By now most of you know that my Vermont City Marathon experience did not go 100% as I expected it to go. I want to start by saying, it’s only a race…everyone has bad days….there are many more races to run in the future. A friend of mine (Mike Simonds) brought to my attention that it is okay to have “off” days and everyone has them. He also mentioned that another thing that has helped him keep things in perspective is thinking of people like Sarah Defren who lost her life at the Frederick Half Marathon. When you think of it like that it really is just a race and you should take some time to enjoy the fact that you are actually able to be out there doing it and working together with every single other person in the event. Another example, my wife’s grandmother (Nanny) has been sick over the past couple months and today, after my wife had been through the stress of hearing about me being in the medical tent and wondering if I was okay, she received a phone call from her father saying that it did not look good and she should come down to see her asap. Now, I’m in Vermont and my wife and kids went to go say goodbye to Nanny without me… It is also not normal for me to travel without my family and I miss them immensely! I love experiencing new places with them…
About the race:
After going out in 5:30 for the first mile I ran 5:11, 5:11, 5:07, 5:18 for the next four miles. My original goal was to run 5:17/mile and I definitely think that those early faster miles could have been a little “too” fast. I noticed I did not feel “right” as soon as 3 miles into the race. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but it was definitely a feeling of the pace not being right. In hindsight I should have probably gone out a little slower, but it sounds like the heat eventually got to everyone. By 10 miles I knew it was going to be a “long” day and I started to slow down significantly. I told myself that I was still going to finish the race as I had come all the way up to Burlington and did not want to let down the race organization, my family, and anyone else that was pulling for me. Unfortunately everything started to go downhill fairly quickly. 6:00/mile ended up being hard and eventually between 17 and 18 miles I almost blacked out twice. After the second time I almost blacked out I decided to try and continue running until I saw the next race official. When I eventually saw a race official I felt like very muscle in my body was cramping up….from my feet all the way up to my neck. I ended up sitting on the road with the help of the volunteer and they called for medics. I had expected a car or ATV to come and pick me up and take me to an “official” medic tent, but the local fire department paramedics ended up coming to get me. In hindsight I am glad they came as I was not doing well and had never felt that way before.
Now, of course I am trying to figure out what I did differently, why did it happen to me, how am I able to get in 20-30 miles in training and not have issues like this….. I can say that one main fact that stands out is in training I do not take any fuel. I complete almost every workout in a “fasted” state and only take in electrolytes and maybe some caffeine. I have to get over the fact of thinking that during the marathon I should take in carbohydrates and go crazy with carbo-loading in the days prior. I need to stick with what works. Sure I think it might be beneficial to take some carbs later in the race, but I need to stick with what works. In the future I am going to do that….and maybe carry a gel or two and use them late in the race when I actually feel like I need them…..
With all of that being said I do realize that it is just a race and that there will be many more opportunities to run races like Vermont City in the future.
I also want to thank the organizers at Vermont City….Joe Connelly, Lyman Clark, Zeke Tucker, and all of the other wonderful volunteers for making it such a great experience for me. It is definitely a race that I would love to come back to in the future! I’m glad I had the opportunity to come up to Burlington and be part of such a great event!