What next after a marathon for a vegan athlete?
You have just run 42.2km. You started a marathon and:
- Successfully finished
- Finished but race didn’t go to plan
- Crossed the finish line vowing to never run (a marathon) again
The marathon distance can be exhilarating as much as it is punishing. This distance is full of highs and lows that either have you sprinting over the finish line or crawling for mercy. In my experience you should never under estimate a run no matter the distance and this is particularly true for a marathon.
It took me 3 years of running before I entered my first marathon. Once you start running the question always posed to you is ‘when are you running a marathon?” People would always say to me “if you can run 5km you can run 10km and if you can run 10km you can run 21.1km and so on.” So does this mean if you can run 42.2km you can run 50km or even 100km?
Some runner’s goals are to just run a marathon and stop at that. And why not, a marathon is a sizable distance and nothing short of a massive challenge.
In marathon talk the time to beat for your average runner is 4hrs and if you are highly driven and competitive with the clock not to mention yourself a marathon time of under 3hrs is your benchmark but this time certainly won’t come easy.
First marathon 2012: 3hrs:32mins
Since running my first road marathon in 2012, I have run 2 others but in 2015 100km distracted me. I certainly have unfinished business with a marathon. My first year was a huge success even though I was running uncharted territory – as I said ignorance was bliss! The following two years were not run as planned – bursars, ITB strain, blisters and an undiagnosed iron deficiently in 2014 saw me hit the wall 11km in which made for a tough day out on the bitumen.
It was this marathon race that I learnt never to give up. If I am still standing then I can still run or in my case run walk, walk run walk. I had two options that day a) seek help from my supporters or ambulance or b) keep moving and eventually the finish line would find me. I chose the latter.
On a good day, a marathon distance is all about pacing yourself and then understanding when to bury yourself with enough gas in the tank to see you cross not crawl the finish line. Start slow finish strong.
I think I am the exception to the rule going from a marathon so early in the piece to an ultra marathon distance but that’s what turning forty did to me – it made me set my sights higher than I believed I could ever go. Will I run another marathon distance to run a PB or even try for a close to 3hr finish time? You better believe it. The belief, the challenge and the desire to have greater success is what drives me and knowing I still have a long way to go when it comes to running 42.2km is what makes this challenge so exciting.
Belief | Desire | Trust
For now though, my personal belief, desire and determination is seeing me explore the world of ultra endurance racing. Yes there will be marathon distances run as a training run but when will be the race when I truly bury myself, only time will tell.
Our possibilities are only limited by our inability to trust and how much time we can dedicate to training. No matter the run distance, it is always going to hurt especially if the race means something. This hurt is a feeling that grows and defines us as a person. The race never gets easier; we just learn to accept that feeling of hurt.
As the races go by we certainly get more competitive with ourselves and this is what makes endurance racing one of the most envious and admirable distances on the racing circuit. After a marathon, the races and distances just get more epic and this is what we thrive off.
Endurance racing is accepting pain and moving with it, not fighting it. Its taken us a few years to accept the pain but now that we are getting more comfortable we believe in our ability to race hard when we need too.
Change the way you think and the sky is not the limit.
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