Every race is a learning experience for me – usually because I make a lot of ridiculous mistakes. The best thing I can do is identify where I went wrong and make sure I don’t do the same thing next time. For the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon, I took into account all of the lessons I learned in Baltimore. I still made mistakes and I will always have room for improvement.
What did I do wrong at RNR USA?
- I started too fast. I KNOW that I should never start a race too fast. I KNOW I shouldn’t get caught up in the excitement at the starting line and go out to fast. But I did it anyway. I knew I was doing it and I didn’t try hard enough to slow down because I felt fine. I don’t have any tattoos, but I’d considered getting a huge one on my arm that says “slow the eff down” before my next marathon. Maybe I’ll just have it say “pace yourself”…maybe it should just be a temporary tattoo come to think of it.
- I needed salt. The heat on race day was unexpected and unfortunately out of my control. I did my best to stay hydrated, but it wasn’t enough. I had horrible cramping in my sides. Per Kara‘s recommendation, I bought some salt stick pills to keep with him if I do long runs in the heat. I was lucky that the TNT coaches had salt for me when I needed it.
- I need to not forget things. Forgetting my KT Tape for my knee sucked. My knee was pretty achy for about the first 5 miles then I stopped noticing it. I survived without it, but it would have been better for me to have it on.
What I did I do right? Believe it or not, I did a few things right!
- I wore my hydration belt. I was so glad to have my own fluids. Because of how thirsty I was during the race, it was really nice to have my own bottles to drink from whenever I needed them. It was really easy to refill them at water stations.
- I labeled my gels. I have never done this, but decided to on a whim while getting all my gear together before the race. I didn’t want to have to think about which gel to take at what mile (I like to alternate non-caffeinated and caffeinated). I took my first gel at mile 6, second at 11, third at 16, and fourth at 21. That method worked well for me.
- Just like after the Baltimore Marathon, I ran again 2 days after the race. The first post-marathon run is tough and certainly not pretty, but it makes a world of difference. After that run on Monday, my soreness was pretty much gone. I ran 6 miles on Wednesday and 6 miles on Thursday and felt great and back to normal for both of those runs. Wearing my compression socks the afternoon and the day after the marathon also seems to help in my recovery.
- I PRed! I wanted a PR so badly and I knew I could beat my previous PR of 4:54. I had high hopes of making it closer to the 4 hour mark, but that just wasn’t realistic this time for so many reasons. I’ll get there one day.
I was supposed to run a half marathon this weekend, but unfortunately due to some logistical reasons, we won’t be able to make it to the race. Lots of other races coming up this Spring though!
What lessons have you learned from races?