This race was to a Marathon debut for my DW and I, plans went awry.
My DW and I planned to run this marathon debut together and finishing at whatever time we made. My hopes have always been to break 4 hours. Late in our training my DW was forced to drop out due to hamstring/ knee issues. This was of great consternation in the household for a while, meanwhile I kept up my training and was aiming to improve on the 4hr expected time.
I had hoped the weather would cooperate and give me a nice 40-50F start temperature, however as race morning came into view. It was very clear that the low would be in the low 60's and humidity would be near 100% and then proceed to top out near 70F.
I woke early in preparation and had breakfast at 5am, Cheerios and a banana. Race kick off was scheduled to be 8:05am giving me a comfortable 3 hours to digest and prepared for my run. Deciding that was plenty of time I chose to add a few extra calories, bagel with a spread of peanut butter. I normally run with-in 30 minutes of eating and had eaten both of these breakfasts in the past.
However, I had never eaten them together.
Goals for this race:
1. Goal time 3:40-3:45 – very possible
2. Break 4:00, completely confident unless something unexpected happened.
3. Finish Strong
Mile 1-3: @ 8:20 average – 5k split 25:58
The sound of a 24k runner event is deafening, not as much from the runners themselves, more from the loudspeakers, announcers, air cannons and blaring music. I had situated myself in the 8:30 pace crowd near the 3:45 pace group which happened to be right near a large group of speakers.
The race kick off went smoothly and on time. Overall the crowd moved along pretty well and with-in 3 miles there was elbow room or plenty of room to weave.
A combination of adrenaline, race hoo-rah and generally watching runners and spectators made these miles move quickly.
I placed myself between both 3:45 pace group behind about 50 meters and the 1:50 HM pacers ahead roughly the same distance. This was a stroll in the park and completely enjoyable.
Mile 4-6: @ 8:26 – 10k split 52:11
By the time mile 5 rolled along I started to feel a very slight pain in my lower left abdominal. I knew it was not a stitch, not sure exactly what it was.
Mile 6 marked the beginning of a 5 mile 200 ft climb. As far as climbs go this is quite mild, but the 'not a stitch' has begun to really be painful. In an effort to ease the pain I slow my pace a hair. Again my breathing feels great and my legs are fresh.
I go ahead and take my first GU at 6.5 in an attempt to go ahead and keep with my plan.
Mile 7-13: @ 8:53 average – HM split 1:53:34
I start to get perplexed until half a mile later at 7 in which the ugly truth reveals itself to me. I have a lump of something bashing around in my stomach and it just will not quit. I am sure the GU will not help the situation, but I know it is not the cause. Keep on trucking, miles 8,9 and 10 roll by and I finally reach the 'top' of the hill.
During mile 9, Darrin the Clifbar 3:45 pacer and crew cruise by, slowly. I am not worried at all as long as I keep him with in 50 meters.
By the way, Darrin is one hell of a good pace leader. Vocal, and helpful the whole time I could hear him:http://www.clifbar.com/pace_team/darrin/
Miles 11 and 12 are ok, but I know I am progressively feeling worse and worse. This section is slightly downhill to the lake and I like being able to coast just a little.
I just need to hang on as long as possible and then mile 13 hits and I absolutely have to stop. My stomach is killing me though I can not seem to do anything about it but in preparation I hug the edge of the road.
Mr. 3:45 is out of reach in my condition and I am really not happy on several levels.
Side note: I was blessed with an iron gut, ie: I do not vomit easily, ever... even when it would be of great benefit. In this case I am wishing something would happen.
Mile 14-20: @ 11:44 average – 20 mile split 3:16:29
Miles 14-20 are a slow painful progression. I go from running 2 miles and walking 2 minutes, to running 1 mile and walking 5 minutes, to ½ mile run with 10 minute walk until mile 18 where I find a steep 1 mile downhill. I muster my will and let the hill take me, unfortunately it is not far I make it nearly to the bottom when I just feel like doubling over. I don't but it does force me to walk again and this time its the nail in the coffin.
Mile 21-26.2: @ 17:07 average – Final 5k mile split 5:08:52
I can and can not really recall these miles. I know I walked them, I know I had encouragement. At one time a lady on the sidelines really cheered me on. “Come on 2193, pick those feet up you can do this!” I know I ran at least 100 yards after that.
The weather had taken a change of course and a cool front was coming in. The wind picked up and the temps dropped from 69-70 on the lake at mile 15 to middle 50s. Having walked so long I was really getting chilled, and I began to think about just having someone pick me up. I am tired, I feel like crap, a rush of negative emotions. I don't want to be here anymore.
The least I could do was finish the event.
I run with my iPhone and iSmoothrun, the app sends a tweet every mile I pass with my pace etc. I know my DW and DD are at the finish waiting and I am well past my expected finish time. So in a clear though I pull out the phone and send a quick text. “sick”. “U stopped?”. “walking”.
She followed up with a couple of encouragements. Enough to make me attempt a run for the last ½ mile, it was start and stop until I saw my DW and DD 50 yards from the finish with a sign:
“Go Daddy” and I ran painfully and slowly, but I ran across the finish.
Post mile 26.2:
I sat in the med tent for a few minutes trying to have my stomach relax, it helped a little.
Meanwhile the EMT chatted me up and let my DW and DD in to hang out. A quick check of my vitals showed I was perfectly fine 117/65 84bpm, just crappy stomach.
Finish time: 5:08:52 Technically a PR since this was my first marathon.
However, I missed all my goals including finishing strong.
I am not particularly happy with the results nor happy that I finished the Marathon.
I would not say that I ran the marathon since I walked a good 10 miles of the entire course, however I would admit that I completed it.
I suppose the moral of the story is:
Regardless of the logic involved in pre-race food. Do not change your habits.
In my case: fear the bagel and PB.
Sounds like a tough race, Sly. I've finished marathons with nausea and a horrible stomach and they stuck. I feel for you; it must've been tough.
But now you have one under your belt and I'm sure you are ready to try again and get rid of that PR. I hope recovery is going well and that this experience has not made you fear marathons.
Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner, INKnBURN Ambassador
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
Sly, Dude! Sorry about the terrible stomach. You ran a real tough race, and you finished. Another marathon in the books. Heal up, and come back stronger than ever. Donuts!
PRs: 21:35 (5K); 1:46:46 (HM); 4:30:46 (FM)
Recovery is going fine. I ran an ok HM but trained for a full.
I aim to get back on the marathon horse as soon as scheduling and funds allow. Long term goal is to BQ... eventually.
there is no doubt that the marathon is a BEAST. There is no way to comprehend it except by running one. The Half-marathon is of course challenging in its own way. But there is just something about the sheer distance of 26.2 that is impossible to plan for. But now that you've got that knowledge, you'll know better how to handle it the next time around.
sorry you had such a rough day I can't have peanut butter or bagels before races either- both make me sick...no idea why.
13.1: 1:45 | 26.2: 3:55
Ugh, sorry about the stomach Slymoon, that sounds awful. I've also walked the last 10 miles of a marathon (Copenhagen, 2011 - pulled calf muscle) and it is not fun - you just wish you could run so you could be done faster! Great job finishing.
PRs: 47:54 (10K); 1:46:36 (HM); 3:50:52 (FM)
Recovering from injured knee (PCL/Lateral Meniscus)
Sly - Sorry to hear about the rough first marathon. You should still feel proud though. You put in the training (that's the hardest part) and you still managed to gut it out when disaster struck. Rest up and save up, stay away from the peanut butter, and knock the next race out of the park.
Ball of Fury
So sorry to hear about your rough experience! Congrats to you for toughing it out and finishing. I had a similar experience during my first 1/2 (although I spent a good 10-15 minutes in an actual porta-pottie) and I am terrified it is going to happen during my first marathon in a couple weeks! If it does, I can only hope I will be as mentally tough as you were and just gut it out!
PRs: 5K 22:59, 10K 46:54,HM: 1:51:15
Sly - Sorry bud, 100% understand, I did the same thing two weeks ago. Take some time, recoup and get back at it to wash that one clean away. Can only move forward from here.
Play the Game Hard!
A tough initiation, but a great attitude- learning from the experience and ready to do better next time. Well done!
PBs since age 60: 5k- 24:36, 10k - 47:17. Half Marathon- 1:42:41.
10 miles (unofficial) 1:16:44.
Good job Sly! Like some of the others, I've had the death march experience too. IMO, those races are tougher in some ways than the painfully fast PR ones. You will recover and nail the next one!
PRs: 1:39:24 (HM) 3:47:02 (FM)