Manchester City Marathon Recap

‘Never again’ is the first thought that comes into mind when thinking of this race. My watch calculated a total elevation gain of 1700 feet over the entire course and while much of that was in the first half, the second half had its own share of hills, none of which were unaccompanied by brutal headwinds and sub 40 degree temps. In other words, never again will I choose to run this one. I do enjoy a good challenge, but I’d like to think that 26 miles, 385 yards is tough enough on its own, with no need to toss hills, wind and cold into the mix. That being said, there were a few areas I could have improved on myself and seen a faster time for the effort put in.

My fueling – was atrocious. I brought a packet of strawberry Gu Chomps and managed to eat only 2 of them. Took water at most aid stops, but grabbed Gatorade only twice. My pre-race breakfast has always been a bagel and banana, but for whatever reason this one had me burping through mile 20. Indigestion certainly did not make things any easier.

My pacing – was not even a thing. I started out slightly slower than goal pace for the first 10k, as intended. When I should have started picking up the pace in the second 10k though, I was besieged my relentless hills and by halfway point I was 10 seconds a mile off pace. It only got worse over the second half and by 19.3 I had dropped back down to just quicker then the pace of my previous PR. Over the last 10k I was probably 50 seconds a mile slower than goal pace, just trying to not walk and ended up averaging 24 seconds a mile more than I wanted.

My mind/heart – were strong until the end. Positive rating on that front, despite wanting to walk desperately over the last few while knowing I wouldn’t even PR, I kept running somehow. Had no reason to go on, but did not quit, that I can be happy with.

I knew this would be a tough course to run my goal time on, but I thought I had a good chance of breaking 2:45 and I was convinced at the very least that I would PR. Nothing of the sort was doable and I now have to be okay with only coming within 8 minutes of my goal in 2013. I know this year of running has been far from a waste as I have now finished three marathons nearly 10 minutes under my PR from last fall, but it has been a hard couple days of learning.
I have a few fun runs left in 2013 and the very beginning of my Boston build up in the last half of December, until then I will be doing my best to continue working on my core strength and injury prevention measures. I don’t want to lose any fitness right now, or get injured again so I will continue running. I will be cutting out speedwork and long runs for the next couple weeks to give my body a break. I’m also going to use the time gained from lower volume to research the best plan and coaching options for Boston, it’s time to bring some other input in and get some confidence in my approach again. I have such an insatiable hunger to do better now. I need to prove to myself that the time in my head is realistic, but more than that, I need to run for those who can’t. Starting with Boston I will be running to raise money and support for those who need it so desperately. More on this soon!

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