When i took that last step across the finish line, i had stopped the clock at 3:56:50. A PB by 30 minutes. I had never imagined in my wildest dreams that, that would happen. While still in a state of shock, i found myself at around 1:07pm Japan time on Sunday having inadvertently joined the swelling group of marathoners who have broken 4 hours for the distance. What i felt that day, and even what i am feeling now ... is something i can only best describe as falling between euphoric and mild disbelief. :)
The urge to analyze the results is intense .. to know how i got there. Primarily its for 2 reasons - 1) If i could explain how i got there, i feel in control .. that somehow things went exactly the way i planned for them to. And (2) If i could explain how i got there, i could repeat the result in the future by doing exactly the same or try going even one better. Without taking away much of the magical feeling i have right now, and neither wanting to appear too much like a kid with his first icecream, i want to capture how i felt going into the race, and the race itself.
The run-up to Tokyo 2012 was very similar to Tokyo 2011, as i had observed in an earlier post. Coming out of a lackadaisical few months, trying to salvage what best i could in the few weeks that i had before the marathon (12-13) - i found myself at the end of Dec 2011, having built mileage upto an average of 40kms a week and looking down at 2012 with a completely open mind on how to train for the first couple of months. Given the fact that just 2 months of some consistent training in 2011, had got me to a 4:26 finish at TM 2011, i figured that if i were to apply the same approach, i should be able to atleast match that result if not go better. At no point in time was i thinking i should have a training plan for 4hr in place - and that was because i had already predetermined that my goal race would be the Gold Coast Marathon in July, and that Tokyo would just serve as a benchmark to base my GCM training plan on.
Tokyo 2011 build up:
Tokyo 2012 build up
January was fantastic - 248kms, my highest ever mileage for a month. February started off promising and then 2 things happened that kinda made me feel a bit diffident. One, my long run was not too great and i couldnt keep the pace up through the run. And two, my taper was kinda walking off a cliff. There was no gradual cut back, just a big drop from 60km a week to 25km. In hindsight, that might have been a good thing but definitely it was not doing much to help my mental state of affairs. :)
On 25th Feb, the day before the marathon, i ran the 2km friendship run. To cut a long story short, it was a brutal run - the temps was in the low singles and there was heavy rain to boot. I ran with a poncho, frozen hands and a slightly defunct brain which couldn't quite rationalize what the hell i was doing. In fact, a couple of my friends who had come to run the IFR turned back even before it started, not wanting to risk getting sick before the marathon the next day.
Food .. i had been to an Italian place the previous night for dinner and liked it enough to go back and do my carbo loading. Lunch and Dinner were both big plates of spaghetti with mozzarella cheese and for a change my stomach was doing fine with no signs of causing any anxiety for the race. I knew from experience and reading that staying hydrated in a cold climate is very important as the usual indicator of sweating is absent and so i was drinking water frequently in large quantities to make sure that this part of the prep was right on track as well.