Q. Am I satisfied with my performance?
A. Yes and no. Yes, because I pushed through to the finish even though I started doubting myself at 17km, and started to suffer cramps at 25km. That is an awfully long time to suffer. No, because I didn't make my goal time of 4:30 and I know that I am capable of it.
Q. So, what happened?
I was sweating profusely by 7km. Things got a little better after that as it clouded over and I caught a breeze, but I think that I didn't take in enough electrolytes. I was trying to stick to the water and Sport Beans/Clif Bloks routine that I had trained with. This worked fine in 4degC weather, but apparently not so well in 14-16degC weather. I didn't start taking in Gatorade until much later in the race, and it was likely too late.
Q. Did I take in enough calories?
A. No. In total, I consumed 1 package of Clif Bloks (200 cal), 2 packages of Sport Beans (200 cal) and some watered down Gatorade. That is not enough when you are running for almost 5 hours. Oh right, and I did take a shot of beer at 32km! But anyways, my stomach could not handle anymore of the sweet stuff. I wonder if I should try salty snacks next time?
Q. Was the course difficult?
A. Yes. While I was running, I didn't really think about it because I have run on courses with very steep hills. However, the problem with this course is that it is never really flat. The constant ups and downs really wear on you. Below is an elevation map of the course according to my Garmin. Sorry for the small size; I couldn't figure out how to export the graph, so I used print screen. After reading some of the reports from other racers, I have the impression that Vancouver is one of Canada's tougher marathon courses. For example, there is a much higher percentage of Boston qualifiers at the Ottawa marathon or Mississauga marathon (which was my first marathon course).
Q. Do I want to try another marathon?
A. If you had asked me at any point during the race, I would have given an emphatic NO. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I was thinking about which race I should do next. You know what they say about us marathoners: "Never again...until the next time."
Q. So, what's next?
A. My legs have loosened up considerably by now, but I probably won't attempt to run until Friday or Saturday. I may decide to enter a 10k or a half marathon this summer, but I certainly won't do another full marathon this year. I'll see how my body recovers and think about which race I want to tackle next.