Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Post Marathon Thoughts

1. A great experience. While I wish I did better, I am happy with my result. Really. I have pictures from my March race that motivated this fitness kick. Compare that to a picture from the marathon. Wow, what a difference seven months can make.

2. Injury report -- Four, count 'em, four dead toenails, and two nasty blood blisters under two of them. And a huge blister on the side of the big toe on my right foot. The second toe on my right foot is now only moderately disgusting; after the race it was unbelievably gross. Before the race, that toe already had toenail issues (it was purple and dead, with a new nail growing underneath). I trimmed the nail the night before, and thought this could turn out badly. Race day produced an enormous blister on the end of the toe, a blood blister under the new nail, and just all around grossness. But, remarkably, it didn't hurt too badly. And now it is just a black toe with a seriously messed up toenail that I suspect will fall off any day.

3. Mentally, it was a struggle. This last month was one of the longest work months for me in years. (Lawyers work in billable hours; I billed more hours last month than I have in almost ten years. And that is a lot.) In fact, I worked the the entire Saturday before the race on Sunday. I was supposed to fly out on Sunday night --marathon day -- for a trial that started Tuesday. I flew out at 6 a.m. on Monday (day after the race) instead. That is just hard to focus and be tough on race day. I also couldn't risk just crushing myself in the race -- I had a big work week in front of me. So, that inability to mentally focus on the race was a factor. As was...

4. Lack of Training -- I didn't train enough in September and October. Hey, that's life, work, etc. Hard to be too mad about that.

5. FIRST. The FIRST training program did not get a clear shot with me. As my life got busy in September and October, my workouts became fewer and fewer. In reality, I hardly ran 3 times a week, much less run 3 times a week and do the 2 cross training workouts FIRST called for. So, in reality, I kind of ended up doing the Runners World "busy man" workout. That schedule was three hard workouts a week, and other runs or workouts were gravy. That was the best I could do, so that became my plan by default.

6. Garmin Running with my Garmin was both a blessing and a curse. Watching the data, I knew my heart rate was too high early in the race and thus probably unsustainable over 26.2. And, as it turned out, I couldn't sustain it. But was that because mentally I knew my Garmy had me running too fast and hitting a wall? Or, did I simply hit that physical limitation as reflected by my Garmin? In other words, did I go out too fast? Or did the Garmin create a self-fulfilling prophecy? I am undecided. And the virtual race partner went crazy on mile 24 and really threw me out of sorts. Initially, it tracks your projected finish time versus a "virtual steady state training partner", and shows how far ahead or behind you are of that racer. Late in the race, the ahead/behind had huge swings. I had it set on 8:00 miles. Thus, if I ran an 8:30 mile, I thought I would be 30 seconds behind. But my pace guy was going crazy. On a walk break, it would show me like 20 minutes behind. I would say to myself "holy sh-t, I better get going!" And then when I was running I would be only 8 minutes behind. It should just track the gap, as I didn't have the distance programmed in. I am guessing that the algorithm goes a little crazy after 20ish miles. All in all, would I run with Garmy again? Yes. But with a huge grain of salt.

I haven't decided on a future running goal yet. My A-1 goal is not to lose fitness and gain a bunch of weight this holiday season. Maybe a late March or early April marathon. For now I have to work the NYRR 60K (that's right -- 36.6 miles) on Nov. 21, and run a 4 miler on Nov. 22. And then I am in NY marathon in 2010. And I will be there, faster, stronger, fitter.


  1. Nice reflections...sometimes we just need to give in and do the best we can with the time and energy that we have and you did that! Well done, can't wait to hear about your next goals.

  2. Great look back Wolve! I think the best part of the race is what we take from it to make ourselves better runners.

  3. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger! You certainly have learned from all your preparations for this race. I also have taken sound advice from your trials and tribulations. Good luck with your goals for 2010 and I wish you all the best.

  4. Great job, I agree with Meg, you do the best with what you have. Sometimes life throws other stuff your way and screws up your training schedule. Seems like you did a great job given your situation.

    I hear you on the garmin data becoming a self fulfilling prophecy. I just got an HRM and I can already tell I need to pick and choose when I use it. I've also become a big believer in no watch and no checking the clock on my way out the door on recovery runs. Sometimes having all kinds of data can screw with your head.

  5. Great post - we have to live and learn don't we?! Congrats on your race! NYC is my absolute favorite marathon, so I hope to do it again in the next few years!

  6. I've been doing my post-marathon evaluation as well. And like you, I signed up for a couple of year-end races and a volunteering gig to score an entry for next year (though I'm only volunteering at a 5k... you've really got to be committed to take on the knickerbocker!)

    I think I'll give FIRST another shot leading into the NYC half next year. Hopefully one of these days I can take it on sans-injury...

  7. That's a great reflection. I totally hear you on the Garmin, I feel the same way when I look at my HR during a run and feel as though I just play into the mind games I set up for myself when I think about my HR and how much further I have to go, but I'm totally addicted to it and can't run without it! You'll come back great next year.

  8. I think you had a strong showing given all the limiitations of your training heading into it. That's why I think next year, with a little more consistency, you'll do even better! Congrats on your awesome time!

  9. your Garmin is way more sophisticated and i like it that way! show me my splits and beep at me at the mile marks!

    when i ran NYC last year, i dont remember ever really looking at it though!!! i use it more for training runs where i look at it every beep..

    might be different at Houston in January where i am more focused on a big PR :)

    great blog and thanks for commenting on mine! i hope to run NYC again in nov. now i have to go read more of yours!!

  10. My husband is also an attorney and I can't imagine him training for a marathon on top of his work hours, especially in the weeks before a big trial.

    I cannot imagine running without Garmy, if nothing else, just to let me know my pace splits each mile. I haven't mastered just listening to my body.

    I'm still regrowing one nail from my April marathon. I'm really hoping I can escape without any toenail injuries--I went up 2 sizes in my shoes this time. I wonder if it's possible to have no toenail issues post-marathon??

    You wrote "And now it is just a black toe with a seriously messed up toenail that I suspect will fall off any day." And I was thinking the TOE or the TOENAIL? Mine looked that bad at times.

  11. I don't even know how you did it with that schedule. I always admire anyone who can manage running a marathon while keeping up with a very busy life!


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