Since this was my first marathon, I knew post-race I would have a lot to absorb. I would learn, more broadly, about running as a sport, and I would gain insights about myself as an endurance runner (yes, I consider the marathon an endurance race). So, going into the event I had several goals, some large and clear, some vague and more personal.
- Primarily, simply I wanted to finish. The Texas Ironman ends with a full marathon. I didn’t want my first marathon experience to be during the Ironman.
- I wanted to run the entire distance. I did not even come close to achieving this, so I’ll call it more of a long-term goal.
- Run roughly 12 minutes/mile for the first half, then, if possible, increase my pace to 11 minutes/mile. Clearly, I didn’t do this. While on course, I made the choice to not even attempt this goal. I decided that experiencing all of the event, including running with others was more important than tunnel-vision focus on meeting a particular time-goal. I knew that I could only have one 1st marathon and I wanted to be present for most of it. Shooting for time goals could wait for another race.
- Fully experience the pain of the race. I think internal growth and true self-confidence develop through enduring and overcoming adversity and suffering. To complete the Ironman, I am certain that I will have to push through a lot of suffering. To endure, mental training is just as important as physical training. When the body tires, it’s the mind that must engage to continue the grind to the finish line. With that in mind, as I thought about the marathon, I asked for pain…and the race delivered. The only way I will truly know that I can reach deep and push through the suffering is to push myself to the point where I want to quit. I wanted the marathon to create one of those moments.
- I looked forward to running with other people who were doing the same thing that I was doing. Testing themselves, pushing limits they thought they had.
- I’m hard-headed and stubborn, so I learn a lot through experience. Although my coach points out the deficiencies in my conditioning and training, I don’t seem to be sufficiently moved by talking. Instead, experiencing the shortcomings tends to motivate me. So, I wanted to use the marathon as a way to expose weaknesses and gaps in my physical and mental training. Again, the race delivered beautifully, and I am grateful.
- I needed to test my nutritional regimen under the stress of race conditions. Not only is my in-race nutrition important, but what I eat during the days leading into the race has a huge impact on my performance. I had a plan and it needed to be tested. Overall, throughout the run, my energy levels were good. Lisa, my nutritionist, has helped me move to the next level of endurance training. I am not bonking during the long events like I was in the past. I’ll continue to optimize and refine this aspect of training until it’s more a habit than it is now. I didn’t feel depleted of energy until the end of the race. The difficulty with finishing however was a result of increasing knee and ankle pain.
- I wanted to finish between 4h30min – 5hours. I was not able to meet that goal either.
I have may people to thank
- My wife & son for their unwavering support
- Johnny my coach for getting me to this point and being real with me along the way
- Lisa my nutritionist – I wish I’d found you much sooner
- Allie & Ben – for welcoming me as a running mate during the race. You helped the time and the miles fly by.
- My online friends and family who were texting and sending me voice messages of encouragement during the race. You made a difference too.
Now, I will learn to recover from the race injury and refocus on preparing for Ironman Texas.