Less tracking, more finishing.
The good news is that I finished my first marathon, in the rain, and only suffered during the final kilometer. The bad news is that I didn’t track my training progress very well and I can’t without a doubt say that running a marathon is very good for my health.
I can, without a doubt, say that training for a marathon is extremely good for me in a number of ways. But the actual race itself…egh.
As explained in my previous post and QS presentation, I started my training in April 1, 2013 with quite a few goals that I intended to track with the same accuracy of my USF Masters Project. But let’s face it, some people can produce master’s project level of reporting in their spare time while working 2 jobs, traveling the world and training for their first marathon — but I, decidedly, cannot.
Here were my initial goals:
- Decrease BioAge from April.
- Stay active throughout the day — not just training. Track 15,000 steps w/ Fitbit on training days, 10,000 steps on rest days.
- Sleep at least 6 hours at least 4 times a week.
- Run the Spartan Super one week before my marathon.
- Track charitable donations.
- Track social interactions related to training.
- FINISH MARATHON
I was able to decrease my BioAge from 27 to 26.5. One of the tests had changed from being able to touch your toes (super easy for me) to doing a full squat without rolling my ankles, knees, or shoulders (really hard, but important to do while training for a marathon — I didn’t roll my shoulders, but was a mess everywhere else). It’s been 2 full weeks since the marathon, and I’m due for a retest.
Overall, I’d say (measured by feel, not stats) that my overall health (fitness + joint pain + lack of illness/fatigue) peaked sometime in July, then slowly decreased as my running distances increased. The week before my marathon, I did a lot of yoga and ate a lot of carbs — which only lead to me feeling bloated, fat and slow. The day after my marathon, I gave up sugar and grains (this had much to do with how terrible Gu shots taste) and now feel much fitter today than I did 3 weeks ago.
For the most part, I was averaging about 13,000 steps/day in activity. For a while, I lost my Fitbit and then for some crucial long runs, forgot it all together. I used my Strava app considerably at first, but stopped for my longer runs because it used too much of my phone’s battery. The snapshots below are a very, very basic snapshot of my activity throughout my training. Overall, I got slower and went longer (as is expected when building miles).
Meditation didn’t help. Neither did isolation tanks. Journaling and gratitude rituals? Nope. I even gave up coffee for awhile to no avail.
It seemed like nothing could get me over the 5 hour mark in my sleep. Then, as a means to relieve soreness in my legs, I started taking a Magnesium supplement. It totally worked – immediately. Turns out Magnesium is the greatest supplement in the world (with the exception of Fish Oil maybe). I now take it in the morning and at night. I don’t have a fancy brand and it helps. I’m now able to get 6 hours of sleep on a regular basis. It’s changed my mood and made me a kinder person. Every now and again, I’ll sleep 4 hours and can’t believe that used to be my standard.
Let me tell you something about how your body feels one week before a marathon — fucking sore! My calves, my hips, my back, my knees: everything was sore and I was freaking out. I could barely walk to the kitchen in the morning, much less run a Spartan. I skipped the race, but not before looking over pages of my training log dating back to April. I had wanted to do the Spartan so badly, but I just couldn’t risk breaking myself down that much more.
Unlike many runners, I never raised money for a charity during my training. Instead, I earned “points’ that could be redeemed as actual charity donations via Earndit.com. Point are earned through my activity on Fitbit. I written about Earndit.com before, and I absolutely love that I’m able to help people out just by being active. In fact, I’d say that this was that best reward for my training and marathon race.
With Earndit.com, I was able to support JustWorld International, Waves for Water, and Heifer International. While I’m not exactly sure how these organizations got these donations or how many people benefited from my “donations’, I feel really good about this opportunity existing at all.
Tracking social behaviors over 6.5 months is serious work…that I really didn’t do. I made sure to post on Facebook and Twitter each time I made a new donation to a charity and tried to touch base with my international running group as often as I could, but the truth of the matter is that almost everyone I had started training for the Spartan and/or Marathon with dropped out.
At the end of the day, I did it. I felt exhausted at 2km mark, then I had to stop for 3 mins to pee at 7km.
At 21km, my friend Troy brought me dark chocolate.
At 25km, my friend Rob brought me a couple bananas.
Then at 28km, the wind picked up and it started raining.
At 30km Troy brought me a latte and more dark chocolate — it was a game changer! Troy ran with me for the last 12kms until the end, coaching me on my stride and breathing. What a guy.
At 37km, Brian brought me a Avocado/Feta Cheese Sandwich — gross! I took one bite and then spit that puppy right out. Throughout the marathon, I had crazy cravings for avocados and coffee. Now, with avocado in my mouth, I wanted to puke — but that had more to do with the feta cheese than the avocado. Cheese and marathons — no, no, no!
At 41km, I felt dizzy and sore. The last 500 meters, I just said “Yes, yes, yes,” until I got across the line. It was magical for 5 minutes, and then it was painful, wet and cold.
I took the next 2 days off of work, drinking green smoothies and shooting spirulina supplements.
Brian and I are moving to New Zealand for 3 months in December, the same month I will be launching my own business. Just surviving without a steady income should be a big enough goal, but I’ve got some others too.
- Walk/Jog the 30km Routeburn Track in 1 day sometime before the next Marathon. I’ll be happy if we do it in 6-8 hours.
- Run the Shotover Moonlight Mountain Marathon on Feb 22. I’ll be happy if I can do it in 10 hours — I’ll be happy if I don’t die!
- Walk the Milford Track for 3 days starting Feb 26. I just want to do this without crippling pain (I also don’t want to be an annoying girlfriend bitching about my knees, ankles, hips, etc the whole time).
- Fuel with fat: massive cutbacks on grains or sugar (especially gross GU gels!)
My favorite thing to do right now is watch the Mountain Marathon video with the sound turned off and Led Zeppelin’s Ramble On cranked up. Hearing that golden bassline play as the mountains shoot out from each runners feet gives me the same sinking/tingly feeling in my stomach I get in flying dreams.
My training, my business and travel plans are beginning to take form…let the flying dreams commence!