Thoughts after my first marathon

I would like to group my understanding of my 5 Hours 16 minute finish in the Cayman Islands Intertrust Marathon two groups - what methods worked for my training and what did not…

What worked?

  • Establishing discipline have been a game changer - for the past two and a half months. But I would admit that I did cheated on several occassions like drinking or skipping some training but without a strong will, I could have not dedicated myself to this daunting task reinforcing my endurance enough to finish the marathon.
  • The first highlight of this marathon is the ketogenic diet. I kind of promote the keto diet well enough to support my daily activities (namely exercising and insanely high cognitive load accounting work) but never got the chance to really stress test this recommendation. After finishing the race - I could fairly say that overall energy wasn’t a problem even for running 26 miles…I could have finieshed it in 4 hours but I would explain later why I was not despite not having energy issues.
  • Listening to music seemed to work well for me in this stint, instead of podcasts which may have caused me to think more…or may be I’ll read more on this to parse my current understanding..
  • Cross training - Strength conditioning, Cycling and running definitely improved my tolerance to pain. I would not be able to endure the worst parts of the race if not for my dedication to integrating different forms of exercises.
  • I find that pouring cold water to my body somehow relieved my body from fatigue, pain and heat. I started doing this when I figured that my shirt could have been different as I should have worn a non moisture retaining one. Though the drench in cold water worked, I should check the science behind it first before applying it to the next race.

What did not work?

  • There are some parts of the training that I lacked especially the leg strengthening. Yeah its fair enough that I haven’t really ran a marathon or have done an equally strenous activity yet it was astonishing to find out that I have a really weak legs. This should be a good training focus for my next marathon.
  • Pain management became an issue as well. Starting mile 16, I started to feel that my legs are going to have a sprain. I did have a panic mode for the next miles up to mile 19 - walking the entirety of it for 45 mins approximately. The decision I figured for myself after debating and drinking my salt water this time was to risk the pain or out will the pain - and to be honest I still could not understand how I was able to manage the pain from mile 19 to 23. I should have some kind of a deeper understanding of this field the next time I join a similar race.
  • I could have better sleep cycles this period - chasing 9 hours instead of 5 to 7 hours.
  • Things I should not have brought: sunglasses, headlight and some coffee and citrus packs (provided by Intertrust Cayman in the running pack)

Well, This is a great summary of it but yeah it was an experience recommended for the strong hearted people looking for challenges. There were only 44 people who have finished the race - a tiny percentage of people from a population of approximately 50,000+. I guess belonging to this tiny group of crazy people is such a remarkable achievement in itself. Yet, I still feel I could have finished much faster if I decided to endure pain instead of being on panic mode in mile 16. Another great reflection on this race is that all of my understanding regarding human biology and is applying to myself are working well. But yeah, can’t wait to join the next marathon next year!

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Posted December 07, 2020

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