LAST WEEK I took a second crack at the marathon. After a little time to reflect, I am o.k. with how it went.
I went out hoping to hit sub-3:30. The night before, I thought: "All I have to do is start a bit carefully and then try to stay in the 7:50s." This did not exactly pan out. Like my training, there were brief good moments, some bad ones, and some really bad ones.
I crossed the 10k mark in 50:42, feeling fine, but realizing that I was running with the sub-3:40 crowd. This is more or less where I remained.
Near the end of the first half, I could not tell whether I had more than enough to finish "evenly," or if did not have nearly enough. Such is novice marathoning.
When I crossed mile 20 in 2:42 and change, I thought, "A 48-minute 10k? I can do that." Miles 21 and 22 reflected that belief. But, for whatever reason, during the 23-26.2 stretch, either became cautious or lost some zip, finishing in 3:36.
I think in many ways the race was microcosm of the training that preceded it. I ran more than I ever have, but my training was erratic and I do not think I "learned" my body well, how different paces felt, and what the different signals from my body meant. The fact that, throughout the race, I could not tell whether I had a ton of reserves left or very little is, itself, indicative.
I read Pete Pfitzinger's Advanced Marathoning and followed (more or less) his 18/70 plan, but wish I had fully-digested it well before I started training or, at the very least eight weeks before the race.
I attempted a number of workouts, but did give myself the time or rest to execute them properly. In some cases, I executed them more aggressively than I should have.
If, God willing, I run a marathon this Spring, I hope to get to bed consistently earlier so that I can get up early and do the workouts properly and after proper rest. Doing workouts properly entails not pushing harder than is called-for. I also need to take my easier days a bit easier so as to soak up the benefits from the hard days. I also split most of the weekday medium-long runs into doubles, which does not produce good results for me.
Overall, I am thankful to God and my wife for supporting me in this beautiful thing. Thirty minutes faster than last year is a lot to be grateful for. Time to take it easy for a bit.