Marathon number 3 is done. A year of work spent over 26.2 miles after false starts, difficult days, disappointments and a spring marathon that didn’t happen due to illness. A year of working with Chevy becoming a better runner, redefining my relationship with movement and forging the connection between my mind and my body. This year has changed everything, and I couldn’t be happier about it. In particular I couldn’t be happier to end it with Bournemouth Marathon, one of my most enjoyable runs to date.
Right from the beginning Bournemouth Marathon was going to be my test ground. A milestone where I could assess my progress and identify what needed more work. Here’s what I learnt, in the style of Mother of All Lists, and in no particular order.
I don’t run for times, but never has that been more true than yesterday, when I left my watch at home and ran on feel alone. It was one of the most amazing experiences ever. It might have been my slowest marathon time, but it was definitely my most enjoyable race to date.
Its totally possibly to run an entire marathon nasal only. And you know what, it feels good! Although the snot bombs are something else.
Taking time to chat to other runners is amazing. Big up Ken who I chatted to through one of the races hillier sections. Another soul who was running watchless and for the joy of it all.
Bournemouth Marathon is hilly. The inclines are serious and you need to be careful on the declines so you don’t fall. I ended up walking the hills because they were so extra. Corey likes to remind me that the route from LA to Las Vegas* is, mostly, uphill. I need to work on my hill runs and leg strength to get it done in the desert.
Mobility every 2 miles pays off. Just some squats and leg swings, but you’ll see the gains in the last few miles. Ignore any unhelpful comments, they just don’t know your genius.
My stomach was a bit jumpy after water in the last few miles, so I alternated speed walking and running. I don’t think it undermined my pace over all. Generally I need to work out how I fuel, I think I may have been taking fuel too often or a little bit of pre-run angst was messing with my tummy. Either way, nutrition is a pillar I need to be more mindful of for performance (might’ve listened to Rich Roll and Dr Rangan Chattergee for a fair amount of this race! The four pillars approach fascinates me, and I reckon can easily be adapted for human performance).
My form was on point for 26.2 miles. One of my goals at the start was to be as strong crossing the finish line as I was at the start line. So proud I was just that.
I’m open minded about whether I run a road marathon again, but I’m not sure it’ll be something I chase. I loved this run and felt good, but it wasn’t always the most engaging experience and when I think about some of the other running I’ve done (trail in Ibiza, exploring Thorney Island) I wonder if using my feet to explore might be more my thing. Who knows, I’m staying open to everything.
Nothing beats coming off a race feeling strong.
I seem to have developed an aversion to physiological pain. You know, the pain you feel when you hold a plank for just five more seconds. It’s the same pain when you push that little bit extra in a marathon. I had more in the tank, but my body was scared. Way back when I didn’t have this issue, but equally my life was very different. My life was pretty painful in itself. Now I’m happy I wonder if my body reacts to that pain differently. To get where I need to be for The Speed Project (super resilient, a bit faster) I need to navigate this. Unpicking the mental is the first step.
Recovery recovery recovery. In the desert I’m going to need to be on my recovery game between laps. Bournemouth has demonstrated the benefits of being strong going into a race, although I hurt s bit today I’m not a total mess. Now to keep moving so I’m sprightly for my 6am shift at work tomorrow!
Mindset is everything. I planned this race meticulously (you should see the chart). I visualised the up and downs (other than having to pass under the finish sign at mile 17, that was cruel of the race organisers), I knew how I’d respond to every issue and I knew why I was running. It’s the last one that’s most important. Being clear on why you’re running a race is what stops you getting swept up in everyone else’s noise, which could result in choices that just don’t serve you. Marathons are a time you can be totally selfish, own that. Shut out the world, focus on you, screw anyone who has anything to say about it (and lap them later). I know that I’m going to need a different approach for The Speed Project, so The next task for me is really nailing why I’m running and getting my mindset clear.
Nothing makes you feel more alive and more in charge of your self than doing the thing. Especially when you’re doing the thing your way.
Chips are everything. Especially when all you’ve eaten is sugar for five hours.
* Oh, and if you’ve not already worked it out, my next big run is The Speed Project in March 2019. If you’ve not come across it before, this video explains the crazy.
** As always massive massive thanks to 361 Europe for supporting me in everything I do.