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Learn : Marathon Story  

Running Background:

marathon photoI decided to run a marathon because I have ran several half-marathons over the past few years and I just wanted to know what my body could do and what it would be like. Plus my girlfriend gave me a vote of confidence and told me I needed to do at least one.

Training:

I trained for 4 months following a training program from Off N running specialty running store. It is a 16-week plan where you do your maximum run for the week on the weekend which is when most races are. I also joined up with a weekend running group in Greensboro, North Carolina. Most of these people had ran several marathons. I joined them through Off N Running. Also they averaged a 9 minute pace. They were very supportive of me. During my training I averaged 40 miles per week.

The best training advice I received was to do at least one 20 mile run a few weeks before the race. I didn't receive any bad advice. Some advice I should have listened to more was to ice my knees down more often after long runs.

Race Day:

This race was very well set up. It is in a state park and the race officials had reserved a camp site for the runners if they chose. I took advantage of this and enjoyed the experience. The morning events went very smoothly. There were 350 runners which was just the right amount for a trail race. I never felt people were clustered together. The weather was cloudy and 50 degrees. Perfect in my opinion for running. The course was very scenic. Good aid stations with lots of volunteers cheering runners on. These were not mulched paths but wide enough in most areas where I never felt unsafe. Some rocks and small roots. I tripped on roots three times and fell once. Nothing bad just scrapped my hand as I came down. I never feel like I have trained well enough but during the race I realized I had done a good balance of road and trail training during the past 4 months. I will probably run more weekly miles and do a few more trail runs in order to get my time down. The fall color was great. The race medal was large and had good detail in it. Everyone was helpful and friendly. I decided just minutes after I crossed the finish line that I will definitely do this race again next year. I finished in 5 hours 23 minutes, but with a beautiful course like this it didn't seem that long.

Recovery:

My recovery wasn't too bad. I get headaches during very long runs. So I had a couple Aleve in my pocket and took them during the race. I also took one after the race. I ate bananas and drank a lot of juice the night afterwards.

Running Gear Recommendations:

Mizuno Wave Ascend Trail Running Shoes
I am partial to Mizuno anyway plus these trail shoes have sausage laces which are ribbed and NEVER come untied. They have lots of support for trails.
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Wright Cool Max Socks
These socks are lightweight and really help prevent blisters on my feet.
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Hammer Gel
I like this product. The small packs are light and have a lot of nutrients in them. I can tell an energy boost soon after I take them. I have tried several varieties (raspberry, Mocha, Watermelon) are very tasty.
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Tips/Words of Encouragement:

Do it for the fun of it. Enjoy the experience of training because whether you realize it or not this 2-4 months of training is providing memories no one can take away from you. Because of family, job, health you may never have another opportunity to do this. Enjoy every day, sunrise to sunset. And if it is a 4 month marathon training, enjoy the changing of the weather from week to week.

Don't think about the race day too much it can be overwhelming. Focus on each day, each mile and each progression your body is making. This kind of training really lets you get to know your body and its limits.

Plans to Run Another:

I'm planning to run another marathon because The Medoc Trail Marathon was a great experience. Running gives me a goal to focus on and I will definitely run more half and full marathons. It keeps me in great shape and is very relaxing for me.

For my next marathon, I'll eat bananas during my training runs to keep from cramping up later during the day/evening. And, I'll try to run more miles during the week if my body lets me. Along with doing a few more runs on trails.

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