the details to myself (to my Maine friends who think I might be coming to join their party, unfortunately, no).  I basically took the whole week off after the marathon (I was on vacation) but did do one very, very short run when I got home.  It felt great.  I mean, good grief, I walked a TON of that marathon.  This week we are going to take it day-to-day to see how I'm feeling and how much more running my body can handle.  The heat adaptation with start two weeks out from the race. 

I want to try again.  I deserve the race I trained for!  I'm pissed that everyone else I know had great spring marathons and mine sucked.  I want to be added to that list! 

See you at the starting line...


middleagedrunner said...

Yes! Take two will be perfect. Too bad you aren't coming to Maine but I will be wishing you luck from here!

Carina said...

I'm glad you've got another shot. I was hoping you would. It doesn't always work, but I think taking a second crack at it is a great idea. For heat, have you ever done Bikram yoga? I love that stuff and a couple weeks of it might really help. (And that sounds like a great ex-boss, that kind of stuff is invaluable.) I hate training in the summer, but I do it every year mostly because I like that it gets cooler as the race gets closer, as opposed to the opposite in the spring.

Angela said...

Ugh...That sucks. I have totally been there & I think you are smart to spend some time breaking down what did & didn't work, but also what you can & can't control. Best of luck to you with your next attempt!