Humans are wonderful hindsight machines – we ALWAYS know what we should have done … after we get the results of what we DID do! I wrote a bunch about my UGLY PR at the Wineglass Marathon, and in spite of feeling so much better only a few days later than I ever have after a distance race, I am obviously replaying the race in my mind to see if I could have had a different outcome had I made different choices.
As I stood at the starting line I was going through my choice of a target finish time carefully. As I stated, my goal was sub-4 hours. But HOW? Should I go out flat and try to maintain constant pace throughout? Or should I start slower and try to do negative splits to chase down my goal? I certainly knew I didn’t want to go out TOO fast, as I knew that would be disastrous.
What drove my decision to try to run a flat pace was:
1) I had done it last year, maintaining an almost even pace for the full 26.2
2) I feared that starting slower my body would not want to go faster at the end
So I headed out with Mike Solomon, the 3:55 pacer … and the rest I already documented.
When I crashed during the third quarter and somehow found my kick in the final quarter of the race – I wasn’t second-guessing myself. All I wanted was to finish … and not be injured. Time didn’t matter, and even finishing itself was secondary to not being hurt. This was NOT the time for strategy.
Even after getting home and feeling better on Monday I wasn’t thinking about too much other than my calf/achilles. But after doing 3 slow miles Tuesday that felt decent, 5 miles on Wednesday that felt better, and 6.25 miles at a slower pace but otherwise just as I would have a week ago … I have to say I am full-on recovered. So NOW I can start beating myself up!
What have I concluded? The interaction of two things led to my struggles: first, I should have gone out with the 4:10 group and worked in the second half to generate negative splits. And second, the heat and dehydration conspired to cramp me up which resulted in altering my gait in a way that felt like injury. But there is an upside – in spite of ALL of this … the last 10k was my fastest part of the race.
So NEXT TIME, I will be even smarter – go out slower than planned, and trust in my ability to kick.