Firstly, thank you all for your great comments and support. What a community! There's quite a bunch of us now running marathons in October - Maddy is running the San Francisco Women's Marathon (how cool does that sound?), podcaster extraordinaire MarathonChris is running the Marine Corps Marathon (I would LOVE to run that one one year..), ShirleyPerly is running so many marathons that I'm sure she'll be running one around that time, and as for Melissa - she's running her first in Columbus, Ohio. Kevin has been tricked into running a half at that time and our friend Terry is finally back on the road again as well and will be organising the amazing Phedippidations World Wide Half Marathon in mid-October. Susan - after your 10M race this weekend, what's your plan? And Cory is also planning a fall half-marathon - which one? You can see there's a bit of a trend going on... Let us know what you're doing so we can cheer you on!
Going back to this weekend's craziness - the worst of which was, as Kevin pointed out, that no-one took up my offer of home-made cookies! - I am attempting to extract some pearls of wisdom from this nutty experience. So here goes:
- chafing. I thought I had chafing all covered but with my new CamelBak backpack on (the sportsdrink saved my bacon as they didn't hand out any on this trail marathon) I found new chafing opportunities - back of my neck and my shoulders. So I must always consider whether I've worn ALL my kit on a long run and tested if before putting the BodyGlide back. It would have helped, obviously, if I'd done a long run recently, in so many ways, but there you go..
- sunburn. It's not a common problem here at the moment - summer is not here - but despite the occasional shower I did burn the backs of my legs. So I need to add suncream to my bag and apply it "just in case".
- training. Ah yes - I was going to come to this. Terry pointed out in his lengthy and useful comment that actually, running a race unprepared was an amazing learning opportunity. I DID expect the wall and I slammed right into it but by walking occasionally I did come out the other end and finished the race running. More than anything else though, this experience has taught me to value my previous experiences, particularly my first marathon, NYC in 2005. At the time I was very disappointed with my time (4:55) and felt that I hadn't really trained hard enough. Looking back on it though I realise I ran the whole race comfortably, never even grazed a wall, and finished strong. My training was clearly quite good, actually.. In going over the training programs as I was last week (prior to this race) I was focusing mainly on improving my PB, setting a great time. While that obviously remains a consideration, I now realise that my main aim is to find an achievable program which will enable me to enjoy the race. For last year's Chicago marathon I used Hal Higdon's Intermediate I and I have to say I really enjoyed that - I like having middlingly long runs in the middle of the week as well as the weekend runs, I like pace instead of speedwork (touch wood, I did not get injured last year) and I was trained AND rested at the start. Now obviously a lot of factors come into this, but I'm beginning to incline back towards Uncle Hal and maybe will tackle his Intermediate II program and see where that gets me. Got a week or so to decide so will keep you posted on those developments - and I'm also lurking on Maddy's and MarathonChris's blog's to see what they're doing.
Finally, my body seems to have recovered well from this race. Normally I don't run at all in the week following the race but I went out for 2miler last night (slowly) and enjoyed it. The only thing - and this is quite weird - is that my big toe really hurts. At some point in the race I remember it suddenly hurting as well (not on the downhill) and I can't see what's wrong. I thought I was going to get one of those black toenails (which is unattractive but a rite of passage as a runner, I guess) but no - it looks fine, not swollen, a bit red but man - it hurts! I can get it in a running shoe and run with it without problems but anything more ladylike than Birkenstock sandals is not working for me at the moment. Hohum. Anyway - we'll see whether it drops off or sorts itself out. And I'll be back running again this weekend - I think I have a week or so before my 20 week program starts and I am motivated to TRAIN!
Goodbye for now, happy trails and enjoy your runs!