Sunday, March 2, 2008

MS 37.5 Miler

For whatever reason, I thought the race started at 0630. When I pulled up at 0600,
I saw everyone already lined up at the start. Well fuck. I quickly filled my two hand-helds (one water, one Perpetuem), took an S!Cap, grabbed two flasks (one gel, one Sustained Energy paste), choked down a Carnation Instant Breakfast, through on my race vest and made my way to the starting line. By this time, 8 minutes had elapsed and there were no runners in sight. Not knowing the route, I hoped that I was running the right way! My Garmin had yet to pick up a satellite, so it was yet to start recording. Fuck, fuck, fuck...what a way to start a race.

Within the first few miles, I passed some people which made me feel better. At least I knew that I was on the correct trail! There was a creek crossing after the first aid station. About five people were trying to cross it without getting wet. I quickly crossed (and stayed dry!) and, by my count, I had now passed 8 runners. At mile 10-ish, I see Michael, Patrick, and John. This part of the course is an out and back for about one mile total, so I figure that I am only about 12 minutes behind them. OK...feeling a a lot better now.

My car is parked about 200 yards before the starting line. I stopped to refill my stuff, grab a bag of S!Caps and Aleve, more gel, another Carnation and contemplate on taking a roll of toilet paper with me for the next lap. Leaving the toilet paper, I finally manage to move my ass past the starting line with a first lap time of 2:42:12. Not bad for a late start!

Before starting the second lap, I pay a visit to the port-a-potty. I had to wait in line for what seemed like an eternity. With my business finally tended to, I begin lap number two. A few of the people I had passed earlier were now in front of me. I thought about flying by them, but think better of it. There were still 3 laps to go and I knew that I would have to run my race and not worry about them.

All felt fine at this point. No pains to warrant worry and my energy level was good. I decided to pay more attention to my run/walk plan of 10:2 to help conserve energy. One of those I had passed earlier came into sight, about 1/2 mile ahead of me. When I caught up with him, we decided to pace each other for the remaining part of the lap. He would lead for a while, then we would switch. This worked well and it was nice to have someone to talk to. Don was running the 50k, so he wasn't in too much of a hurry. For me, the cut-off was looming large in the near future. We parted ways and I picked up the pace. Lap two was completed (after stopping at the car to replenish and change shirts) at the 5:49:22 mark. Decent pace, but slower than my original plan of 5:30:00.

During the previous couple of hours, my stomach began to bloat. This is normal for me and it's usually cured with more S!Caps and a lot of belching. Starting lap 3, my gut continued to swell. This became so uncomfortable that I was unable to run. I slowed to a crawl for the next four miles. Each time I attempted to run, the pain forced me to stop. I tried everything to relieve the pressure/pain. I even went so far as to stick my fingers down my throat to force vomiting (unsuccessfully). I stopped drinking because my stomach would not empty. I had only urinated once (at the end of lap 1) and I had yet to have any desire to urinate again. Thinking that emptying my bladder may help, I forced a small amount of urine out. Of course, this was no help. I crept through the miles, hoping the pain would magically disappear. At the second aid station, I decided to fill up my hand-held with water instead of the Heed I started drinking on the first lap. This seemed to help some and I was able to start a slow trot. By this time, the only way to make the cut-off was to run the next 6 miles within the next hour. Believing this to be impossible at this point, I mentally gave up. I figured I would take it easy and not cause any further injuries.

After the first pass through aid station 3, I started an easy jog. I knew that I would never make the cut-off, but I wanted to get to the finish line as quick as possible. My gastric distress was now manageable since switching from Heed to plain water (not sure if Heed was the problem), so I tried to keep the pace somewhat respectable. A lot of 50m runners were flying past me on their final lap. It was great to see them doing so well, but discouraging all the same. At mile 35, I physically gave up. I was so disgusted with myself. Lap 3 was completed at the 9:45:41 mark. I missed the last lap cut-off by 30 minutes.

If not for the severe bloating, I think I could have made the cut-off with at least 10 minutes to spare. The first half of lap three killed my race. I have never tried Heed before, so I am unsure of it's contribution to my problems, if any. I know that I shouldn't try anything in a race that I haven't already tested before, but the heat/humidity was on the rise and I was afraid it might do me in. Or was the bloating due to 3 cans of Carnation Instant Breakfast? There is a lot of sugar and fat in each can, so I thought they would be a good source of cals/carbs. I have used them before, but never more than one can.

What to make of the lack of urination? Does this mean I was dehydrated? Does this mean my hydration was fairly level? Even after the race on the way home, I only urinated twice in the whole 4.5 hour trip back to Memphis.

Today, I feel ok. Other than a few aches and pains, all seems fine. I did have one small blister on a toe, but nothing else. I did drink some Recoverite after the race, so maybe that helped.

Overall (besides the bloating), I felt my nutritional needs were met. Except for a few low spots during lap three, I never hit the wall...never bonked. My planned 10:2 run/walk pace worked well and I would have made the cut-off if not for the painful gastric bloating. My body held up fine except for some tightness and slight pain in my right achilles and knee.

Oh well...with the lack of long runs this year, I guess I shouldn't have expected much. I did have fun and met some great people...and that is the whole purpose of being there.

Lap (12.5 mile) splits: 2:42:12 5:49:22 9:15:41

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