Basically everything went according to plan up until Mile 20 of the marathon. I have been telling everyone it was 10K too far, and that is pretty much the truth. I had an inkling around 16-17M that I wasn’t going to be able to keep the pace I was at, but even though I slowed a bit on the undulating bit of course between 18-20M I was still on for an excellent time (sub 3:40) if I could have kept it up.
It would be easy to say I went off too fast, and to put all the blame on myself, and on the face of it that is what appears to have caused the blow out at the end. However, after thinking about it for over a week, and looking at what happened before, during and after the Marathon I am not so sure it is that simple to say I went off too fast.
It is true that if I had gone out slower then I would probably have still managed a PB and finished within the top 1000. However, I had spent the 5K and the half marathon seeing where my heart-rate would be for 8 min/mile pace, and it seemed reasonable. The miles I did in the half showed that to do that kind of pace would put me in the mid 150’s. I found in the 10K PB I did the weekend before the Goofy that anything around 160 would mean I was working too hard and would be unsustainable. This is why I went out at 8:20 pace with my heart rate below 150. After about 5 miles I increased the pace to roughly 8:10 and my heart rate was comfortable around 150. So, at least to me, I was keeping well within the limits I had set myself. I ran the Cayman marathon with a heart rate in the low 150’s so I didn’t think there would be any problem.
I believe what actually happened was that I ran out of fuel. Running 42.4M in a little over 48 hours is going to tax your bodies reserves of energy and it is important to replenish what you have used. I had a problem on the Friday night before the half marathon that something that I had eaten had disagreed with me. I was cramping and in quite a bit of pain, at about 1AM on the Saturday morning I was seriously considering abandoning the half.
Things did get better and obviously I managed to complete the half without any issues. However, for the rest of the day I was very wary of the food I was eating, and also not feeling particularly hungry. I ate more protein than I normally would when trying to refuel, as eggs and sausages looked more appealing to me than lots of bread, rice etc. when I was feeling a bit off-colour.
I don’t think I refuelled well enough between the two events, even on the Sunday morning I skipped my normal pre-race bagel and only had a banana as I just wasn’t that hungry. I think this left me with only 3/4 full tanks which was always going to end in disaster.
Another reason why I don’t think I went off too fast was because I was perfectly fine the next day. In fact the day after was the best post-marathon day I have ever had. There was virtually no stiffness in my legs and they weren’t feeling too heavy considering what I had asked of them. I did have a fantastic massage after the marathon, but even taking that into account, if I had gone off too fast and pushed past the limits of what my body could do then there would be all sorts of aches, pains and stiffness from the amount of lactic acid that would have built up. I am used to having problems with stairs especially after these type of events, but there was none of that at all this time. Even after Cayman in December I could tell I was a bit stiff even if I wasn’t hobbling. This time there was nothing. If I had gone too fast then I think I would have been in a bad way.
The last thing I guess is the fact that I had run a marathon only 5 weeks before, and I had set a PB in it, so I was going hard. It obviously took something out of me and meant I was a bit short when I needed it.
There were lots of little things that all added up to what happened in the last 10K of the marathon. Individually I could probably have overcome them, but add them all up and include the 16M I ran before the main event and I got what I deserved so to speak.
I did, however, enjoy the event and I will detail why in another post.