Johnstown Marathon elevation:
It’s been three days since running my first marathon in Johnstown. A couple of observations:
I had four gels at 13, 16, 20, and 24. I drank about 32 oz of souped up Gatorade. I never felt thirsty or hungry. I felt a bit flat going into 24, but at that point there was no way I was gearing down. Looking at my splits, I don’t see any time evidence of what I was feeling. I remember coming into my crew at 24 saying “everything hurts” - something I swore I would not do, but just then someone passed me that I had passed only a few moments before, and I hustled out as quickly as I could. I let that person drag me through the next mile, giving myself time to regain control. It is weird how things ebb and flow during a race - I may hurt right now, but things also quickly change in just five minutes.
I can’t say enough about sticking to the plan. For this race everyone starts at once: 5k, 10k, half and full 26.2 all go out at the gun. You don’t know if the guy next to you is on pace for a 5k or the whole deal, so I think that highlights the importance of knowing and sticking to how you trained. I continually thought I went out too slow, and I kept looking at my watch’s pace timer and fretting. True to plan however, I passed so many people from 16 on, where they just didn’t have any gas in the tank to challenge me. The momentum I built by using this strategy is fantastic as well - imagine how discouraging it would be to be passed and know there is no energy to keep pace. I was also happy that I stepped up my hill training in the final run up to this race. There aren’t a lot of inclines in this race, but any bump after a significant number of miles is a great place to make make up time. I literally sprinted the final half mile and I wouldn’t have wanted to come in any other way.
So what happened after the race?
I waited about an 90 minutes before I showered. Instead I elevated my legs and iced my ankles and hips for just a bit and relaxed. A quick cool shower felt great, as did warm clothes. I was cold and overall fairly woozy for about three hours after finishing. I wasn’t hungry and only a bit thirsty, but I pounded a few glasses of chocolate milk. I probably should have forced myself to eat something much sooner than the pizza I finally had hours after the race. Once I ate, I was fine. I drove the two hours home later that night and was feeling really good.
My feet did surprisingly well - one small blister on my big toe that has since disappeared. A friend highly recommends Injinji toe socks to mitigate this entirely - I’m going to have to try a pair in the coming weeks. I was really happy with my shoes (Newton Gravity) - they were super comfortable the entire race and I had no reason to really even think/worry about how things were going down there. Sadly, I don’t think they will transfer over to the trail very well as they do seem to become a little slippery on wet leaves. So, the search for a good trail shoe for me begins…
Race day plus one was excellent. Very little soreness or aches. I walked at noon and cut the grass later - it felt good to stretch a bit.
Race day plus two was a pretty sore day. I walked and jogged for a bit and I felt much better as a result. In my experience, two days afterwards is the true test of a hard workout.
Race day plus three I have been ravenous; I’ve been so hungry, it’s not normal. Aches have subsided quite a bit, however. I walked a bit and even jogged without pain.
I wore calf compression sleeves every waking hour since the race, and I have experienced no pain there - I am a firm believer in compression and elevation for recovery. My aches are in the upper quad/hips section as this race had some steeper descents. I’ve started each day with chocolate milk. I have been getting up and stretching/walking and taking calls whilst standing as well. All of this is seeming to help move things along quickly.
Tomorrow I plan to return to the trail for up to 10 mile tempo run, pacing my buddy who is running in NYC next month. We’ll see how well I can hang and adjust on the fly.