I run the Marine Corps Marathon for time. I run the WDW Marathon for fun. So when I blew MCM and trounced WDW (but no PR because of character stops), I wanted to break down why. Prepare for many Thoughts On The Matter.
NOT REMOTELY MY FAULT: The weather. One can reasonably expect that the Marine Corps Marathon, on October 30, would be cool. The WDW Marathon, in the unpredictable land of Orlando winter, is something of a crap shoot, but one wouldn’t necessary lay down money on real cold. And yet MCM enjoyed a high of 78 degrees and, starting at 7:55am, that meant that the sun was beating down for the hardest, end miles. By contrast, WDW, starting at 5:30am, was coooooold all the way through. I’m not a cold weather runner but even I have to admit that cooler temperatures make for faster speeds. I’m just lucky my lungs didn’t seize up.
Which leads us to…
MOSTLY NOT MY FAULT: Hydration. I say mostly because I suppose I could’ve drunk even more water/Powerade in the days leading up to the race. Other than that, though, this was an extension of the weather. I took one cup of either water and Powerade at every stop during WDW and felt totally fine. During MCM, I took a water AND Powerade at every stop (and sometimes more toward the end) and felt like I was dying. At one point I took a beer shot from a spectator because ANYTHING liquid sounded amazing at the time. It was sunny and I was hot and I just couldn’t suck it down as fast as I was perspiring it out.
MOSTLY MY FAULT: Fueling. The heat also messed with my appetite during MCM. I refused all fuel during the race (although Dunkin’ wasn’t handing out munchkin donuts – what’s with that?). I distinctly remember running past Clif Shots and thinking, ugh, no, not hungry. MISTAKE.
During WDW I took all both Clif Shots offered to me, because mocha is AWESOME and whether or not you think you’re hungry, self, you need the fuel, okay? You’re running 26 MILES. Take the damn Clif Shot.
PRETTY MUCH MY FAULT: Pushing too hard. I was soooo determined to run all of MCM outside of water stops. I knew I could do it because my only real downfall in past attempts was the 14th Street bridge. So I pushed myself to run over that stupid, incline-y bridge, and I was so proud when I did it… only to collapse in on myself a mile or two later. I have a feeling this contributed to the pain I experienced.
By contrast, during WDW I took bathroom breaks and character stops and felt a-okay the whole race, only experiencing pain after when I tried to run for a bus (do NOT do that right after a marathon). I’m not ready to go full-Galloway (totally respect it but intervals interrupt my ability to zone out). But maybe, just MAYBE, allowing myself a break now and again isn’t such a terrible thing.
Incidentally, I don’t regret any of those character stops, even if they did destroy my PR. I think that’s kinda what runDisney’s ABOUT, don’t you?
POSSIBLY MY FAULT BUT I’M NOT SURE: Over-training. I ran a 20-miler before MCM, and then a 15-miler about 3 weeks before. Is that too much? I know this is personal and I’m really not sure. All I did before WDW was a lone 15-miler, also about 3 weeks out but that was the longest run during that training cycle. I suppose you could argue that my muscles retained a lot of the strength from MCM a couple months earlier, and I couldn’t get away with such a light training cycle otherwise. But I do wonder…
NOT REMOTELY MY FAULT: My GPS watch. My stupid GPS watch died during MCM. I only had a few miles left but without the feedback I felt lost, which didn’t help mentally (and I firmly believe something like 50% of a marathon is mental). For some reason my text message alerts didn’t work either, so I couldn’t even extrapolate from pad times.
Luckily, Pat got me a brand new, totally amazing GPS watch for Christmas that I used during WDW and it kicked all known forms of ass and some that haven’t even been invented yet. I didn’t even use half its battery. I looooove it.
Do I wish I could switch my MCM and WDW performances around? Kinda, yeah; sure woulda been nice to get that PR. But hey, you live and you learn. Or so I hear. I’ll try again next time. Speaking of which, anyone run the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon DC? What’s that like? I got a Groupon discount and couldn’t resist… Lucky number seven?
What do you think of my breakdown? Have you experienced any similar issues? What’s the best marathon training advice you ever received?
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