My NYC Marathon – Elated and Deflated!

Yesterday I ran the NYC Marathon, and I am completely torn between feeling really happy about something I honestly never thought I’d achieve, and being bitterly disappointed in my time of 4:33:33 (which at the time of writing is still unofficial). To put that into perspective, my predicted time (based on all the races and training so far) was 4:16!

Below, I had no idea what was coming. This is 2 mins before the start!

Before I beat myself up, I should reflect on the last 2 years’ work and results. This year alone I ran 4 half marathons, two of them under 2 hours. I’ve logged over 865 miles in 2014, compared to 267 in 2013 and barely 94 miles in 2012. This was the first year I really took my running seriously, and at the point I started my marathon training, I was running on average 2 – 3 times per week and scraping 15 – 20 miles in those weeks. The training program I started was recommended for people running at least 3 – 4 times a week totally 25 miles or more. Such a jump in mileage takes a toll (my average training mileage was 34 miles per week), as did the races I ran during the training.

Ahh, excuses excuses. But wait, there’s more. On the morning of the race I had an upset stomach, perhaps nerves, perhaps an unlucky bug, but it messed with my breakfast and my fueling. While I managed to take a glug of Gatorade every 4 miles or so, I only managed 2 gels and didn’t take on enough water. Every time I drank water, my stomach turned over like an angry jacuzzi. Where I am really happy is that I kept going, despite every part of me saying “you can stop, it’s OK”. So inevitably shortly after the 20k mark, I started to slow. At the half-way point I knew I wasn’t going to be anywhere near 4 hours, but even then I didn’t realize how much I would actually slow down. By mile 18 I felt like I was barely moving, and on entering Central Park, I was barely shuffling along. But, somehow, I did make it to the end, and despite everything, felt like a million bucks.

After escaping the insane maze the organizers created due to security concerns, I was finally greeted by my lovely wife, Maria, who fed me a hero’s helping of banana bread and hot chocolate. She didn’t care about my time, and neither should I. The reality is, a marathon is hard and I probably grossly underestimated it. The difference in my performance over the 4 half-marathons and the full one is startling (see below).

Next time I won’t under estimate it. 3 things I probably need to improve for next time – strength training (my legs are ultimately what gave in), carb-loading (I am sure I didn’t do that so well) and fueling during the race, which I have always found tough.

So bring it on 2015!

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