Saturday, February 18, 2006

Myrtle Beach Bonk Report

Today was the Myrtle Beach marathon and it reminded me why I hate running and love cycling. I had signed up for both the Marathon and tomorrow's Metric Century bike ride as a backup in the event that I had a running injury. And, as it turns out, I started having ITB problems about a month ago that put a serious damper on my running.

Still, I figured I'd run half the marathon (the course is in a very convenient figure-eight with the full- and half-marathoners running together for the first loop) and then just drop out when I passed the half-way chip timer. Then I'd presumably still have energy to do the bike ride tomorrow.

However, after 13.1 miles I felt pretty good and had a time of 1:48 so I figured that despite my lack of training I would go ahead and see how well I could to for the entire marathon. I was getting very tired but at mile 20 I was at 2:48 and figured that it was well within my reach to run a 3:38 for the entire marathon (I ran my first marathon in 3:54 at St. George last October).

At mile 21 I hit the wall. I felt an immediate numbness in my hands and got a weird chill sort of like an endorphin rush only with the exact opposite effect. Almost immediately, both of my calfs started cramping up and I had to stop running. Just like that. It was probably a combination of not training enough and not hydrating well during the first 10 miles.

Cardiovascularly, I was fine so I started walking in hopes that I could get fluid at the next stop and only lose 5-10 minutes or so. But by then it was too late. Any time I tried to run the cramping restarted immediately. Walking was fine, running was not. So, I walked the last 5.2 miles and finished with a time of 4:13. I felt great but those last 5 miles took FOREVER. Fortunately I had an iPod to keep me from getting too bored but I ended up with blisters from trying to walk fast (13:45/mile).

In retrospect it would have been better to stop at the halfway point because I'm waaaayyy to tired/sore today to be able to do the bike ride tomorrow. Oh well, it wasn't a total loss. I learned a couple of lessons and I'm motivated to restart my marathon training (after a couple months off to train for the Cactus Hugger bike ride) in hopes of running a 3:30 time and eventually qualifying for Boston.

Here's a photo from the marathon, taken while I was walking those last 5 miles:

Possible captions include:

- "I just walked the last 5 miles!"
- "You can't make me run so stop cheering."
- "I'll walk if I want to, dammit!"


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