Becoming a marathoner
After becoming a 70.3 Ironman I decided to become a marathoner.
I trained for 3 months, did over 75 hours of cross-training (including running) and ran more than 260 miles.
As it was my first marathon I didn’t know what to expect after mile 20. An additional 6 miles is a very long distance when one is struggling.
When one month ago I ran 20 miles with a friend I felt good but I didn’t have much energy left.
When setting my goal I put a 5 minute buffer to anticipate pain, slowing down and running out of energy.
I set my goal at 4:15.
As my race went according to plan I hit 4:13 (close to 4:14 actually).
I was lucky to have friends running with me and leading the way from mile 20 to the finish line. Without them I would not have hit my goal. The struggle in the last few miles was real.
I knew it but I experienced that the LA marathon course is quite hilly (1,000 ft elevation and you feel it !) and I left lots of energy before mile 20.
I struggle the first 10 miles to keep my 9:30 pace.
I struggled again between mile 15–17 but somehow managed to stay close to my pace.
My goal was to keep my pace till mile 20 and just follow my friends after that.
I arrived at mile 20 with an average pace a little higher than 9:30.
I asked my friend to try to push myself a little to go back down to a 9:30 pace but there was no juice left.
I kept struggling after mile 23 even if we finally stopped “climbing”.
In the last 3 miles I had to slow down and walk several times (less than 1 minute) to flush the lactic acid.
In the last 2 miles cramps and pain in left knee were real.
I wanted to be able to sprint to the finish line (everybody around me seemed to be able to do so) but I was just able to avoid walking.
Crossing the finish line finally ended the running pain. It took about two days to acknowledge that I finished a marathon.
During the run, around mile 17 I was thinking that people racing Ironman distance are completely crazy.
At mile 24 I was thinking that I would never run another marathon.
Finishing the marathon was as tough as finishing a half ironman. And I prepared well for both events.
As I learned from my first 70.3 I was stronger to run the marathon and I recover a little faster. It was also a shorter race.
Today I’m thinking that running a marathon under 4 hours would be awesome. But it would require to get even stronger so it will require more time and more strength training.
Racing a full Ironman seems still way too crazy.
But 4 years ago I thought racing a marathon was too crazy…
Who knows what will happen in the next few years.