This was my fifth marathon in 15 months! This is something that I am proud of considering where I started. I wasn’t going to run this race and only made the decision after Canberra, where for the first time I executed a race plan! The last two were a bit of a disaster to the point that I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do this again. I did not think that I could cope with another failure. My self confidence is not my strong point, but it was pretty nonexistent after Canberra and Gold Coast. However, I continued to train and tried to execute my training plan.
I completed the race in 4 hours 35 mins and 07 secs.
5 weeks earlier I entered a race in Canberra and exceeded my goal. I practiced a new nutrition strategy here to assist with my food intolerance and IBS issues which can impact on my running. Everything went well, no meltdowns, no gut issues and I felt really confident. The rest of the training was about following the plan.
Race Day Eve
This was a bit different this time as I had to make all my own electrolyte drinks and gels and then get them to the personalized drink drop off zone. Even though I felt confident, I was still a bit anxious about this and whether it would work on the full marathon. After this I sorted my gear and tried to relax.
I got at 4.30am, had my breakfast, electrolyte drink, medications and then headed to the race. At this stage I am the calmest I have ever been prior to a race. This time I meet up with some people that were running the race (usually I’m all on my own) which actually help distract me and keep my anxiety in check. I also re read my race plan and last minute advice from my coach. Particularly about my self belief.
The plan was to start out slowly at 6:30 pace and finish at 6:00. As usual I went out a bit fast but I tried to keep it under control. The first 10kms I was on target and feeling in control and actually enjoying myself. At half way, 30km and 33km marks I was a little in front of my target. I was still feeling in control but I was also working really hard to maintain it. This wasn’t feeling as fun as the front end!!. By the time I got to 35kms I was feeling the strain and my pace started to slip. “Uh oh here we go again’ was racing through my mind. There were a number of times that I had to walk. I tried to reset and in parts the pace picked up. However, the last 5kms were my worst efforts and was not near my 6 minute pace. I ended up crossing the finish line 10 minutes after the time I wanted.
During the race I caught up with another team member and ran to 35km mark with her. This helped push me along and distract me. When I was starting to struggle, her encouragement was invaluable but I started to worry that I was affecting her race and that I wasn’t sticking to my plan. I did not build as I had planned and the faster pace early on contributed to my fatigue. This was then compounded by lack of nutrition and losing my mental battle.
This race I was using homemade electrolyte drinks and gels. I had practiced using them and had been quite successful however, the longest distance I had trialled them on was 27kms. For the first half of the race, I took the gels and fluid on as I planned. I managed to find my drinks in the first 2 personalized stations. After 30kms, I started to struggle to consume these and I completely missed the last drink station. This certainly showed in the last 5kms. I had no energy and I started to feel dizzy and everything was hard. And then my self doubt and anxiety stared to kick in.
I’m disappointed that I didn’t achieve my goal and had vowed that I wouldn’t do another one if I failed again. I know I still have a long way to go on my nutrition strategies and my self belief. However, there was a lot to be happy about, I achieved a PB and I made it much further than I usually do before I imploded. So I’ve decided that I’m not going to let it beat me and I’ll give it another go!