Three days have passed since the PEI Marathon and slowly the “runner’s high” is fading, and the aches and pains are working out of my body.
Race day morning started off especially cold, pouring rain, and even hailed in a few areas. Needless to say I was quite nervous about running in that weather. Fortunately the rain stopped just before the start time, sun broke the clouds, and it turned into a great morning for a run! Those running the full marathon had to suffer through the worst weather, but the rest of us got off a little lucky 😉
I went into this run hoping for a new PR (last year was a PR of 1:45:21), but I let that hope die early on as I really thought my laps were too slow prior to hitting the hilly part of the course. I also did something I NEVER do….I didn’t check my overall time constantly throughout the run. I glanced at it when the first 10K passed, and figured a PR was out of reach so ignored it from there.
Finally, around the 20k mark I caught a glimpse of my time and I realized “Holy Sh*t I can really do it!” I pushed as hard as I could and crossed the finish with an overall time of 1:44:11. It was hard to keep the tears back after seeing that result, and it felt good!
I knew my body was tired coming on the end, but adrenaline helped keep that at bay. As the day went on I had some major cramping in my legs, and my sciatic was pretty testy as well. I foam rolled and stretched, lied on the heating pad, and slept with my legs propped on pillows. After all that, I still believe it was worth it!
Below are the top 3 factors I feel helped me most in achieving this feat:
#1 FOOD- I can’t stress enough how important it is to eat for your training! This season I (slowly) increased carbohydrate intake, had a refeed day prior to long run days, and ate plenty to refuel after a run. I’ve been able to maintain my weight and body composition during this entire process while eating well over 200 grams of carbohydrates PER DAY…do not fear food!
#2 WORKOUT REGIME – Running involves more than your legs, and I incorporate strength training to target upper and lower body parts. I split these workouts up depending on my running days, and always include an active rest day where I walk, do yoga, etc, without overdoing it. While running, I tried to incorporate long and short runs, flat and hilly runs, fast and slow(er) runs. Look after your entire body and you will reap the rewards.
#3 SUPPORT – Yes I run alone, and many times I feel like I’m alone on this fitness journey of mine. However, I do have a number of people sincerely interested in my choice to run long distance and trade late Saturday nights drinking, for early Sunday mornings running. My number one supporter is my husband who ALWAYS picks me up after a long run, deals with my complaining when I don’t meet my own expectations, and celebrates with me when I hit PR’s! You need to have people in your corner in order to know you are NEVER alone!
Now I’m faced with a new debate…move on to train for a full marathon in the Spring, or continue with the half marathon and attempt another PR? Obviously there’s lots of time to choose, and I’d like to spend the Winter months focusing on strength training and building a better base. Glutes, hips, and hamstrings ALL need work, so I’ll start there!