What I learned at the ASICS LA Marathon: Mental Toughness is Not Enough!!
Who remembers this training tip I posted a week before the marathon? “Extended forecast is in and it’s getting hotter by the minute. Yikes. Your heart rate will be higher so everything will feel more difficult and you will deplete resources quicker, so you need to take in more resources( water, carbs & minerals) and possibly slow down. If water starts to taste bad or you feel nauseous or you’ve gone a long time without water and don’t want it, you are probably sodium depleted and suffering from hyponatremia. This can become a dangerous condition. Get some sodium in you fast Like these salt tabs.They can also help with cramping. On hot days I take one every 30 minutes. You also need a minimum of 4 to 8 ounces of water every 10 to 15 min of running. Stay cool and hydrated. Be prepared and you will have a great race. We Got This!!” But did I listen? Not even close. I commend those of you who did, you probably had a great race. It’s been over 3 years since I’ve “raced” a marathon. For the 52, I was running to finish, without a care in the world about my time. It’s so much fun that way. But at LA, dispite the heat, I thought to myself, “I’m good.” I was wrong. I forgot how much fuel you really need. 1.) I need to consume enough carbs, in a form I can digest. There were a couple gels in a little stretchy zippered pouch I was wearing around my waist. It became impossible to get the gels and mineral pills out of there, while running. On the other hand, I don’t enjoy gels. A different form of carbohydrate is something I need to work on finding, and a different way to carry them. 2.) When it comes to big hills early in a race, I need to take them a tad slower, and to start my race slower. I did not do bad, but there was room for improvement early on during the race. 3.) I need to find some enjoyable way to raise my heart rate way up, during training, for short periods of time (over six minutes), to raise my ability level. I was doing some strong faster runs, at the end of my longer runs and I had a lot of volume, I peaked at over 80 miles in a week. But I was probably slightly fatigued after the long run, and may not have raised my heart rate enough to really make an impact on my VO2 Max levels. I probably had about 125 calories the entire race, when you actually need that or more, per hour. I summoned the mental toughness, I dug deep, but guess what? There was nothing there. As soon as I was out of the VA, my pace slowed from about a 9 min mile to a 10:30, I was done. My only hope was that maybe somehow, someway, David would be waiting for me at the finish line and he was. The silver lining that made me realize that in the end, even though I didn’t qualify for Boston, all that really matters in life, is how much you loved. xo