They say no two marathons are the same, and today I found that out. Of course, I kind of knew that having done 23 previous ones. But there is always more to learn.
Having set myself a plan for the day, which was basically to run comfortably for around a 5 hour marathon, I made the rookie mistake of going out to fast. With the weather nice and sunny and the enthusiasm of it being day 1, I set off in the middle of the group and ran without checking my pace with my Garmin. Just running on feel.
Initially I thought this would be a good way to run. Just listening to the body. Unfortunately, after 3 miles, I checked my watch and saw I was running at a sub 4 hour marathon pace. That wasn't going to happen and I'll pay for that later. It took me until past the half marathon mark (2.02) to settle into where I should've been.
With the sun no longer beating down as hard as the first few hours I worked on my second half strategy. Trying to recover the damage from the first half. This involved walking which I started to do around mile 16-17. A nice quick walk that allowed me to stretch the legs and let them recover. It also created opportunities to chat to some of the other runners as they started to catch and pass me.
That's where my competitive side kicks in. Seeing people go past as I slip down the finishers list. I spent most of that time reminding myself of the challenge. Time is important, doing the 7 marathons is the challenge.
After having a good stretch out and talking with Traviss, I set off into a run walk strategy. With the thinking of not stressing the legs. Unfortunately though, I was starting to get cramp in my calfs. What was frustrating was I had maintained good fluid and had been take my salt tablets. But obviously not enough. See, more learning.
Eventually I got through day one in a pleasing and pretty much in target 5.10. With things to adapt for day two, I was very pleased and would say day one was a success and I was exactly where I want to be.
Although I must say, trying to manage myself across the distance when you are normally up against the clock, rather than this challenge, made it tough. As you can read, it took me a long time to settle into the correct pace.
Any how, day two awaits!