22 September 2013

21.9.2013 - Kiiminki Marathon

Yesteday I ran my second ever marathon.
Kiiminki is the flattest marathon in Finland. There is only 6m of ascent for each round. The course was 4 rounds of 10 549 m.

Preparing for the race:
The preparation for this marathon was not as good as for Stockholm. We were competing in an Olympic distance Triathlon in Kuopio on the 10th of August. One week of "rest" after the race and then I started to run according to a similar plan as before Stockholm.
"Resting week"

Due to the short period before the run, I made some tweaks. The last 2,5 weeks were pretty much exactly as before Stockholm.

One of the run's 3 weeks before, was 90 min @ marathon pace. 
This felt really good. My heart rate seemed to stabilize at around 160. And I was not rested at all at this state. So I was feeling pretty good about my form.
When comparing the last weeks before race day ( before Stockholm vs. before Kiiminki), my pace was higher and heart rate lower at each training session. I was really confident about my sub 3:30 target. The target was 17 minutes faster than in Stockholm, but Stockholm had a lot more ascent and there was 21700 other runners which made running impossible in the beginning. So the target was tough but I still believed it to be possible.. :-)
The last week I was feeling a bit weak. Most of the family already had some small flu, and I seemed to have gotten my piece of it...  I wasn't really sick but... Suddenly my pace and heart rate was worse than in the sessions before Stockholm...;-/
An Orthostatic heart rate test on Wednesday before the marathon got the same result as one test 2 days after Stockholm...;-/
Still confident I could go sub 3:30 :-)

Race day:
I woke up at 7:45 for breakfast.  Then I still had to go shopping for sports drink that I had forgotten. I decided to run with my drinking belt and own drinks. Niina was following me with a bike so it was possible to fill the empty bottles every now and then.

I got some good advice from experts on why I should run slower than the needed average pace of 5 min/km for the first 2-3 kilometers. I promised my self to follow the advice. TAKE IT EASY...
So how did I succeed in that? Not too good. The first kilometer went at 4:47 and the second at 4:50. Exactly opposite of what I was supposed to!
At 16 kilometers I felt the pain in my legs for the first time. Luckily there was only 26+ kilometers left... I knew at this point that it would be really hard in the end, and I needed to take this as a mental exercise for the Ironman. Pain is temporary but quitting is forever...
At the half point I was exactly at the target. At 30 km I was still running at target pace. At 35 there was a clear turn to the worse... Now it was getting really hard. I had to stop once to stretch my legs (can be seen in the curve below). I knew (thought) that if I had gone the first 2 kilometers at 5:10 min/km, I would have been able to go at least 4 km longer at target pace. (Carbohydrate usage is growing exponentially to speed...). Of course this is just a feeling but this was exactly what the experts said would happen if I go too fast in the beginning. The last few kilometers were really painful...

Not feeling so good anymore...

Finally I crossed the finishing line at 3:34:33. I am happy with the result. It was a 12,5 minute improvement on the first marathon. I knew I was not in perfect form the last week and I did some mistakes with the pace in the beginning. 

Next time I will go for the sub 3:30 again :-) Well at least the next time I run just a marathon. As it looks now, my next full marathon will be in Kalmar Ironman August 2014. Maybe I will not go for a personal best there... ;-)

Today I turned 46. I have been walking like a duck the whole day. My legs are way more tired than after Stockholm.
I feel that my running form was much better in Stockholm than in Kiiminki, which should not have been a surprise. Kiiminki was just way easier to run since there was not so many people and the terrain was easy.

Now we will prepare for Rokua MTB in two weeks. After that I promise to take it easy for 2-3 weeks. Then on to prepare for next year...