Written on October 15:
I just finished my 3rd marathon at the 3rd continent and I surprisingly PRed!!!
I don’t know what happened but I was averaging 9min/mile in the 17 miles and felt really strong. Usually people say you shouldn’t go faster than planned pace (which was 10min/mile), yet I am very in tune with my body and I know I wasn’t pushing too hard too early, so I just kept going!
Okay… let’s rewind a bit.
I arrived Melbourne on October 10 evening. Did some sightseeing on October 11, and very little on October 12 to be fully rested. I didn’t run for 3 days.
On day of the race, I didn’t sleep very well although I tried to sleep at 8:30pm local time which is 5:30pm Manila time. Woke up around 3am (midnight Manila time) and couldn’t sleep more. It’s not unusual to not sleep well the night before the race due to the anxiety/excitement. I did sleep well the previous two nights so my body was rested. I got up around 4am, drunk my coffee, went to the bathroom and prepared everything. At 5am, I had a small bowl of oatmeal with PB2 and left the apartment. The train ride was super fast, just one stop with many other runners, so it was easy to just follow them to the race place.
It was quite cold in the morning 9C so I hold on my bag until 6:30am where I dropped the bag but still had a throw away shirt and scarf. Everything was well organised
Since there’s no corrals, I place myself close to 4:30 hrs pacer thinking that would be my best shot given my time last year in Tokyo of 4:38
By mile 5 I’ve past 4:30, 4:20, and 4:10 pacers. I was averaging 9min/mile. For few minutes I wondered if I should slowed down and save energy for the second half. But I felt good, very strong, I was mostly breathing with my nose and I wasn’t feeling fast HR, so I kept going. It was only after 18 miles I started to slowed down gradually but mentally I knew I was going to PR today, it was just a matter of by how much. Around mile 20, my left ankle felt some discomfort/pain, something that I never felt during this training cycle, maybe an old injury last year. I slowed down a bit hoping it goes away. It did eventually by mile 24/25. I was still feeling good. Compared to last two races, I felt the strongest today. No need to walk, no pit stop, no upper body fatigue.
I kept going and going thinking how fortunate I am to have the chance to run wherever I want, the opportunity to run in this beautiful city, to have the support of my family especially my husband who’s taking care of the girls to let me come here alone. I am conscious that most people don’t have the opportunity to do this, so I am super grateful.
My watch registered 26 miles finally. I knew we would finish at MCG but the entrance was not on sight yet. Then I past 26.2 miles and finally saw runners going in and then the sign saying 400 meters to go. Oh boy… that means the course is 500m longer than 26.2 miles. It was great to run the last 400 meters inside the stadium with people cheering. I felt a glimpse of being a real athlete.
I finished 4:11:31. taking out the extra 0.3 miles, it was 28 min faster than Tokyo, and 90 seconds faster than San Diego. Wooo!!! I think if I train properly with a coach, I can do sub-4 hours next year. 😀
Nutrition: I had oatmeal 2 hrs before, one fig bar 30 min before start, then 3 gels (mile 5, 9, 12, 15, 18, 22 in halves), electrolyte water, water. I couldn’t have more than 3, it would make me nauseas if I kept gulping it, so I just had Gatorade the last 5km. The weather was perfect so I didn’t sweat too much thus no need to drink +4 liters of water as I did during training run Manila.
The whole experience felt surreal. How was it even possible to hold to 9min/mile for 17 miles straight was beyond me. I didn’t run that pace during my entire training cycle so it either meant I didn’t train properly (which is very likely) or this is my lucky day. It made me realize that my potential is immense!
Two things were different this time:
Being Vegan: I’ve been vegan for 20 months now, and to be honest I wasn’t sure how it would contribute/hurt my run. Although I did notice that I recover faster than before. But since my training runs were slower, I had my doubt if being vegan weakened me. The verdict is out… veganism serves me very well!!! mentally, physically and for marathon running! 🙂
Train low: for the last couple months, I’ve been doing IF few days a week and always run fasted even for 60-90 min of long runs. The reason I started was that I was intrigued by the hype of IF so I wanted to try it; I’ve been snacking more lately which didn’t make me feel good so I wanted to cut it down, back to whole food vegan, and eat more nutritious meals. I liked it overall but I also listened to my body, whenever I felt I needed to eat, I ate. The advantage of IF is that during this training cycle I run 90% of the time fasted, which helped my body to be fat adapted, and faster response to glucose during the race. I just felt so strong!
I think another factor that helped during this race is that I came alone. Although it is super nice to have the family to travel with me for such an important race, the fact that they are here, especially the girls, I am expected to care for them, entertain them, thus not as much as rest/flexibility as I am alone. Maybe next year I bring Tony alone and leave the girls with grandma 🙂
I like Elliud’s saying: passion is a choice. You need to choose to be great. It’s not a chance, it’s a choice.
Few months ago I thought I’d never be able to run faster, faster like to BQ, now I think that’s possible if I put my mind to it and train seriously! So the next day I texted Tony: I think I can BQ if I train hard enough. He responded: Yes! Go for it! 🙂 That’s why I love him so much. hahahah…
I think I’ll get back to have a coach, give myself 5 years to reach the goal! Oh… I’m already so excited! BQ is the ultimate goal of any marathoner and I can see myself doing it! 🙂