90% of marathons is half mental. The other half is the course. The Denver Post reported Monday that massively slow times in the 2015 Denver Marathon were due to the hard cement course. Apparently, unyielding cement impacts the legs much more so than asphalt. Who am I to argue? This was a hard run in more ways than one. The fatigue so familiar to the final six miles came to my legs a good ten miles early. I found myself walking 100 meters or so every mile after 20. I nearly completed mile 26 without walking, until I slammed into a lady toting her suitcase in the street. Some marathons are fated to suck. This first photo above is at 4 miles, the photo below is at 23 miles – both on the never-ending river of concrete.
I conveyed my disappointment in my earlier blog on the marathon last Sunday. I can tell you I’ve already forgotten about it. The trick to sports is selective memory. I just completed 8 fast-paced miles in the cold, October rain, and that’s all I remember. Quickly forget the bad runs and move on. Really, all runs are hard. Some are just slower than others. The experience would be lost though if you don’t take away some lessons learned. For me, I will try to avoid cement hike and bike trails in future marathons. I suspect cement is a poor choice for the half marathon distance as well. I struggle enough as it is on asphalt roads. I train exclusively on cinder trails.
Maybe there are other lessons to be learned. I wore my camelback for the third time and as usual drank about 20 ounces. That’s about half what experts say I should drink but I didn’t cramp during the run. I cramped a bit afterward. There’s part of me that thinks I should make an effort to drink more but I drink to thirst and my belly feels full. Not sure if my light fluid intake is an issue. I’m curious if wearing cushy bottom shoes mitigate fatigue much on hard surfaces. I avoid big-bottom shoes because I try not to land on my heel. I like to maintain a short stride. I believe this reduces my incidence of injury. Right or wrong, my legs suffer from ridiculous fatigue in road races. I appreciate comments on this but suspect I just need to experiment. The next event that I know will be on a mix of asphalt and cement (and snow and ice) is the Colder Bolder in December. That’s only a 5K but maybe worth trying some soft shoes to race in. I see a trip to Shoes & Brews in my near future.