|My first Marathon Run. What an amazing experience!.|
The thought of running such a brutal distance came to my mind about 2 days back. Due to some problem or the other, I was not able to do any running for 4 days. This meant that my legs were fresh. Since I normally run a half-marathon distance every Saturday (21.1 Km), I thought this would be a good opportunity to push myself from the normal routine and see how far I could go. Could I go for 3 hours? (around 30 kilometers) or could I continue running the full Marathon distance?
I have never run for more than 2 hours straight (which is the time it takes me to complete a half-marathon). So a full Marathon would theoretically take me somewhere in the range of 4 hours. To prepare myself, I did a couple of things:
1. Informed my family that I plan to run for very long so that they would not get worried.
2. Carried a 1-liter bottle of Gatorade (I calculated that this will last me for 4 hours).
3. Paid attention to my previous posts and ensured that I was properly dressed.
4. Ensured that I had a good night sleep.
5. Ate a breakfast full of carbs and protein (cornflakes mixed with low-fat milk) to fuel the run and drank plenty of water before hitting the gym.
6. Weighed myself on the weighing machine at the gym (I wanted to see how much weight I would lose by running continuously for 4 hours).
I normally run the half-marathon at 11 kph so I decided to set the pace a bit slower at 10.5 kph. This pace is normally slow for me - but it is still enough to complete the Marathon distance in under 4 hours.
I completed the first 2 hours as expected and I was relatively tired. Everything after this was unknown territory for me - even the music. At one point, a fast tempo number which goes something like "I got a blue pill...Viagra..I am going to pump you UP and DOWN, UP and DOWN" started blasting from my playlist. I continued running.
At the 3:00 hour mark (about 31Km), I was very tired. I have heard of many runners hitting "The Wall" - which is another way of saying that you hit a mental block and can go no further. I did not hit such a wall - but my legs were definitely getting heavy.
It is at this stage that I realized that my Gatorade bottle was almost empty and there was no way that I could continue running for another 1 hour unless I replenish the drink. Luckily for me, one of the gym waiters was passing by and he got me a fresh (and refreshingly cold) bottle of Gatorade so I decided to continue running.
At the 3:30 hour mark, my legs were feeling like pieces of wood. I knew that if I stopped now, I won't be able to continue running. I was hoping nobody calls me on the phone because if I stop to answer the phone, my run would be essentially over. Again, luckily for me, nobody called me.
At the 3:45 mark, my legs were turning from wood to lead and each step was proving to be more and more difficult, but I continued at the same pace. The end seemed so near.
The playlist was getting pretty weird by this time. I suddenly got one of the gospel songs called "Victory to our King" and the lyrics go something like "Oh glory unto you...This battle cry we sing...That victory belongs to him...Victory to our king". Normally, I would have quickly hit the "Next" button since it's very difficult to run to gospel songs, but something about the lyrics struck a chord and I got goosebumps all over my body as the lyrics seemed very fitting at this stage. I think the song is what actually rejuvenated me to complete the remaining 15 minutes.
I finally completed the distance in 3 hours 56 minutes and 46 seconds (more than 3 minutes ahead of my goal). I was exhausted and could hardly walk, but I knew that I had to stretch and cool-down to avoid any injuries.
Finally, I checked my weight on the same weighing machine. I had dropped 3.5 Kilos of weight!!. I understand that most of the weight-loss is water loss but keep in mind that I was drinking continuously during the run (I finished 1.6 liters of Gatorade), so there was definitely a significant loss of body fat (and perhaps some muscle loss too).
When I uploaded my run to the Nike website, I was immediately directed to a video by Marathoner Paula Radcliffe, congratulating me on being the 0.1% of the world population that has completed a Marathon distance. You can watch the video by clicking on this link.
I am tired..but happy of this achievement.