Let me preface this and say I was never ever in my wildest dreams going to contemplate to run a 3 hour 20 minute marathon. It is at this point in my marathon days a far away dream at best. A good dream to try to achieve none-the less!
I was recently allowed the chance to give a Pacing Tattoo a chance and then write this review by Running Mum’s Australia. The week leading up to the Traralgon Marathon, a call was put out on the RMA’s Facebook page seeking people who were going to run a Marathon that week. I fit that bill! The next question was would I be interested in giving a 3 hour 20 minute, 3 hour 40 minute or a 4 hour 15 minute tattoo a run for its money. Knowing I was not a 3 hour 20 or a 4 hour 15 runner and was too cocky to think I was better than 3 hour 40 minute I had a dilemma. But hey, I decided to help and give the 3 hour 20 a crack. When I run a marathon (this was number 6) I never really stick to a pacing plan. I just try to run even km and hang on for the grim death to the end. I had already told myself that I would just stick the thing on, take a couple of happy snaps and then see how it lasted on my arm!
What arrived in the mail reminded me of those tattoo’s I used to put on as a kid. Just a tad bigger. Looking at the instructions same sort of principles. Get yourself a wet face washer, have a clean piece of skin and away you go. It did look like a big jumble of numbers and colours and I wondered how on earth in the heat of the battle would I be able to follow the gibberish.
The instructions recommended the best place to put it was on the forearm.
So my left arm was the guinea pig!
Quite colourful and left me feeling somewhat self-conscious. I really did not want to get any sort of “looks” from people thinking… who does this woman think she is! The pacing is quite easy to work out. A summation of the pace per km (4.44m/km splits) and then a rundown every 2km of where you should be at time wise. No rocket science. I should also note here you really should be wearing a GPS watch here or the jumble I placed on my arm would be well and truly that!
It’s funny how I did find myself looking at the pacing and see before the race as to where I should be for the first few KM. Like I did mention above, I did not even contemplate finishing the race in the time specified but a dream is still a dream! The race began and as they all do you take off and try to get into a rhythm. Surprising to myself I looked at the tattoo at the second km mark….. Just to see how I tracked! I was actually inside the time suggested. I kept continuing to surprise myself. I would keep looking at the tracking every few km. I would not say I religiously looked every 2 km but every 4-6km I would lower the eyes for a glance. Another surprising element was it was actually easy to read without having to study the arm for a long time. It was a day for surprises! For the record I managed to keep my pacing synonymous with the tattoo’s suggestions for the first 14-16kms before I started to lag behind. I also stopped looking at the tattoo at around the Half Marathon Distance.
These pacing tattoos in my opinion could have both positive and negative factors. On the positive, if you choose wisely and grab a tattoo that is correct in the time that you can successfully attain then it would be very positive in keeping you going and motivating you to keep at what you are doing. However the negative…… Wear an unobtainable tattoo like I did and you can easily get disheartened. Keeping up with a pace that is not easily achieved and seeing you fall further and further behind can bring in all the negative thoughts and be in fact harmful to the cause. Even though I knew I would not get the 3:20 I was ambitious to wear, it was a big downer when I started to not hit the required targets. Running marathons are very tough at the best of times and any type of downer or less than positive factor could potentially make a tough race even tougher.
For the record, my second half of the race was not as good as my first and I finished in a shade over 3:37. Not a PB but good enough for third woman across the line.
Two days after the race, I was still supporting a tattoo that retained a lot of colour. A few solid scrubs and it was still stubborn in holding on to my skin!
A cruel reminder perhaps of the marathon I hope to one day achieve!?
So would I wear a pacing tattoo again? I guess they do have their place. You need to choose the right tattoo that you CAN achieve the end outcome. Try and be too bold and you may be disappointed. But choose wisely and you may just be able to hold on and achieve a time you so desperately desire.
Thanks to Jenny Metcalf for this awesome review!. If you are interested in Run Tattoos, visit their website on www.runtattoos.com