A new favourite distance

Start of Marathon RaceI have already spoken about the actual race at the Disney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon, but I did form some opinions and conclusions about the event afterwards.

This year was meant to be a year of half-marathons originally. Once I finished the Goofy this past January I vowed I wouldn’t do it again and I wasn’t planning a marathon anytime soon. By April I had signed up for the Cayman marathon and the Goofy again. Much as I would like to think I was forced into doing the Goofy at the end of the day it was my decision, and come the race I am sure I will get that same buzz from racing it. If I can hit my goals then all the better. It is just the training that is incredibly boring and monotonous.

However, having competed in the half-marathon earlier this month, I have to say I really enjoyed it, not just the fact I was running at Disney at night, but the actual half-marathon distance was good.

Unfortunately I am not and I will probably never be at a level where I can actually “race” a marathon for the full 26.2M. With all the marathons in the past, I have set off quite slowly, and it is only about 6M that I even begin to think about how I am doing, and then I still have to hold back as I don’t want to run out of gas before the end. Once I am about 13M-16M I start to work out what I can do and how the legs are feeling, and then the last 6M I can actually go for it if I have anything left (or just try and make it to the finish if I haven’t!).

With the half-marathon, it is still a decent challenge in terms of distance, but it also is short enough that you can go for it from the start. I actually felt like I was running the whole way round, instead of the usual marathon jogging in the beginning and then speeding up a bit later. There is also the unknown of the marathon, and maybe that is the attraction, once you get to 20M anything could happen. But with 13.1M it is much easier to run that distance in training and then have confidence in what you can do and how hard you can go out, and I really enjoyed that. In some ways it was more of a challenge, I couldn’t afford to go out slowly and then try to make up the time in the second half of the race, it was all or nothing from the start if I wanted to achieve the goals I set myself.

I really did enjoy the whole experience, and I think that I may have found a new favourite distance. This is good as it will be a lot harder to talk me into a marathon or worse the Goofy next year if I know I will be happy just running half’s all year.

The main problem with the Wine & Dine event is that being so late at night it is very hard to get the fueling right. I overdid it with the energy drinks and clif-bloks which I believe is what led to the stomach cramps. Assuming we go back next year, and I can’t see any reason why we wouldn’t, I would have to rethink that part of it. Another problem you don’t think of, and maybe most people didn’t do this, once you finish racing and go back to the hotel, with all the adrenaline, stimulants, caffeine etc. in your system it is virtually impossible to sleep. Maybe that is why they have the after race party to give people a chance to calm down!

The problem now is, if the half-marathon is my new favourite, do I race the half in January and then struggle round the full, or do I still try to hold back on the Saturday so that Sunday isn’t all pain?