Monday, December 28, 2015

Maratón Powerade Monterrey - A Tale of 3 Marathons (Part I)

In the 'Zona de Recuperacion' after Maraton Powerade Monterrey

I decided to break this post into 2 parts, because every time I sit down to write about the race, I start penning a novel. (I guess that's what happens when you only write 3-4 blog posts a year) 

Last Sunday I finally reached my goal of breaking 5 hours in the marathon. This was my third shot at the distance, and I've learned so much about proper training since my first attempt in March of 2013.

The first time around, I finished in 5:42 and was really bummed about it. I thought I would finish closer to 5 hours, even though most of my longer training runs were around 12-13 minute mile pace or slower. I had a handful of friends who had run the distance, and I googled their finish times (like a psycho) to get an idea of when I might finish. They all finished under 5 hours (or only slightly above) so I thought I could too.

Lala Marathon, March 2013

I probably could have run that first race in around 5 hours if I had trained properly, but I didn't have a clue what I was doing. In hindsight, I hadn't built a solid base before increasing mileage, and as a result, I couldn't get all the weekday runs in that I was supposed to because I needed more time off to recover from my long runs.

In 2014, I came a little closer and finished LaLa in 5:14. Although I had completed a lot more of the training runs I was supposed to, I still hit the wall really hard at mile 21 and had to walk a lot near the end.
Lala 2014

This time around, I didn't want to leave anything to chance and hired a running coach. Based on my finish times at shorter distances, there was no reason I shouldn't be able to run a marathon in under 5 hours.

I started e-training with Coach Bob from RunningQuest in June, slowly building a base before I even attempted training for 26.2 This was necessary since I had surgery in April and had to gradually ease back into running.

I think that's one of the main reasons training and the race went so well this time around. I finished in 4:48:29, shaving 26 minutes off my 2014 time and nearly an hour off my 2013 time. If I were going to give just one piece of advice to anyone training for a marathon, that would be it: build a solid base first!

Increasing mileage too quickly leads to injury, which I learned the hard way last year when I had to drop out of a scheduled marathon and take 5 weeks off to recover from what the doctor here said was tendonitis.

I made it through this training cycle injury free, only skipping a few runs here and there when I got sick.

During the race, I kept waiting to "hit the wall," but it just never happened! I actually felt better in the second half of the race than the first. My fastest mile was 21, which I ran in 10:18. The last 10k was still hard, but I never felt like I had to stop and walk. I only did when I needed to take in fuel (I used Sports Beans) and hydrate.

Even as I'm writing this 5 days later, I feel fine. I was really sore in the quads for two days, but after some foam rolling and stretching, I'm almost back to normal. After the last two marathons, I was sore for a week and took the elevator at work instead of the stairs. This time around I was back on stairs in 3 days.

So what's next? I know I will run a marathon again in the future someday, but for now, I feel like I finally have a marathon time that I'm proud of and that reflects my overall fitness. It feels very strange not having a goal race on the horizon for 2016, but my husband and I plan to start a family this year so I am only running to maintain fitness for now. (I hope he's okay with me sharing that with the world, Lol.)

I have a few folks to thank before I hit the publish button. First of all, my husband, for putting up with an always hungry and often cranky, tired wife in training. Secondly, Coach Bob at Running Quest, who got me to the finish line without injury and with a 26 minute PR, and finally, my running buddies here in Torreon, who helped motivate me to drag my butt out of bed at 4:30 am many mornings this Fall. They made training a lot more fun :)
Yay for running buddies! (Jennifer & Erin) 

I'll post again about the actual race itself, but for now, I'm off to eat all the things. I still have the munchies 5 days after the fact ;) 

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