The 2017 LA Marathon is in the bag, also completing inaugural Conqur LA Challenge! It was definitely a struggle to cross the finish line, just like last year. But this time, I was about 30 minutes faster at a final time of 5 hours and 8 minutes. Like with the Pasadena Half Marathon, I’m happy to finish and break my personal record, but not satisfied.
- The expectation to finish under a 4:30:00 was unrealistic. I carried this misguided optimism to finish under unrealistic times to my other races too, which I suspect are causing me to start way too strong and lose steam by the end.
- Training was not sufficient, and I felt it. By mile 15, my entire body was hurting. By mile 20 it was agony. I had to walk a lot. People that never ran a marathon are often surprised to hear that the entire body — including hands and fingers — are sore by the end. This is because a person will inadvertently tense up throughout the race, causing muscles to clench. In addition, your body undergoes extreme physiological changes during a marathon, not least of which is secretion of sodium which causes muscle cramps as well.
- If you have any sort of injury, no matter how small, do not run the race. I lightly twisted my ankle the weekend before, and foolishly I decided to run anyway. By the end of the race, my foot was purple and swollen. This set me back about 3 weeks from any physical activity.
What Could I Do Better?
- Adjust my expectations. The more I train, the more fit I will get. But I forget I am getting older, too. At some point my level of fitness will converge on the age line. It’s important not to set unrealistic expectations – see Setting Goals.
- Train more, and more often. Last two weeks, I did not run much. I completed my 20-mile run a week, maybe even two weeks, too early.
- Do not run with any injuries. It will only get worse and sets you back a few weeks after the race. It’s not worth it.
What Did I Do Well?
- Ate much better than last time, and carbo-loaded ahead of time.
- Paced myself much better. I did not get out of the chute zig-zagging through people like I was trying to catch a bus.
- The above two points saved a lot of energy and I ran a lot farther than last time before having to walk.
Nonetheless, looking back at my achievement wall, I am satisfied overall how far I’ve come.
Always, Keep Moving Forward
Will I do another marathon again? It’s going to be a long while. I have another baby on the way which will make training very difficult for the foreseeable future. While running marathons is great, it is also a giant time commitment – time spent away from family (it’s really difficult to train at night). In addition, I don’t feel as fit as before, and I attribute that to the lack of weight training.
The reason I started this site is to help people, people who are struggling with family-work-fitness balance. Therefore, I decided to get certified as a personal trainer and really go for it.
So as the marathon running chapter winds to a close and I remember the long-distance runnings days, the book continues to grow. I am really excited to share the things I’ve learned and hopefully change people’s lifestyles for the better!
Let’s do this!