The Replacement Marathon
Saturday 26th October, 2013
Weather: Cool, Cloudy
59F / 15C
Total Time = 03:56:30
Overall Rank = Not applicable
Originally I planned to run my first marathon as part of Iron Sweden, which didn’t work out. Then I planned to run my first marathon at my local Town Marathon, the Oldenburg Marathon. This again did not work out, but not because I was not fit enough, but simply because I decided not to run on the Sunday of the official race day, but a day early on my own. Why? Simple really, the weather forecast for Sunday was cold/rainy/windy. And I was not going to run 42,2km in those weather conditions. But it had an alternative reason as well. My concern was with that running in those conditions and never having run that distance before, I would simply do myself some damage and might not be able to train for three weeks after. So I was mitigating the risk as much as I could.
Sure running on your own is hard enough, but running a marathon distance on your own is even hard, especially if you have never done it before. The support along the route, other runners and the feed stations can be a lifeline in getting round the course. So instead I roped in my partner who would cycle the second and final lap of the 10,5km lap route with me, and she was going to carry my water, and generally entertain me when it got tough in the final lap. Gels I would carry myself, as I would foresee that in a real race that I would carry all my gels on me as well.
My aim was a sub4hr time and goal pace being around 5:30min per km, and the first lap was just under pace time, but this was down me having drunk to much water in the morning, and needing two bathrooms stops. I did feel much better after, and significantly lighter. The weather conditions played their part as well, with dry, little wind and a bit of sun. On my second lap, my partner joined me on her bike and this made the second lap relative easy, with me forgetting the distance and 21km were quickly done. In secret I did feel like a pro-runner with my own support team. The third lap I was on my own again, and up to 28km I felt fine, just happily running along at a steady pace. Only towards the end of the third lap I could start feeling my legs; not in bad way, just them stating that they were getting a bit bored from the running. With the final lap beckoning I knew that this would not specifically be a battle of my legs, but more a battle of my mind. In the past I have to easily starting to walk when I was getting tired during my run, and I promised myself that this would not happen this time. So another gel I popped, and off I went for the final lap, whilst being accompanied by my partner. With my hips and hamstrings feeling a little tight, I knew that stopping would not be an option. With only 6km to go I knew in my head that 6km on a normal day is a piece of cake, but after having already done 36km and being at the point of no return, I knew that I would just have to keep going. It my head I thought about that hard work I had done in the run up to this, and that I had already run 240km that month, so another 6km is minimal. Just keep going in a sense my head said, and my partner said the same. And yes the final 200m stretch was amazing; I knew I made it, and started speeding up, whilst my partner was singing the Rocky theme tune.
Yes I made it, I finished my first marathon. All that training had paid off to finish with a final time of 03:56:30. No negative split, but happy either way. What is next? Maybe a sub 3hr45min. I sure will try.