Post Race Brief
Today, I tried running my first marathon. It wasn’t hard for the reason that I thought it would be. I don’t even think I got to the hard part.
I ended up needing to stop racing just past halfway after experiencing excruciating pain in my left leg within the first 30 minutes of the race. It felt like someone was pulling my hip and leg apart and my IT band would snap at any minute if I made even a slight misstep.
During the race, I couldn’t tell if the hot tears that I felt coming to my eyes were because of how embarrased I was to not be in top form on race day or how much pain I was in. Some of both, probably.
When I was asked after the race if I was going to get my leg checked out, I said, “yeah, I’ll feel better about my poor performance if there was actually something wrong with my leg”. I didn’t realize this at first, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that I so badly wanted to deflect the responsibility of failing that I would be happier with a diagnosed injury.
The only thing worse that I could imagine happening would be if I went and they doctor would say, ‘yeah it’s just overuse’, and I have to face the fact that I and only I am to blame for everything that happened today.
I’m also frustrated that I didn’t get to challenge myself. I didn’t feel strained cardiovascularly at all, and my right leg felt as strong as ever.
No one trained and prepared my marathon except for me, so as much as I don’t want to own this failure, it probably was all within my control. I think I’ll look back at it someday and laugh, but for now it hurts, both figuratively and literally.
Some of the factors that went into this race:
- to “go the distance”, to finish the race
- sub 4
- sub 3:30
16 weeks, followed a plan until mid-September
37 km (22.99 mi) - finding out where I can run in Auckland
58.6 km (36.44 mi) - trying to balance exploring with training
54.7 km (33.98 mi) - 2 workout week, feeling great
51.8 km (32.19 mi) - out exploring more!
59.3 km (36.87 mi) - biggest week so far, feeling good!
66.3 km (41.19 mi) - another big week, all according to plan
79.2 km (49.28 mi) - south island trip week 1, includes hiking mileage
82.4 km (51.24 mi) - south island trip week 2, includes hiking mileage
57.1 km (35.49 mi) - really painful 25k long run attempt
10.5 km (6.52 mi) - I realize I’m hurt
8.5 km (5.28 mi) - still trying to keep up
0 km (0 mi) - give up
30.7 km (19.07 mi) - OK, I’m feeling better
37.4 km (23.24 mi) - let’s keep this up
6.4 km (3.98 mi) - other knee now fucked
0 km (0 mi) - take it easy before the race
DNF, 22.5 km (14 mi) in with debilitating IT band and knee pain
- Unrealted to my injury, this was a part of my prep that I did better than I thought I would when I began training
- I did not successfully carb-load in the days before the race, but I didn’t feel depleted during the race
- Pre-race nutrition was also good (electrolyte drink, toast, coffee, immodium)
- Race nutrition went down without any issue (Science in Sport gels, Lemon/Lime flavor)
- Alphafly Next%, Tracksmith lined half tights, Nike Aeroswift singlet
- Felt a bit of a hot spot in the sole of my right foot but my hunch is that it was because of how slow I was going
- pro tip: use a hairband wrapped around your hand to carry a gel or its wrapper
- sat in the shower and cried the hardest I’ve cried in years
- caught myself trying to drown out feelings of sadness with online content
- seeking out reminders that even professional athletes drop out of races and it’s nothing to be ashamed of