The New York City Marathon went very well for me, but there are a few things that could have been HUGE problems, and a few things I’d change for next time.
Potential Huge Problems:
Blisters on my feet.
I was good about not wearing heels the last week or so before the marathon because I didn’t want any extra strain on my calves, but I made a huge mistake: I wore brand-new shoes on Friday. I have really sensitive feet, and almost any new pair of shoes causes me blisters, but somehow I thought these cute shoes would be different. Well, they weren’t, and by the end of the day Friday, my toes and heels were covered in blisters. I coated my feet in Vaseline before the race, covered the blisters with Band-Aids, and hoped for the best. I had so much Vaseline on my feet that I felt my feet slipping around in the first mile, but this Vaseline saved me.
Not eating enough before…or eating too much.
Four marathons, 20+ half-marathons, and I still struggle with achieving the balance of having eaten enough to fuel me well but not eating too much and feeling sick. The night before the race, I went to Patsy’s in Chelsea and had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I tried to be really cognizant of my hunger cues so that I didn’t eat too much. Well, I got home and felt sick to my stomach, though that could have been nerves.
In that same vein, I struggle with whether I’m eating enough or too much race morning. Most of my long runs, I’ve felt really, really hungry towards the end, and that always makes me nervous that I’m underfueled. For my 19 miles at the Runner’s World weekend, I had a PIcky Bar and a half and had to make a bathroom stop. And felt hungry towards the end. I decided marathon morning that 1.5 bars + a banana would be good. Looking back, I totally could have gone wild and crazy and had that second half of a bar. I felt a little bit hungry for real food around mile 10, and this made me nervous that I’d underfueled, but I stuck to my 3 Shot Bloks every 5 miles plan, supplementing it one half of a banana around mile 19 and another half around mile 21. I had a full banana during the marathon. Best marathon ever.
That New Bra
This is so weird, but I wore a new-ish regular bra last week, and when I took it off to go to sleep, I had some serious chafing. From a regular bra. Apparently the underwire had seriously dug into me and chafed me like crazy. Um, what?? I was really nervous that this would get continually irritated during the marathon, but I Vaseline-d the crap out of it, and hoped for the best.
That T-Shirt That Chafed Me Before
My race shirt was the same cut shirt I wore for the Grete’s Half that chafed the crap out of me. This made me a bit nervous, but I’d worn this same shirt for Marine Corps the year before, and it was fine, so I wore and hoped for the best, but still had a bit of fear in the back of my mind that it would chafe me again.
What I’d Change for Next Time
I didn’t have to stop to pee during the race, so I am happy I did not over hydrate. I brought some salt in a Ziploc and had it pre-race and had some Nuun before the race. For the past month or so, I’d been planning on bringing a handheld with Nuun in it and probably ditching it at some point on the course. I didn’t want to drink Gatorade, because I was afraid of it messing with my stomach, but this means I didn’t replace any lost electrolytes over the course of 26.2, except for a little Gatorade I took around 21-22 because I was hoping for a magic boost in those rough miles. That was also the last time I took water, because I didn’t want to lose a second. I ended up having quite a cushion, so I could have taken a little bit of time to be smarter and hydrate more in those last few miles, and I’d definitely carry a handheld with Nuun so that I could take in some electrolytes that I know won’t affect my stomach.
All training cycle, I’d been using Margarita Shot Bloks or Honey Stingers. I didn’t think about getting fuel until Saturday afternoon, when I realized I didn’t have any Shot Bloks or Stingers. I went to the expo again on Saturday to say hello to people and was too overwhelmed by the busy expo to spend more time looking for the margarita flavor. I’d picked up some black cherry ones that morning, and decided they’d be fine, and that I’d rather get off my feet then spend time stressing out about getting the margarita ones. In the future, I will make sure I have the margarita ones, as the salt content is so, so clutch.
Have you ever had a situation you thought would be a huge problem during a race that was just fine?