Onward to the next phase of my training – running marathon distances without any kind of race support. Most of the marathons I will be running in 2016 will not be at the time of the official race. I cannot count on volunteers, I cannot count on water stations, I cannot count on an ambulance driving at 3 miles an hour behind me (Thank you Bay of Fundy Marathon.) I will not have the rush of adrenaline starting a race with 10,000 runners brings. I will not have sponsor tents with coconut water or granola or massages at the end of my race. I will just have the satisfaction of having completed a goal I set for myself.
Yesterday, I woke up and ran a marathon distance from my house down to Richmond, Maine and back. This was not a spontaneous event, but part of my over all training plan. It has been two months since my last marathon and next I will narrow the rest gap down to one month (then 3 weeks, 2 weeks, and the one marathon a week.) Not only did I do this on my own, but I also beat my best marathon time by over 10 minutes. As proud as I am to have completed a marathon all on my own, there are four main areas in which I need to improve.
I have both a fuel belt and a Camelbak backpack. Unfortunately, due to my current size, neither one fits. The night before my race, I drove down and placed water bottles at regular intervals along my route. Not only will I not have the luxury of knowing where to hide water bottles on most of the courses I will run, but even in our small town I have people take my water bottles. I can console myself with thinking that these people need the water more than I. This doesn’t help me when I need a water bottle at Mile 21. Fortunately I had a good Samaritan pull up beside me and offer me a water bottle just as I was starting to panic. This is not the kind of poor planning that would be acceptable on a regular basis. Finding hydration equipment that fits me needs to be a priority this month.
2. Sweat Management
It was a cool morning and I was not running to beat the clock, however, 1 hour into my run I was drenched. I have always sweat a great amount. Any sort of exertion always created a sheen of effort across my brow, however the sheer quantity of sweat seems to have doubled in the past year. Even an easy 5k creates gallons of sweat saturating my clothes. My running clothes are billed as “wicking”, but I don’t see where the moisture is being released. I will start running at least one run during the mid day heat attempting to find solutions for this. Everything from salt tablets to new running clothes will be considered.
3. Pre-race Preparations
I need to find some pre-race food that will not make me nauseous. I have recently had some success with oatmeal, but I need something that is quick and easy to grab when I first wake up. Also since I won’t be running these routes on race days, I doubt there will be many porta potties at the beginning of my run. For this run I had the luxury of walking out my front door and taking off. Not every run will be so convenient. I need to make sure that I have an easy regiment in the morning that will prepare me for the race with a minimum inconvenience to any hosts with whom I am staying.
4. Post Race Recuperation
At the end of my run, there is nobody helping me across the finish line, there is no medical tent, no chilled bottle of water or fresh cut banana. I need to make sure that I have easy access to these things for myself. A cooler with ice and beverages, banana and peanut butter, ibuprofen and neosporin need to be readily at hand.