A few days ago I completed my first marathon. I decided to put my thoughts on paper while I still remember how it went.
As I mentioned in my previous post, the preparation was not that great, I started training very late (around two months ago). My biggest distance to date was 32km in one go at a slow pace.
Let me tell you how my race went.
I woke up 2.5h before my start, ate two bananas and started drinking water. I kept drinking it until one hour before the start. Then I just went to WC for a few times, did some stretching exercises and mentally prepared for the start. My wife wished me luck, made me promise to stop if it was getting too hard, and I went to the start line.
The target was to finish marathon in under 4hrs. My plan was to stick to pacers (these are people who are holding a steady pace to finish the event in certain time). In my case, these were the pacers with 4:00 balloons attached to them but I didn’t see them at the start line. When I started, after a few km I noticed that I see pacers with 3:45 balloons ahead of me. I understood that I am going too fast and will not keep up the pace until the end of the race. So I started managing my pace and slowed down a bit. Most of the people were passing me but I managed to keep my ego at bay so I didn’t pay attention to them. I was sticking to my personal plan. My heart rate was manageable and stayed at around 163 beats per minute for the first half. My lactate threshold is 175bpm so I was still in the safe zone.
I saw that the 4:00 pacers are a few hundred meters behind me when I finished the first half (21km). I remembered that this was the place where my race was finished last year. Now I still have the same distance to go and the real race is only starting.
The pacers caught me after 24km. Then I understood that it is going to be hard to keep up with them. My heart rate was going through the roof (above 175 beats per minute). I still had 18km to go and my legs were tired already as well. I passed more and more people walking and was thinking that I will be one of them shortly. I decided to try to keep up with the pacers as long as I can. Maybe I will manage to stick with them till the end after all?
Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned and I gave up the optimistic 4hrs plan after 36kms. I started walking instead of running for a minute. Then I tried to catch the pacers but stopped again after a few hundred meters. This is when the hardest part started. I simply couldn’t run for more than a few hundred meters without walking. My legs were hurting and after 38kms they started cramping as well. At least there were only a few kilometers left. I managed to run for the last two kilometers or so and cross the finish line. The scoreboard was showing 4:06:59.
Then I saw my wife who congratulated me with a golden chocolate medal and said that I am still the winner for her. Tears started to gather in my eyes and I understood how lucky I am to be able to do this and to be able to share it with the most important person for me in the world.
In general I am still very happy that I managed to finish full marathon distance, even though I couldn’t fit to under 4 hours. I am sure that it is not the last time and I will be able to crush this result in my next marathon.