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.
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.