Exactly a year ago this time I wondered if I'd every be able to return to running and what exactly that would look like. I was struggling with a nerve injury that was rooted in my back and sending pain signals down my leg. Just walking around was painful, and the months of inactivity from running were adding up. I lost around 5 months of training. So by the time May rolled around and I had made some progress on the injury I considered it a victory that I was able to run for an hour straight finally without pain.
So in August, after having a pain free triathlon season, I decided I wanted to run a marathon and signed up for my first ever marathon (California International Marathon) to be raced in December. My coach Justin Trolle biked beside me during some of my first long runs with his signature Fatigue Resistance sets, which would end up being the building blocks of my training. No long run was completed without this speed element implemented, and it worked. The focus of the training wasn't on volume like traditional marathon programs, but on speed work during training. I averaged around 40 miles to 50 miles per week of running on my biggest weeks. I have to admit, I was a bit worried about getting in as long of runs as possible. I had to just trust in my coach that the training we were doing would pay off, and get me to my goal time of a 3 hour marathon.
Race day in Sacramento, California was a cold one. The temperature at the start of the race was around 27 degrees and it only warmed up to 34. The cold temperatures would prove to be treacherous at aid stations; adding to the difficulty of getting water. Any water that was spilled from the dixie cups was freezing quickly on the roads...creating a slip and slide. I lined up with the 3:00:00 pace group, as did about 30 of my best friends. The power of a group of runners pacing and running in a pack together can give huge benefits. It helped keep me on target pace, although a bit fast..we averaged a 6:46 pace for the first 13.1 miles, which comes out to a 2:57 marathon. The goal was to positive split the race and anticipate a bit of a fade in the last portion of the marathon. After reaching mile 13 I decided to go to the back of the group. There had been a lot of jostling amongst the group and I'm not a soccer player. Also a pack of 30 people all trying to get a dixie cup of water was probably a good spectator sport, but I needed hydration. I finished the back half of the race with a 1:37:04. Definitely more of a positive split than I had anticipated, but I also had only gotten 2 gu gels down the entire race and that became a contributor to the slow down I experienced. Lessons learned, I'm ready to take on Boston in 2015!
Some stats on my Race:
Longest run completed: 19.5 miles with Fatigue Resistance Sets
Average mileage/week 40-50 miles
Half marathon split: 1:28:42 (avg pace of 6:46)
Final time: 3:05:46
|Close to Mile 13|