Lessons From My First Marathon

Water

My time on my first 1/2 marathon was 2:39 minutes which is basically a horrible time. The reason that my time was so bad was because I walked somewhere around 3 kilometers of the race. It was my goal to run the entire race, and I failed in that goal. I wanted to finish and not walk.

The reason is that I developed cramps and I started walking. Worse yet, after about 2 kilometers, both my legs cramped incredibly and I fell to the ground in pain. I was so mad at myself. People were yelling at me to get up and keep on stretching so I did. I started walking and finally I decided to finish the race running no matter what. I stopped again and started stretching like a mad man until I felt that I stretched out all the cramps. I finished the last 4 kilometers running and those are the photos taken by the photographers.

I had no idea, but I need to rehydrate. Cramps are a function of fatigue and hydration. I sweat a lot when I run. In fact, it is one of the reasons that I enjoy running but if I want to run for long distances, I have to hydrate during the run or I will cramp. My wife also ran and she did not hydrate much and she did not cramp. The difference is she barely perspires.

I decided to run a test and yesterday (4 days after the 1/2 marathon), I weighed myself before I ran my normal 7500 meter run. I weighed 69.1 kg which is 152 pounds. Aftewards, slightly less than an hour later, I weighed 67.4 kg or 148 pounds. So in less than an hour, I lost 4 pounds and to be honest, I was still sweating madly when I weighed myself.

The most important lesson that I have learned is that I have to learn to hydrate. I mean this literally because it is a skill to drink liquids while running.

Pain

I did experience pain after I ran to my great disappointment. It was a very strange pain. It only happened when I change positions such as standing up. And then it would slowly go away after about 5 minutes. After two days it was all gone but I don’t think it is normal and right now I am betting that the pain is a function of the cramping. Normally, I don’t experience any pain what so ever when I run even long distances.

Training

I think that I over trained because I was nervous about the unknown. Starting in April (over three months before the big event), I ran 7500 kms every day religiously. I missed very few days. I would estimate that I was running around 140 miles per month before the marathon. I don’t need to train that hard, and regardless of my horrible time, I am confident in saying that I am in the best shape of my life and that is a good thing.

Perseverance

One thing that I proud of is that I finished. I was on the ground writing in pain, and somehow I finished. Better yet, I finished running and passing people. In fact, when I was done, I wasn’t even tired. There were many people huffing and puffing. That wasn’t me.

Fun

I got really lucky for my first 1/2 marathon because Rio is one of the most beautiful and popular places for a marathon. There were over 20,000 that particated and over 6000 in the 1/2 marathon. Just getting ready to begin, there is a certain electricity in the air, much like before the start of a big sports event. Then when you are off, it is really exciting. All of these people running together trying to accomplish the same goal.

The sites along the way are spectacular and it was fun to listen to the people from other cities and countries marvel over the city where I live.

Conclusion

I have decided that I am definitely going to run another one. Myrtle Beach has a marathon in February 2012. It should be a lot colder so I should sweat a lot less. I don’t think that I need to train as hard although I need to work on hydration.

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