The subtitle for this blog, “A mid-life journey from couch to 50K” was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek reference to my tendency to go a little overboard with things that I find interesting. In other words, if everyone else is doing the “Couch to 5K” plan, then I’ll probably do “Couch to 50K”. (Thank GOD I didn’t call it “…from couch to Trans-America.”) Running an ultra-marathon wasn’t even a specific goal until a few weeks after my first marathon was complete and oh, by the way, running a marathon wasn’t a specific goal when I started the blog either. So now that my journey is complete, SPOILER ALERT
I suppose I should retire.
But then what would I do? Ooh, I know…Dragon Boat Racing!!
On to the race recap… Continue reading
It’s a couple months late, but here’s my 2012 Mississippi Blues Marathon race recap anyway.
I should start this whole thing off by saying: I’m not a talker. I tend to keep to myself unless I have something that needs to be said. I’m definitely not the type of person that starts conversation with strangers. During my last marathon, I spoke to two people and those conversations were brief. Somehow, during the MS Blues Marathon, I spent almost 5 hours socializing. Weird.
Walking up the hill from the fairgrounds parking lot towards the starting line, I met my first stranger. It was a short walk so we didn’t become lifelong buddies or anything but I did find out that we share a fondness for Saucony Kinvara shoes. I wished Kinvara guy good luck and made my way through the growing crowd looking for friends from work. Our company sponsored several relay teams and individual runners for this event and most of us were wearing our highlighter yellow team shirts. That made everyone easy to spot. Everyone, except Bryan and David. It was unfortunate that I missed them at the start because I wanted to wish them luck on their half-marathon and remind them of how much more awesome I am for running twice as far. Continue reading
I can do this. It’s just a six hour run through the woods.
After finishing my first 5K about this time last year, I started extending my 2-3 mile training runs each week until I was able to complete a half-marathon in January. Along the way, I realized that I actually enjoyed the long runs. It’s nice to feel like you’ve actually been somewhere after a run instead of just running down the road for 15 minutes then turning around and running back. Interesting things happen when you’re out for a long run that you miss on the short “out and backs”. ( See My Latest Long Run )
Strategy becomes important when you’re racing beyond 5K. As Sports Nutritionist Sunny Blende puts it, “Ultra races are really an eating and drinking contest with exercise and scenery included.” ( Ultra Endurance Fueling ) Not saying I’m an expert at this. I bonked in the marathon but I think I know why and I’ll have it worked out before the next big race. I’m learning as I go but I think I’m a quick study.
The Carl Touchstone Memorial Mississippi 50 Trail Run has three divisions. 20K (12.5 miles), 50K (31.1 miles), and 50 miles. I’m signed up and looking forward to completing the 50K.
My next big race will be another marathon. I’m officially signed up for the 2012 Mississippi Blues Marathon and I’m looking forward to it. This is a great race with thousands of runners and lots of things going on throughout the entire course. My first half-marathon was at this race last year. I’m more experienced and in a lot better shape today!
According to my mom, my horoscope for the day of the marathon read: …
“Aries: Your chances of achieving one of your ambitions before the month is over are quite good. Much depends on the work you do today and your ability to repeat this work.”
Things that went well:
I finished. I am extremely proud of the 26.2 decal on my car. (Yeah, I am THAT guy.) I felt great and completely enjoyed the first 20 miles. Absolutely no injuries. No IT band pain, no patellar tendonitis, no strained hip flexors…all issues I have previously experienced when pushing the distance. The Kinvara 2s rocked. I didn’t even have a blister! I was stiff the day after and only a little sore the next but I ran three miles after work – no problem. I’m ready to sign up for another marathon. Soon.
Things that didn’t go so well:
I’m happy that I finished but I’m kind of bummed about the 4:54:30 time. I was on track to break 4.5 hours at mile marker 22 but things really fell apart after that. It took over an hour to “run” the last four miles.
I severely underestimated the difficulty of the last 6 miles. Pretty much everything I had read about marathon training said “Don’t worry about the last 6 miles. The excitement of the race and the crowd of runners will encourage you.” Maybe so in Chicago or New York. There were 216 registered for this marathon and I finished behind 41 of them. Except for one water stop and a mobile medical crew, I saw two people the last 4 miles. There was NOBODY to rely on for motivation.
Looking back, I made some big but correctable mistakes. The biggest, I let myself get dehydrated. I’m very cautious of hyponatremia so I was taking endurolytes and drinking a little conservatively. Starting about mile 22, I had all the symptoms of dehydration…or hyponatremia…I wasn’t sure which so I erred on the side of not dying and tried to drink even less. I chose poorly. I weighed about 4 pounds less after the race and that was after rehydrating with 24 oz of water and even post-race pizza. That’s less than 2.5 percent of bodyweight. Not dangerously dehydrated, but enough to cause performance problems. It got up to the high 80s almost as soon as the sun came up but since it was so cool at the start, it didn’t really register with me that I should treat it as a summer run. I ditched my shirt at mile 13 but that was because I didn’t want pictures of bloody nips all over the Internet. Besides, I have abs like Jersey Shore’s “The Situation”.
Another mistake I won’t make again is using caffeinated gels. I know from past experience I can’t tolerate them on long runs but I was SURE I would need the boost so I brought three caffeinated and three regular. I finished the race badly needing carbs but I couldn’t stand the thought of taking the last caffeinated gel so it went unopened. As I think about it now, the severe nausea was probably from dehydration and not so much from caffeine but I know that at the time I could have taken a regular gel if I had one but wouldn’t touch the caffeinated one still in my belt.
No doubt about it, finishing a marathon is a major accomplishment. It is way tougher than I imagined. I can empathize with the people that give up with less than two miles to go…it crossed my mind. I have great respect for anyone that has gone the distance no matter how long it took.
Still, I can’t help thinking how much better I will do if I can figure out how to actually run the last six miles.