I finished the race in 4 hours, 6 minutes, 37.76 seconds. That’s a 9:24/mile pace.
Last year, I did significantly better. But I’d also been healthy throughout my training cycle. A few weeks ago, my right hip started giving me issues and it was everything I could do just to get through the rest of training.
I did one 20-miler and tapered from there. I did 2-mile runs a couple times a week and a 12-mile and 10-mile long run in those two weeks. Had I been able to continue my training the way I would have liked to, I feel like the race could have gone a little bit better.
The first half was pretty solid. I went through the first loop around 1:45 (8:00/mile pace) but knew I’d started too fast. Unfortunately, in a marathon, if you start too fast and don’t slow down soon enough, it bites you in the you-know-where.
And it did.
I had told my friend a few weeks ago that I would stay with her and between miles 18-20, I noticed she was in the same kind of pain that I was so I hung back and by the end, she was the one keeping me going.
The issue that I was facing was that my legs had become so fatigued by mile 20, that my hips felt unsupported and unstable. Any wrong step and I could feel my hip twisting uncomfortably so walk breaks were necessary for me to be able to get through.
I’m not usually one to even walk through aid stations in half or full marathons that I’ve done because of the stopping and starting and the issues that causes, but the hills in the latter parts of the looped course made it difficult not to walk.
My nutrition was to take a Gu gel as close to every five miles as possible, depending on the spread of the aid stations. I also alternated between water and Gatorade, only skipping a couple aid stations in the late stages of the race (there was about a ½ mile left). My plan worked out fairly well but unfortunately my pace in the beginning was too much to overcome for the gels to really make much difference. I shudder to think how I would have felt without them.
Despite my poor experience this time around (I put most of the blame on myself), I highly recommend the Veteran’s Marathon for those attempting to qualify for Boston or want a close race for the first time.
The course features rolling hills which I like due to the different muscles used when going up or down hills as opposed to running on a flat surface the whole time.
Despite the relatively low numbers of participants, the half marathoners and marathoners run together for the first half so you’re never alone. There were still quite a few people to push me along in the later stages, even after I’d slowed down a lot and we pushed each other through various stages.
I am well aware of the risk I was taking even running any part of it with the nature of my injury. Had I not signed up for the race in January and committed all the time into training with two of my friends (it was their first), I would have dropped to the half or 5-kilometer race.
The recovery process, for me, involved walking around on Sunday to keep the legs moving. On Saturday through Monday, I wore knee-high compression socks which helped with my lower legs immensely by stimulating blood flow to the area.
I am taking ibuprofen to keep inflammation to a minimum in my hips (both of them are pretty tender) and probably everywhere else, too.
I intend to take a week completely off and then start back very slowly with maybe a slow mile or a walk or bike ride and additional strengthening exercises and cross training to ensure my hip heals properly.
Next up: Boston
I found a Boston Marathon-specific training plan from Hal Higdon that I intend to start in late January. It’s a 12-week plan that requires a solid base which I intend to start building back some time mid-December, condition depending.