Running a marathon is not an easy feat, however, that is what our very own C. J. Recher did just this past Sunday by taking part in the Chattanooga Marathon. C. J. not only took part, but excelled by finishing 40th out of 639 participants, as well as beating his goal time of 3:30:00 with a time of 3:29:08. We interviewed C. J. about the marathon, how it felt to achieve his goal, as well as what steps he took to succeed.
Danelle: Congratulations on running and finishing your race and hitting your goal!
C. J.: Thank you! It’s still somewhat surreal that I did it!
Danelle: So how do you feel after finishing the marathon?
C. J.: Physically, I’m pretty stinkin’ sore. Emotionally, I’m ecstatic about not only finishing the race, but beating my goal!
Danelle: So, what was your goal?
C. J.: It was to finish the race in under 3 hours and 30 minutes
Danelle: And what did you finish it in?
C. J.: 3 hours 29 minutes and 8 seconds
Danelle: Wow! Congrats! So, what does it feel like running that many miles nonstop?
C. J.: It’s a journey of ups and downs physically, mentally, and emotionally for sure. You really have time to reflect on all the hard work you’ve put in during training to finally see it come to fruition and that was certainly motivating during the race for me. It carried me through the first 20 miles or so. The challenge of taking your body beyond the limits you may have ever even imagined you could is exhilarating. I felt great through the first 21-22 miles or so, after that things got pretty tough through the finish, especially the final 2 miles. It was gut check time for sure. But, running down the finishing chute, crossing the finish line and knowing I’d completed the race and accomplished my goal was pretty incredible.
Danelle: I bet! So what steps did you take to prepare for this marathon?
C. J.: I had a 14 week training plan, a nutritional guideline that I followed, and then I created a race plan for the day of the race that I could strictly follow and hit my goal.
Danelle: How many miles did you run per week during the 14 weeks?
J.: I got up to as many as 50 miles per week but probably averaged about 40 miles per week.
Danelle: So you said you did alter your diet for this marathon, right?
C. J.: Somewhat, yes.
Danelle: How so?
C. J.: I mainly tried to avoid fried and heavily processed and sugary foods. Really in an effort to make sure I ate enough complex carbs and protein to keep my energy stores up and allow my body to recover during training. I also made sure to consume extra vitamin C every day, because all of that running during training reduces your immune system’s efficiency, and getting sick, especially right before the race, would be brutal.
Danelle: Yeah that would be horrible. Were you able to eat or drink any items from our micro-markets or vending machines that fit within your nutritional guidelines?
C. J.: There were a couple actually. When I got tired of just drinking water and wanted something flavored, I would grab a Bai 5 Sparkling Water. Grapefruit and Guava are my favorites. I also occasionally grabbed granola/energy bars or nuts, because they provide complex carbs and protein, and those were nutrients I needed perform. For the most part those were the only items I actually ate, because I bring my lunch most days. However, some other items Five Star offers that I often ate were pretzels, yogurt, milk, cheese, fresh fruit, dark chocolate, most wedge sandwiches, most baked crackers/chips, beef jerky (in moderation), and of course water and sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade.
Danelle: Wow, so we offer many items that you were able to choose from while still maintaining your diet. That’s great! Overall, what do you think is the most important tip or piece of advice you can give to prospective or first time marathon runners?
C. J.: There is a lot I could offer up, but for the tip I would say to be realistic and clear with your goal. If your goal is unrealistic based on your current fitness level, you’re likely setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. As far as advice, I would say this, whether its during training and even in the race, its going hurt, and you’re going want to give up, but you have to have the trust, discipline and determination to stick to your training and race plan. If you can do that you will definitely be able to achieve your goal.