Running A Marathon With An Injury

A short report of running a marathon with an injury and completing it in 3 hours 59 minutes and 8 seconds.

Yesterday I had to take a break from learning Android app development because it was the biggest running holiday of the year for me: running a marathon.

Before the run I was extremely stressed out that something would happen and I wouldn’t complete the marathon. After it I could barely move and was laying in bed for the rest of the day and night. Today I got up full of pain and with a slight fever but happy that I managed to do it!

Unfortunately, I don’t feel like working or doing anything that requires any intellectual effort today, so I will write a short summary of my yesterday’s race. Let’s start!

Running A Marathon With An Injury In 3 Hours 59 Minutes And 8 Seconds

My plan was to finish somewhere between 3 hours and 30 or 40 minutes. As you can see I didn’t really manage to realize my plan. Below you can see the map of my run with some interesting statistics (I didn’t even know that I exceeded my max heart rate (which is 191).

Running A Marathon With An Injury: Stats

Here is an interesting chart presenting pace, altitude and heart rate.

Running A Marathon With An Injury: Stats

As you can see the race route wasn’t the easiest one. In fact it is the most difficult race route in Poland. I live in the city that is located on the plateau and runners from other parts of Poland often have great difficulties running here.

Here is probably the funniest chart which shows exactly the “wall” started at 30 kilometer (it’s almost the book example).

Running A Marathon With An Injury: Pace

As you can see my pace started to decrease right after the 30th kilometer and I couldn’t really speed up (except for the last kilometer when I was able to see the finish line and my friend joined me and ran with me these last meters).

The First Half In 1 Hour 49 Minutes And 13 Seconds

I must say that my plan was very ambitious. I wanted to finish somewhere between 3:30 and 3:40. I thought that I was prepared for it (I already ran almost one thousand kilometers in 2016 and almost three thousand in 2015), so I started running with the pacemaker for 3:30 (I just thought that I would slow down a bit after the first half and finish at 3:40 in the worst case).

Running A Marathon With An Injury

The first half of the marathon went great as my average pace was about 5:06/km. I was sure that I would do it and finish in the desired zone. Unfortunately, just after crossing the line for the first half I started to feel pain in my right hip, right leg and the lumbar section of my spine.

However, I knew that all I needed to do was ONLY to keep this pace, which I was determined to do. I managed to keep the steady pace last year (more about my last year’s marathon below), so I was sure I would do it this year too. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

The First Difficulties After The First Half

The pain started to intensify after the twenty first kilometer but I was so determined that I managed to overtake a few other women and for a moment I was the 4th woman in the whole race. At about 25 kilometer an insane bellyache appeared (from both sides) and I had to stop for a few seconds (I was unable to run).  In the below chart you can see the slowdowns which are the short stops I had to take (when I stopped running and was simply walking).

Pace on my marathon

Even though I had some difficulties after the first half I managed not to slow down a lot and reached the 30th kilometer with the time of 2:40:10. I still had a chance to finish somewhere between 3:40-3:45 as the pacemaker for 3:45 still hadn’t caught up with me.

Unfortunately, the “wall” came just after the 30th kilometer and ruined my whole plan.

My Ambitious Plan Stopped Working Entirely After The Thirty Kilometer

Last year I ran the entire marathon at almost the same pace (I was the pacemaker for 4 hours) and the “wall” never really came. These are the stats for my marathon last year.

My marathon from last year

Unfortunately, this year the “wall” was really horrible. The pain in my hips, leg and spine became almost unbearable. I started to feel faint but fortunately the temperature fell a bit after the 35th kilometer and clouds appeared on the sky.

I was seriously considering giving up and getting out of the race route. However, there were tons of supporters on the streets (including my running coach) and I somehow did  complete the marathon (I don’t really know how I did it).

On the 38th kilometer (the slowest kilometer of all) I swore to myself that I would never run a marathon again.  The endorphins I felt after crossing the finish line made me realize that this wasn’t really my last marathon. 🙂

Olga after running a marathon :)

Why I Didn’t Realize My Plan

Even though I beat my personal best from last year by 44 seconds I don’t feel like a winner at all. I think I didn’t realize my plan because of the combination of the following things:

  • I didn’t do any 30-kilometer run during my preparation for the marathon. I only once ran 25 kilometers in January and besides that my longest runs were of 20 kilometers every Sunday.  I didn’t do any 30k because I was afraid I would activate my spine injury and wouldn’t be able to run the marathon at all.
  • I haven’t entirely cured my injury (the I got when doing squats on cross training).
  • I wasn’t a pacemaker so my motivation not to slow down wasn’t as great as last year (I knew that actually nothing would happen if I slowed down).
  • I was running in old shoes (with holes in them and almost no amortization). When I realized that I needed a new pair of shoes for a marathon, it was too late to buy them.
  • I was too ambitious with starting with the pacemaker for 3:30  and simply burned out in the first half.
  • I didn’t entirely stop drinking alcohol, which I definitely should have done in the several months before the marathon.

A  Few Words About My Devices (Samsung Galaxy S7 & Garmin Forerunner 235)

This was the first marathon I ran with my new devices, i.e. Samsung Galaxy S7 and Garmin Forerunner 235. Let me tell you a few more words about them.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Turns Out To Be Ideal For Running

I was afraid that Galaxy S7 would either be too big or too heavy for running but it fortunately fits into my running pouch ideally and doesn’t add bulk to it.

Running with my Samsung Galaxy S7

What’s more it’s waterproof  so it survived when I was sprinkling myself with water (many times) when I felt too hot. I was listening to music for the whole 4 hours (with the default headset) and the battery life decreased only by 15 % (and I took a ton of photos before the start).

Samsung Galaxy S7 certainly passed the exam for being a good phone for runners.

Garmin Forerunner 235 Did Great And Added A Few Meters

My Garmin Forerunner 235 of course didn’t disappoint me during the marathon and its battery level decreased only by about 35%. However, in my post about the accuracy of my Garmin watch I show you that Garmin watches (all GPS watches) usually add a few extra meters to your run (and thus they usually show the pace that is lower than in reality). I knew that this would happen so I didn’t rely on the pace it showed so much.

Even though I ran exactly the distance of a  marathon (42 kilometers and 195 meters) my watch claims something a bit different:

Running a marathon with my Garmin Forerunner 235

You can read detailed reviews of my two favorite devices here:

Share Your Thoughts

What are your thoughts on running a marathon? Have you run one recently? Do you have one of my two favorite devices?

Feel free to post me your comments in the comment box below. I would love to hear from you.

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