22:14 Tue.
6 Oct, 2020

Path to marathon

12:00 am
12:00 am

When I was young, I competed a lot in orienteering. It’s basically a cross-country running, where you have to find your own path through forests, shrubs and other nasty stuff and do it as quickly as possible. Toward the end of the high school I slowly stopped competing, but did manage to get quite good at it. Last year, at one point I found out that Jakob did couple of orienteering competitions each year and somehow persuaded me to join him at Lipica Open cup, which is one of the biggest cups in Slovenia or rather Europe. For reasons beyond anyone I registered in the toughest division and not surprisingly finished last, although at least I finished, there were few people who got disqualified or DNF, out of about 120 people competing in my division. I actually felt quite proud to at least finish, the course was really hard, and I was competing against professional orienteers and Belgium special forces (for some reason).  Anyway it was fun getting lost in the forest again after so long.

Me and Jakob after finishing first day of Lipica open.

For a couple of years  I wanted to finish a Marathon. My first goal was to finish Mali kraški maraton (halfmaraton in Sežana/Lipica), which is organized toward the end of March. It actually went quite well, I finished it under 2h, which was my goal and didn’t feel completely dead after it.

Finishing my first half-marathon. I was quite happy with the time, the goal was under 2h.

So the next step was full marathon in end of October. I needed to step up my training quite a bit, although now that I think about it, didn’t approach it really well. What I did  was trying to make as many runs per week as I could, usually at the pace I felt comfortable. Now I know that was not the best approach, or at least not as efficient as it could be. Nevertheless, I did manage to finish my first full marathon at Ljuljana’s marathon in October.

My first full marathon done! Very happy with my time.

So how does it feel to run a marathon? Well, despite sleeping really poorly that night the first 20 km went by pretty well. At kilometre 25 I started to feel my legs a bit, but it was still manageable. I was running with the pace runner for finishing just under 4 hours, the problems was that the girl was running a bit faster, I actually couldn’t follow her until the end, but since I finished 3 minutes sooner, I can only imagine that she was a minute or so faster as well, which is not totally ok. Anyway, the really suffering came at around kilometre 30, everything started to hurt, I gained small blisters on my feet at kilometre 35, and every step afterwards was a battle within myself. The only reason I did not stop was because I would then have to run it again one more time. However, toward the end there were a lot of spectators cheering us up, so basically they carried me toward the end. After finishing for a couple of minutes all I could do was lie down and try not to puke, everything hurt, I was thirsty and tired, thank god my dad was there, so he could bring me stuff and help me recover. Strangely after about half an hour I was more or less recovered. I, on purpose came to the competition area with a bike, so I could stretch my legs a bit on the way home to prevent cramps and to recover a little faster.

So in summary, I managed to go from  barely running  3 km to running 42 km in about a year.  I’m not sure how many km I did toward the end per week, cos fitbit sucks, but I think I did about 40-50km / week in last four months Not that much. Before the race I had a week of carbon loading, with pasta without any sauces and during the race I ate 5 gels, 1 every 5 km starting at km 15.

After arriving home, instead of putting my legs up in the air and resting, some of my friends came over, and we had something that could only be described as a baking party. Out of 8 people, 3 of us ran that day. What is funny about it is that we were the last man or rather women standing that day, struggling with the baking late into the night. All in all it was a very interesting and fulfilling day, the party at the end was also super fun although I don’t think I will repeat it anytime soon.

So what were the results? Well ….

I was so frustrated with the cake tho, that we redid it next weekend and I must say, not running a marathon before really makes a difference.