The Logical Philosopher

Sunday, October 12, 2008

How to set a PR at your next Marathon

So after 40 days of not-so-intense training, I did the marathon again today.

I can say with conviction, that less training will actually increase your time. And by less I mean about 70% less than recommended.

Here's how it went:

3km - my neck started to seize up. Usually it starts to seize on my long runs, around 23km. I am 20km early for a blowup. Or a 15km blowup, depending on who you are.

5k - I realize my 6am breakfast is now digested, and I am hungry. Luck me, I have a gel pack on me. Mmmm, vanilla goop for a snack. I also realize that I haven't raced for 3 years, which means I haven't practiced running and grabbing water off a table for 3 years. The grab goes well, the drinking it without spilling 95% onto the ground does not go well.

8k - my knee starts to tighten up and I start to think my Chiropractor may be right. I decide right then and there not to give her the satisfaction of being right. Foolish or Wise? you ask? Only the next 38k will tell....

10k - time = 54 minutes, right on pace for a 4 hour race. I look back and I am about 1/2km ahead of the 4hour pace bunny. Right then and there I decide to see if I can run a sub four hour Marathon. I think the endorphins had a large part in making that decision for me.

18k - the elites pass me (at their 28km mark) and I feel slow. And fat.

21.2k - time = 1:57. Still ahead of the pace bunny. I would have slowed down but he wasn't that cute.

26km - I am officially doing the longest run of the year. Surprisingly my mind has not reach the WTF are you doing to your body point in the race.

30km - time = 2:45. Sweet. I am on pace for a PB, and despite the burning sensation and numbness in my neck and hands. At least this race the burning sensation didn't happen elsewhere (that for another story).

32km - I lose my Motrin somewhere in a portapotty. I was sore, but not sore enough to dive in after it.

34km - I start to walk and get passed by the pace bunny. My blister, which feels larger than my entire foot, has reach boiling point. Pull off my shoe and a grain of sand falls out. Not any grain - a small grain which I suspect was entirely shaped like a pointy star.

I think back to a race I did where I saw a sign "You think 10k is easy? Well, you are in luck - the race just got easy."

I also reach the WTF are you doing to your body point in the race. I pushed it out. It was an epic feeling of mind over matter.

35km - I hear someone yell at me from behind. (full disclosure: I was delirious in pain so I am paraphrasing what I heard, from what was said). "Hey LP, nice post yesterday. Your Chiropractor sounds like a bitch!" I turned around to see my Chiropractor. Boy, can you say Awwkwarrrrrd!

38km - I realize that pain is temporary, but a sub-four hour marathon lasts forever. I pretend I am blocking out a 3 and 5 year old running around on Christmas morning after eating candy in their beds. Yes, the same technique can be used for blocking out physical pain.

39km - This song comes onto my iPod

I guess it is the Eye of the Tiger of the Rap generation. Whatever, it seemed to work.

Then, right at that second my GPS battery died and my Average Pace and Race Countdown. All I can think is Shit, now I have to go oldschool and do pacing math, which will probably reinforce the 'WTF are you doing to your body' thought process.

40km - I realize that yes, pain is temporary, but it is also right here, right now.. Again the Block your Children technique comes in handy and I put my head down and just give 'er.

My final time was a 4:02, a full 13 minutes faster than my PR, of which I did after 13 long weeks of training. Pfft! I think. Next year I wonder if I can do a sub 4 hour marathon if I cut it down to just 30 days of training.

Epilogue - It took 20 minutes to walk to my car, even though it was less than a km away. I didn't even make it across the crosswalk while the light was green. My time may have been faster, but my epilogue is going to be much slower this time.