Supposedly I am in the photo. I am not able to find myself. My girlfriend, the photo’s author, says she knows where am I. By the bye, the blue balloons are the pacemakers: very experienced runners that set a pace. Usually to follow a pacemaker is the best way to ruin your race: if he fails in his pace, you will fail, too. Fortunately I chose not to follow my pacemaker today…
The organization did not publish the preliminary results yet so it is my own time (as my clock as myself are very experienced, we could miss a couple of seconds). When crossing the finish line my clock shown 3 hours 45 minutes and 31 seconds. I have met my goal! Yeah! I did it! Great!
I have improved my personal best by 4 minutes and 33 seconds. My previous personal best was on 2009 with the same course. I prefer to forget the 2010 and 2011 marathons. This result ensures a faster recovery.
I am happy. I am very happy indeed! But those 31 seconds…
I run my eight marathon tomorrow. I want to improve my personal record on five minutes. I already wanted to improve it on my last marathon and I was not able to do it. It is easy: I must run each kilometer in 5 minutes and 20 seconds. My training pace is under 5′/km. My pace in the latest 10 km race was under 4’30″/km. My personal record in a half marathon is 1h43′. According to these numbers, training tables and tests, I can do it.
So, what is the problem then? I have to maintain that race pace during 42 kilometers and 195 meters (or 26.2 miles). The initial 10 kilometers are easy. I run between 10 and 14 kilometers in each training at least. Even the first half marathon is easy. The main problem arises around the 30-34, the glycogen starts to run low and your body does not obey your brain. We call it the wall. You try to control that moment, you have an arsenal of things that you can apply, but you never are really ready for it. I have seen Paula Radcliffe cried like a child in the wall. Moreover, your brain starts to generate all kind of negative thoughts and you perceive pain in almost all your body. Your brain is lying to you (or not?).
The shoes, watch and the rest of the equipment is ready. I have also decided where to take the glucose gels. And the most important, we have decided the points in which my girlfriend and me will meet: each one of her smiles during the race refuels my deposits for several kilometers more.
All kind of positive thoughts are welcomed. I will need them.
I run my seventh marathon next Sunday. I am running a marathon and several minor races (half marathons, 10K, etc.) each year in the last few years. The training has been going much better than the past year. If we have a favorable day (i.e. neither too much heat, nor wind, rain, hail or snow) perhaps I could improve my personal record.
My personal record… It is a funny thing, isn’t? My goal is not to win the race or get a prize in my category; it is just improve my personal record. The other participants are not rivals, they run their own races. We run alone, we run against ourselves. Each one of us would be very, very happy if we could meet our goals and improve just some seconds. We are training very hard for three or four months, we are averaging around 70 km per week, we use our time of rest and the time that we share with family and friends just for improving a bunch of seconds.
I already did it six times and I will do again this year and each year while I can dress my running shoes and go out. Perhaps it is hard to understand. Surely you must be a marathoner to do it. Murakami tried to explain it in an essay some years ago.
But today I didn’t run alone. I shared 5km with other people around the world along the river Manzanares. Perhaps some of them were also training for a marathon or perhaps they were running 5km for first time. It doesn’t matter. A big thank you, WordPress!