This was definitely my strongest full marathon yet (out of 5 in total), and my legs felt pretty great the whole way through – how bizarre hey. Even at 37 and then 38km and beyond, I was sort of expecting my legs to go their usual route of pain and slowing down. But nope, not today. I really felt awesome for the WHOLE race. No word of a lie. I suppose it could have been down to me telling myself that ‘it’s just another Sunday long run’, or the other trick I used – I pretended I was running a 50km or longer so that I would be pleasantly surprised when the finish line came sooner.
So, I’m not exactly sure why this marathon was so very different to the other 4 that came before it, and it has really hammered home that no two marathons are ever the same. It’s surprising even more so, for the fact that I felt kinda underprepared, training-wise, for this event. Sure, I’ve been training, don’t get me wrong. However, I wasn’t following a ‘training plan’ per se, but was kind of just winging it and doing my own thing this time, which basically consisted of my usual weekday runs of between 10 to 13km, and a long run on Sunday (which at its max might have been about 33 or 34km? Again, I have been winging it with the distances too and not strictly measuring them either). But no speedwork or ‘tempo’ runs or much practise at all at any kind of race pace. So, maybe less really is more?
It’s hard to pin it down to any one thing that may have helped me in this race, but as a not-very-scientific comparison, here is this race compared with that of my previous pb (4:04) in beautiful Guizhou, China:
- Trained on hills (for my weekly long run) but ran on flat today, whereas for Guizhou: I trained on flat but the marathon was very undulating.
- My fuel was ALL sports drinks, gels, and one small peanut butter snickers (which was a mistake! Yuck…) today, but in Guizhou I had lots of ‘real food’ as fuel (bananas, snickers, cakes etc). I definitely prefer the actual food – felt quite sickly at times today…
- It was a beautiful day today, and even got quite hot. In Guizhou it was pissing down rain and cold for the whole time.
- NO pre-race beers or wines yesterday for me, whereas I’m pretty sure I would have had a beer or two the night before in Guizhou.
- I knew I could really give it my all today, no pacing myself for another race as all I have to do is sit on a plane tomorrow – whereas in Guizhou I knew I had a whole full marathon the very next day to complete! So, was definitely pacing myself (or trying to).
- Chatted with new running buddies all through the Guizhou race, but don’t think I spoke to anyone during the race today (apart from the drinks crew and cheering crowd at times, just to say thanks – so, maybe, conserved my energy a little bit more?)
- On that same note, I had a lot more support in Guizhou and the team aspect really helped me (I think) whereas today it was just me supporting me. Lol…
So, yay, definitely ticked off my goal for today.
Another goal that was ‘ticked off’ recently was my Bacon Sleep Sex launch party held last week. Thanks again to all who came! It was such a great day. Just went by far far too quickly for my liking, but I suppose that’s always the way when there is something you’re looking forward to. The only major downer for the day was that one extra special guest couldn’t make it after all – namely my husband, who’s passport got stolen the night before he was due to leave China!! What a fucken nightmare… L Anyway, it’s a long (boring) story, but the end result is that tomorrow I will be going back there for an all too brief visit while he is stuck in Beijing. The best laid plans of mice and men and all that….
So, if you’re interested, here are my pre and post marathon photos (I didn’t have my phone with me at the actual race, so didn’t get any action shots per se, one of the pitfalls of racing alone with no besty or husband support team, d’oh…) and a few photos from last week’s book launch (there will no doubt be many more to follow of the latter – just waiting on the official/professional photos to come in! Exciting…):