Friday, January 3, 2014

How I Ran Back to Back Marthons in 2 Days! #NewYear52point4

Here is an overview of my 2013/2014 New Year’s Double Marathon experience!
Allen Double Marathon Results:

Day 1: 4:25

Day 2: 4:44

Total: 9:09 for 52.4 Miles

Statistics: finished in the top 50% for all statistical categories!

Day 1:

Day 1 was pretty simple and routine for me - two cups of coffee with coconut crème and a banana.  During the race, I had a banana and two salt sticks at mile 13, and the same at mile 19 ½.  The race was four out-and-back loops.  While my fastest marathon is a 4:09, I was not planning on “racing” - just keeping the pace strong.  The goal was to finish under 4:30 and feel strong the next day!  The only challenge I had was around mile 21/22; my stomach felt stiff, not like a cramp, but more like bloating.  I wondered if the 2nd banana was too much.  I finished strong, never stopped and had plenty of energy. 

That afternoon I had a “fat” green smoothie (spinach, large avocado, chia seeds, coconut milk and berries blended up in a Vitamix®) and Mexican food for dinner with plenty of grilled veggies.  While I was certainly sore, I would say I felt pretty good overall.

Day 2:

Day 2 was about the same, except I ate the banana closer to race time (I felt a little hungry at mile 8 the day before).  I also had an almond nut butter packet and added extra coconut oil to my coffee so I could top off the fat stores.  During the race I stayed on plan - one banana at mile 13 with two salt sticks.  At mile 19½ I decided to skip the banana, had the salt sticks and grabbed a Honey Stinger instead.  I took in tiny amounts of the Honey Stinger (sugar trickling) every few miles and finished it off at mile 24. 

I felt strong on day 2 up until mile 21 - then I had to run/walk for a few miles.  It wasn’t whether I would finish, but it was more about how long I wanted it to take!  Due to the lack of training for this type of event, I just did not have as strong of a foundation as I would have liked to have had.  I was able to run the last mile all the way in!  While the 4:44 time was not a record (my goal was a sub-5 hour for day 2), it was faster than my first marathon, so I felt pretty good about it not being my slowest race.


In summary, the race went as planned.  I did not plan on running two marathons back-to-back until Dallas cancelled their race in December.  I only had a few weeks to turn my marathon training into double marathon race training.  I am still amazed that I ran both races on three bananas and one Honey Stinger!  Talk about fat-adapted training really working!

Next up is my first 50K Ultra in February.  I think I will play around with Generation UCAN on my next few long runs - I believe it may help spread out the nutrition a little better.

Lessons Learned:

Music mattered on day 2!  By this - I mean I was pickier about the songs that played on my iPhone when it got tough.  Having a support crew would have helped as well as I ran the race both days by myself.  Next time, I will pay one of my kids to be there and to drive me home!!! 

Finally, if you train properly and build a solid training base, you can achieve more than you realize.  Training fat-adapted and building up a strong Zone 2 base will go far and help reduce the risk of injury.  I did get ill for a few days in mid-December; this reminded me that I was not immune to overtraining and needed to back off a bit after the San Antonio Marathon I ran in November.

While I did not have a strict race plan, I did set realistic goals and expectations.  The challenge when charting new ground is to keep it simple and have fun.  Running a few back-to-back days helped before the race and I wish I’d had more time to incorporate that into my training.  I hardly ever run multiple days in a row. 

Why I decided to run this race:

I wanted to qualify for Marathon Maniac (MM) status (three marathons in 90 days)!  In June, I realized I needed to add a 3rd marathon to my race schedule to qualify.  My 50K Ultra was beyond the 90-day window of the first race in San Antonio.  About mid-November, I saw the hardware they were giving away for doing a race on both days so I added the half marathon to my schedule.  Then, after Dallas cancelled due to the ice storm, I was in a bind.  I had already run one marathon and had the ultra two months out, so the best way to accomplish this was to run two full marathons back-to-back!  The upside is - this qualified me for the Iridium level of MM and I got some pretty cool hardware to go with it.

You can read more about Plant Powered No Sugar No Grains fueling (PPNSNG), Zone 2/fat-adapted training, and marathon training on my other blog entries:

 Day 1 & Day 2 Photos:

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