That was supposed to be my 10th marathon. And my hopes (as usually) were high :). I wouldn't settle for anything less than a new PB...
It didn't start so well. I arrived to Budapest on Friday and it was really hot. I mean, like summer hot. And when I arrived to the hotel it only got worse -- the room was sooo bloody hot; it was like an oven! Now that I think about it I should have tried to change rooms. I didn't. And I payed for it dearly as I hardly got any sleep that night.
Next day -- business as usual, picking up the starting number, working out the logistics, stuffing oneself with pasta... and trying to go to bed early. Thankfully it kinda worked and I even managed to get a decent night of sleep.
The race was starting at 10 so I woke up, ate breakfast and got myself to the starting line without too much hurry. The starting sections were for the grabs, that is one could go wherever one wanted. I thought this would never work. It did. Although I felt a bit bad that I went to 3:30-4:00 min/km section (clearly way beyond my capabilities), but then it turned out to be the right thing to do (apparently I was not the only one).
Because of the weather I knew I should try to take it easy. So I started aiming at 3:12-3:13. And I thought that's what I was doing but my post-race analysis (now turbo-charged with projected finish time and per-kilometer times -- see below! ;) seems to indicate 3:14, so either my calculations during the race were wrong (doubtful) or there is a small error in my data (also doubtful, as I introduced corrections; but less ;). Anyway I was going in the 4:30-4:40 min/km range, aiming at its middle. And as usual, it was going pretty fine for the first half of the race. It was a very warm and sunny day so I was making a conscious effort not to miss any refreshment point and for the most part that was going fine too. But I could sense trouble coming. Yet again I was just counting kilometers and wondering when I will break down.
And sure enough I did. It started around 26th kilometer where I fell out of the target zone, slowly at first, but at the 32K mark, 10 kilometers before the finish line, it got real bad and I started going at a pace slower than 5:00 min/km. By that time I completely forgot about my plans of improving my PB and I just wanted to make it to the finish line, hopefully with a reasonable time.
I got there in 3:25:51 (netto time) and what an irony! This is 11 seconds (sic!!!) slower than my time in New Jersey on the 1st of May this year. Not that I care about this 11 seconds difference but I basically did the same race again. Ok, in NJ I started a bit faster and therefore I was suffering more by the end, but still. Bloody deja vu or what?
Anyhow. It was a good race and I'm not going to let the time spoil this experience. I would like to thank everyone who was cheering for me! I have to admit that by mistake I had the sound off in Endomondo (which is not such a bad idea in general, as it helps with concentration) so I saw your peptalks only when I got back home. Pretty thanks! And the biggest thank you goes to my best supporter who was there cheering live for me!! :)))
As a final note: the similarities between New Jersey and Budapest goes beyond the similar time. In both races my "upper body" (that would be heart & lungs I'm talking about) felt just fine and it was my legs that were miserably crying for a break. Same in 50K in Assen. And that can only mean one of two things: too weak legs and/or not enough recovery before the race. So for my next marathon (that would be Paris in April 2012!) I'm gonna make sure that I address those deficiencies. I'll try out a 1.5 or maybe even 2 week recovery period before the race and I'll try to increase the amount of strength runs in my training (so far, admittedly, not many). And then my PB..... :D