Ran the Victoria Marathon last Sunday. “Ran” is an applicable term only for the first 19 miles, before I hit the Wall (hard) and ‘shuffled’, not ran, the rest of the way to a 3:53 finish. It was a frustrating day.
First, the positives. The weather was unseasonal bright and sunny and warm, little to no wind. Bright sunshine with temperatures warming from the Start at upper 50s to mid 60s later the race. I felt good, no lingering injuries and confidence still lingered from my July race. The course lacked big hills but does ‘roll’ quite a bit. The day before the race, I decided to go for it, targeting a 7:50 pace that would give me a 3:25 (hr) finish and my Boston Marathon qualifying time. With this decision, I realized and accepted the risks involved running that fast for 26.2 miles. I might crash and burn and hitting the wall is a painful experience I hoped to avoid.
To my credit, I was able to hold that pace for the first 18 miles. But, I knew by about 13 miles, as I began to struggle to hold the pace, that my goal wasn’t going to happen. My body communicated I’d continue to slow, now it was just a matter of struggling to control how much I’d slow down.
Running Marathons and hitting your goal time is determined by a spectrum of variables, some you control and some you don’t:
- the weather (temperature, wind, rain, etc)
- the course (hills, running surface, etc)
- your training
- your taper
- pre race day fueling (carbo loading)
- race day fueling (breakfast)
- fuel intake during the race (hydration and fuel)
To hit my goal, I feel like the stars must aligned. In my July race, I felt the stars did align but not so in Victoria.
Why did I hit the wall, hard to say but I believe several poor (beginner) decisions contributed to doom my 15th Marathon. Looking back, it’s almost embarrassing to admit these mistakes, I know better and this shouldn’t have happened.
- I likely failed to properly carbo load the day before the race.
- I definitely failed to take in enough liquids and fuel during the race.
The day before the race I ate a late brunch of just one waffle. It was mighty tasty from John’s Place but I should have eaten a few more. I figured my big dinner would take of things. For dinner I found a yummy burrito place and ordered a LARGE veggie/bean and small cheese and bean to go. Not until I returned to the hotel room did I discover the burritos lacked rice. I was counting on that starch for my carbohydrates.
During the early part of the race, I could tell it was going to be unseasonal warmer than what I’m used to running and I did increase my fluid intake. But I probably still didn’t drink enough. Since I don’t know my sweat rate for running in temps in the upper 60s, I only guessed how much fluid to drink. Now I know what I need to do before the next race….Figure out how much fluid I’m sweating (at varying temps) and therefore drink that amount during the race.
To compound my problem, once I began dehydrated from lack of fluids, my stomach became nauseous. I had planned to eat 5 GU energy gels but once I became nauseous I failed to eat the last two GU gels. First my body lacked the proper amount of liquid and now fuel.
These errors will not be repeated next time.
Lastly on the lighter side, here is a clip of a guy who set the world’s record for running a marathon in a business suit, in Victoria. Shows the stunning October blue sky weather. The course loops back around 15 miles and I do recall seeing this guy “fly” past me.