Monday, December 16, 2013

Estian Treadmill Marathon 2013 Race Recap

As I announced in the previous post, I got myself in a pretty crazy event of running a race on treadmill. Not any race - full marathon to be exact. I know that The Hungry Runner Girl ran a treadmill marathon, bit apart from that, it seemed as a pretty crazy event :) Just to be clear this definitely wasn't "A" list race for me. I was curious for the experience, thought that push my body little more than the "usual" long run 25-30 km (16-20 miles) might be useful as I am now in the volume part of training cycle. 

I ran 30 km 6 days before the race - on my treadmill at home to get the feeling. There was almost no taper, took the mileage little bit down as it was the fourth "scale back a little" week of the training cycle. But no special tuning up, no special nutrition, sleep regime, no caffeine and 0 alcohol regime I do before the big races. Overall: I didn't know what to expect as I wasn't really doing any speed work until the last week for the three months following the Berlin marathon.

Pre-race - all happy and shiny :D The gear: shoes (Lunar MTRL+), skirt, t-shirt, bra (Pro collection)  & headbands from Nike, compression socks Royal Bay.

Nutrition: my "secret" matcha sports drink: melt bigger pinch of salt an big spoon of honey in warm water, add freshly squeezed lime and serving of matcha, add cold water and shake well :) Also GU gels (I used 1 before the start and total of 3 during the race) and salt packs, plain water to wash down the gels.

About the race, I actually drove to a party on Friday night where I wasn't drinking, but got to bed as late as after midnight. Had to get up early to prep all the fueling and be at the 8 am bus to České Budějovice. Only carb loaded for the day before the race and the race morning: sushi for lunch on Friday, bananas and turkey ham for dinner, more bananas with some cashew butter for breakfast. I arrived to the Fitness Pouzar where the event was held slightly after 11 am and the first runner of the 8 am starting group already finished. Petr Vabroušek did great and finished in 2:35:10!!!

I was slowly getting ready, we were supposed to start at noon, but the start was pushed off little. So I spent time cheering up friends who were in their last km (Petr Říman and Míra Hasal from Bě Also chatted with the two endurance monsters - Petr Vabroušek (Iron Man) and Dan Orálek (ultra marathoner). Petr was casually spinning out his legs on the stationary bike. Telling us stories about the recent Antarctic marathon he won just few weeks ago. My dear friends, you can now see another level of being crazy :D

I did easy 500 m to warm up on one of the treadmills, did few dynamic warm up stretches and we were off to start. I started at 5:30 min/km (8:02 min/mile) and after 3 km worked up my pace to feeling comfortable at 4:45 min/km. As I was settling in my groove, boom the electricity on mine and two neighboring treadmills went off - luckily I remembered my number of km finished - 3,9. Electricity was switched back on and we went back to running. When this happened two more times it was darn upsetting, the organizers finally put the fans on another circuit and we were good to go for the rest of the race. The ultra marathoner Dan next to me was cruising at crazy speed of 16.3 km/hour!!! I settled at 12.8 km/h = 4:41 min/km which is little faster than my average split in Berlin.

The distance covered on the the treadmill screen was off due to the electricity cut offs so I knew I had 6.1 km more than the treadmill was showing. Played little mental game of counting how many km I have left until the next official time marking (5-10-15-20-25-30-35-40-42.2 km) . Also remembering to do manual lap for each km on my Garmin as the cadence speed was quite off (didn't remember to do this at the beginning). Took first gel at 10 km and half of the second at 20 km. Unfortunately my stomach started acting up a little or better to say the bowel movements... I lasted until 23rd km and hat to go to the toilet - you can do that, but have to stop the treadmill to 0 speed and your time is still running. The approx 90 seconds were totally worth it as I got back to my groove afterwards.

Dan next to me was already about 5 km ahead of me, I knew I was by far the fastest running woman for this year so basically it was running against myself and the clock. As I was approaching the 30 km mark, I started to suffer. I was taking half of a gel each 5 km - easier for the digestion, that pumped me up a little each time. But had to take the speed down a little. I was afraid that I will need to slow down a lot, but even going down to 5 min/km helped a lot, so I went like that for 1 km and took it up to 4:47 min/km again. It can seem silly, but each 0.1 km/h of speeding up really hurts. When I was around 32nd km my dad arrived!!! That helped me a ton. He came to pick me up to spend the rest of the weekend in Vienna. When he arrived I knew I wouldn't give up. And trust me that idea crept up my mind when I was struggling for each following km.

There was the 35 km mark - only 7 km to go, I can do this!!! Dan was finishing, huge clapping and cheers for him. I was aware of it but couldn't cheer him up, I needed every single bit of my energy for myself... But his last km was cool everybody was clapping and shouting - people could you do that for the next 25 minutes before I finish? :))) I took one more "resting" km after km 36 at 5 min/km pace and sped up back to 4:47 min/km. 5 km to go - I can do this!!! I sped up a little each km closer to the finish. 

Petr and Mira came back, taking photos and cheering me up - I knew I looked exhausted and my clothes were soaking wet (I took the tshirt down at 3 km into the race). But I was really happy knowing that I didn't give up. Managed to speed up to 13.5 km/h - I guess little faster than 4:30 min/km ... Don't know exactly, was just running and enjoying the groove. Now I had my 5 minutes of glory as everyone was cheering up for my last km. Really cool, Official time: 3:23:00. Pretty excited about it, only 4 minutes behind my PR from full volume training without any tune up or taper.

This is how 35+ km of relatively fast treadmill run looks like... Photo courtesy Mira Hasal :)

Just after getting down from the treadmill...

Photo by Dan Orálek

Prize giving ceremony - first time ever winning the female division of a marathon!!! 

Running on matcha worked for me again! :) (Photo by Dan Orálek)

Dan Orálek improved his last year's time by 2 minutes but still lacked 2 minutes on Petr Vabroušek, so he finished second - great job for both of them!

I got quick massage after the race and was competing like a champ half of the car drive to Vienna :)

Interesting fact: we had to weight ourselves before and after the race. Even though my clothes were soaking wet and I drank more than 2 liters of liquids plus the gels, I lost 2 kilograms! Most of it is definitely dehydration.

Anyway, I am really excited about this experience that proves my hard training pays off. I hope I will recover quickly so I can continue with the big volumes and the speed spice ups :)


  1. Ty jsi vážně neuvěřitelná!! Máš pevnou vůli jako málokdo...

    1. Když vedle Tebe běží Dan Orálek, tak je to dobrá motivace :) Ale trochu mě naštval, že to zabalil skoro o hodinu dřív než já :D :D :D

  2. Gratulace největší :) Toto chce vážně morál ... to bych nedala.

    1. Děkuju moc! Vůle je taky sval :))) A určitě mám výhodu, že mám pás doma, takže jsem docela zvyklá ;) Doufám, že se potkáme třeba někde na běžkách :)