Hello out there! I would like to apologize for being a lazy blogger in September. I was at home in Canada and having a great time and was barely on my laptop! I would like to write a post about my time in Canada (including and AMAZINGLY fun race weekend! 5K on Friday and Half Marathon on Sunday) but now there’s some serious business to get to.
I want to write about it while it is still fresh in my mind. Today was the Sparkasse Dreilaender Marathon, the “three country Marathon” that begins in Germany, goes through Austria to Switzerland, and then back to Austria. I live in Vienna, Austria so this counted as an “away” Marathon because me (and my wonderful boyfriend who was my pack-mule/photographer today) took a 9 hour overnight train to get here two days ago. We had a really nice time in the days leading up to the Marathon – it is beautiful here!
This morning my alarm was set for 6:50 but I was awake by 6:30. I got up and had a nice coffee and did some yoga to relax. The weather was brutal. Pouring rain and really cold and windy, it was supposed to clear up about an hour into the race (which it did) so I was happy to be able to meet my pack-mule at KM10 and give him my coat. 🙂
I was feeling great at the beginning of the race. Very nervous and doubting the quality of my training (Had I done enough?) but that’s all normal. The race started off at 11:10. I was starting near the back because I had put in a slow finishing time (I think this is a huge mistake. When you start at the back you will always be in the back, unless you suddenly shave like 4 mins off of your tempo.. in a Marathon..)
I was feeling pretty good for the first 10-12KM. I was taking it easy, making sure to take sips of water from my handheld water bottle and chew on my Clif Shot Bloks at regular intervals. At KM10 the Quarter-Marathoners were divided from the group, which thinned it out a lot. By KM15, the Half-Marathoners were divided from the group and I was alone. I could see one guy in front of me, way ahead, but that was it. The next 18KM were absolutely brutal.
The scenery was amazing. Alpine Mountains, Forest trails, small villages with great crowds, beautiful lakeviews. It couldn’t have been any better. And the “gimmick” of crossing into new countries was every bit as cool as I thought it would be.
At around KM28 I was having regular thoughts of calling it a day. I was third last in the Marathon. There was only a woman behind me who was catching up quickly, and a man who was walking slowly. Behind him were the “end cars”: a guy in a van and an ambulance transport type van. The lady caught up to me at one point and was extremely nice, but I couldn’t make conversation. I was about to puke my guts out (sorry). She offered to walk with me, but I couldn’t even keep up walking at this point, so she continued.
At KM30 I doubled over and puked out everything that was in my belly. I couldn’t run for more than three steps without stabbing pains in my sides. At the pace I was going, I would’ve needed two more hours, and I couldn’t imagine continuing like that, especially being the very last person. (The walking guy had dropped out)
At KM33 the car pulled up and asked how I was doing and I knew I was done. He told me to go sit in the ambulance van and they would drive me to the finish. I was very very frustrated and the tears were flowing at that point. But I knew that’s not how I wanted to finish my first marathon. It wasn’t even running any more, it was shuffle shuffle stop bend over, hands on knees, walk walk, shuffle shuffle, stop, bend over, hands on knees.
So my first Marathon was a DNF (Did Not Finish). It was a DNF after being in Last Place. These are every first time Marathon runners worst nightmares, and they both happened to me today and yes it was pretty horrible, but you know what? I am completely happy with my experience today. It gives me room for improvement and inspiration to try again. I was so close today, I know that I am absolutely capable of finishing a Marathon. When things don’t go according to plan, work on what you can change. For my next Marathon (yes there will be a next) I will be changing my training strategy. (More on this later)
For now, I am (as they say here in Vorarlberg) zufrieda. Content with my effort today, and inspired to work hard in the future. (After some much deserved rest, of course)
It was still 33KM, through three countries in over 4 hours and thirty minutes. And I’m zufrieda with that.