Friday, September 18, 2009

Lehigh Valley Marathon - Post-Race Report

My family and friends came over as soon as I crossed the line and sat down. I had asked my family to pick up some soft pretzels because I thought it would calm an upset stomach. Turns out my stomach was good the whole time and I didn't need them. But, man, did they taste good, and they were a nice combination of carbs and salt, so that's never bad.

I stretched out a bit and changed my shirt. I was still in shock from my finish and that I had broken 4 hours. And the amazing part about it was that I was feeling so much better at 4 hours than I did at the end of the New Orleans Marathon after 5 hours. I was pretty lucid and was able to answer questions and figure out what I was doing. It was a nice feeling.

We hung around a bit and I walked a bit and then we headed back to my friend's place. I got a shower and we were finally able to start replacing those calories I burned--my favorite part. I ordered a huge cheese steak with a double slice of sicilian pizza as my appetizer. The waitress didn't even bat an eye when I asked for it.

And I had some much needed beer and got to relax a bit and bask in my day. I was tired and sore, but it was nothing like the last marathon. I could move and carry on a conversation (between bites, that is). Clearly the miles I had put in had helped immensely.

That said, here's what worked well:
  • Family/friends at all exchange points
  • I used my iPod this time, which was a great distraction in the later miles.
  • I didn't use the liquid GUs, but rather the gummy chewy GUs. They kept my stomach from being upset, I think.
  • Loved the gummi bears as a fun distraction.
  • Started at the right pace and kept it the whole time.
  • The course was fantastic. 70% of it was shaded and it was very little concrete, so we weren't getting the constant pounding. Anytime we could have gone up a hill, we didn't.
  • I weighed 10 pounds less for this marathon than the last one. That's 10 pounds of less pressure on my body over 26.2 miles, which I think was a big factor.
  • I put a lot more miles in and a lot more long runs in, despite my hatred of plans.
  • I cross-trained by biking (even doing 35 miles the weekend before the marathon). It helped strengthen my muscles and kept me from constantly pounding the roads.
  • Sneakers were pretty new as I purchased a new pair about 15-20 miles earlier and were the same pair as before.
As for lessons learned, I honestly can't think of any. Things went 100% better this time than they did the last time. The course was excellent and the organization couldn't have been any better. It had all the charm of a small-town race with big-city marathon organization. My sincere compliments to the organizers.

One somewhat open question, I guess, is if I can do sub-4 marathon without a training plan, what could I do with a training plan? That's a topic for another day, but a good one nonetheless, Petra.


Mel-2nd Chances said...

sounds like you did everything right with the non-plan... :)

Marlene said...

Thanks for sharing all the insights. I'm planning to bring music along this time. Hopefully it will offer a distraction when I need it.

Amazing that you felt so much better this time around. I think that is the true testament to your fitness.

ShirleyPerly said...

Still amazed by the huge improvement in your race time, esp. considering difficulty of this course with all that climbing you did. Sounds like you did a lot of things right!

Petraruns said...

Just sayin' Greg... It's amazing that it got so much easier. Don't underestimate the impact of your cross training. Also I think that there is a cumulative benefit from just training for longer - you do get better. As for not feeling sick during the race - good for you for figuring out nutrition. Looks like I'm going back to the drawing board for that one. Still - for the time being just enjoy. Any future plans racing-wise?