I went with my good friend Ruth (who sadly, we have kind of lost touch since then, but I hope we’ll meet up again in the future). She was running her first half marathon and I was running my first full. It was an exciting weekend for us both.
Now, I must have forgotten about how undulating this beautiful scenery was, as it was a surprise to me about those hills, one in particular, where it was quicker to try to walk/stride up rather than run, due to its incline. This hill you had to do twice if you were doing the full. Ouch indeed.
The race started off well, perhaps too well? I kept trying to tell myself to slow down, as I’d feel my pace picking up. I had my dad’s advice ringing in my ears about try to run the first half slowly and then you’ll do fine in the second half. He ran the London marathon back in the day and got a time of 4:11! So, I think I was definitely aiming for matching his time, or trying to get close to there anyhow.
The first half took me 1:46, so much too fast I think, on reflection, if I was aiming to run the first half slower than the second one. Oops. Hey-ho, on with the race. In the second half I was still feeling pretty good and was keeping pace with a couple of women who were incredible! One was running something like 6 marathons in 6 weeks and the other was using this marathon as a mere training run for another event. So, obviously I felt like a ‘proper’ runner as I ran and chatted with them.
Until about kilometre 36 or 37, that is. Hmm, here is where things went wrong. Very wrong. Or perhaps, they actually went wrong a lot earlier, but here is where I felt the effects. My legs kind of stoped working. What the?? Is this that famed ‘wall’ I’d heard so much about? Yup. It is a real thing. Was very frustrated. Had to sort of limp/shuffle/walk for the most of the rest of the way, and people who were running with me at the end where like ‘what happened to you? You were doing so well! Etc.’. Oh well. Wasn’t my day. I finished in 4:35, so if my legs had not given up the fight with just 6 little kilometres to go, I might just have got the time I was aiming for.
I gratefully limped/ran in slow motion across the finish line and Ruth and I found each other and hugged and celebrated, and I then got stuck into the post-race bananas and drinks on offer.
I think a major lesson I learnt from this marathon is this: FUEL. Pre-fuel, and my fuel during the race were completely inadequate for a full marathon. I had run a few half marathons and one ten km race prior to this marathon, where I didn’t use any extra fuel during the race, so I think I wasn’t prepared enough on the fuel side of things. I think I drank mainly water at the aid stations for the first half of the race, and then would alternate water and sports drinks. However, by the time my legs had problems, and I was stuffing in jellybeans like there was no tomorrow, it seemed it was too late. Lesson learnt: re- fuel before you run out.
Apart from the pain and the slight disappointment of not actually having ran the whole way, as I had to walk for a few kilometres at the end, I was still euphoric and ecstatic at the end of the race. I had just ran a full marathon! And then promptly vowed never to do so again. Haha…