From San Francisco to Washington, D.C.

aka from the WIPRO San Francisco Marathon to the Marine Corps Marathon

Now that the dust has settled (over a week’s worth) and I feel almost back to normal, I wanted to reflect on the race and share what I’ve learned, what I think I can work on and my goals for MCM.

It’s taken a while for the fact that I achieved my goal to sink in. I thought I would be jumping for joy after I crossed that finish line. I think that the utter misery of the second half of the race pushed every other thought out of my mind. I could barely think of anything except for how miserable I felt. Now that the soreness has passed, completely, I can actually savor my victory.

Now to the things I need to work on. First, pacing. Mine was, as I mentioned, horrible. I’ve mentioned many times that my “inner Garmin” has not yet developed. The fact that I went out too fast on Sunday comes as no surprise since I ran both of my marathon specific long runs too fast. That’s why I persisted in my stupidity on Sunday. I trained to run 9 minute miles, not 8:45. 15 seconds may not sound like much but it adds up over the miles. If I want to keep shaving time off my marathon time than it’s time to start working on pacing.

Second, I need to learn how to hydrate better. Just like Savannah, San Francisco was just a little bit warmer than I expected. Thus, I didn’t wear my hydration belt. I alos didn’t start drinking anything until the water stop at mile 10. I’d planned to start after the bridge but I miscalculated when that stop would come. From that point on I took two cups of electrolyte and water at every step. That’s four cups every two miles approximately. I was really dehydrated when I finished. I need to get over the aversion to portopotty stops – especially since I took one anyway. That’s why I’ve always delayed taking in hydration. Dumb reason. I know. I’ve learned my lesson especially after reading about the importance of hydrating starting from the first water stop.

Third, recovery. I’ve never followed a specific plan for recovery. In fact, a week after my first and third marathons, I ran trail races. (I learned my lesson at Croft. Not a good idea.) THis time I want to be smart about recovery because I’m jumping right into Marine Corps training. The soreness I felt after the race Sunday is the worst I’ve felt after a marathon. While I feel normal now, I know that making the week after a zero week was a smart idea. (I won’t get into the stupid thing that I did with my left big toenail and the bilster underneath courtesy of the San Francisco downhills.) Today I started the recovery plan out of Advanced Marathoning and then plan to transition right into the twelve week program.

Now to Marine Corps Marathon goals

Several months ago I read a blog entry on the morning that registration opened that alerted me to the fact that registration opened in a few hours. Instantly I knew that I wanted to run it, especially after I did the math and figured out that I had just enough time for a complete training cycle.

I held off on making any goals until after I finished San Francisco. Now it’s time to make and declare those goals. As I described earlier, I want to learn how to run a smart race with both pacing and hydration so that I’ll finish MCM satisfied with my performance rather in agony like in San Francisco.

Of course, it would be totally out of character for me to not have a time goal. I’d be lying to say that I’m not tempted to make MCM a BQ attempt. However, 23 minutes (at minimum) is a lot to shave off for a marathon. (Yes, I realize that I just got a 24 minute PR but that was hard and definitely not typical.) Another factor is limited time. Because I’m incorporating a full recovery cycle into training I’m using the 12 week schedule instead of the 18 week on that I used for San Francisco. Tentatively I’m aiming for either a sub 3:50 or a sub 3:45. Just typing out those numbers freaks me out a little but there it is.

I’ve gotten to the point in my (short) marathon career where PRs (and BQs) will take careful execution of training plans and I’m ready!

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Filed under marathon, Reflections, running

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