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!
Less than 1 week to go until the Vermont City Marathon. Last week I was not really big “mileage” wise, but I was able to get in two short workouts on Monday and a solid Renato Canova style block on Friday. I had hoped to do a little bit more in the first workout of the block, but the heat/humidity took it’s toll on me. In hindsight I should have worked into the faster part gradually instead of jumping right down to 5:15-5:10/mile.
I have not mentioned much about this lately, but I did end up making some significant changes to my diet over the past 2+ months and I really think it’s going to pay off in the latter stages of the marathon on Sunday. 90% of my runs have been completed without ingesting any carbohydrates beforehand. I have also been limiting carbohydrates overall and have been eating a higher fat diet. I know that some people will think this is crazy, but my body has adapted well to it and I think I was more “fat adapted” than I thought prior to making the changes. I rarely ever ate anything before long workouts or long runs and never take anything during. Right now I have been more conscientious of what I am eating at other times of the day. I will make a longer more detailed post about the diet changes later. To keep it short it has been lower carb/higher fat, hardly any processed carbs, and hardly any sugar. I will continue limiting carbohydrates up until Thursday. At that point I will take in a higher percentage of carbohydrates to top off my glycogen stores before the race. I’m hoping this train low/race high strategy is going to pay off!
I have also started incorporating a sports drink called the Nth Degree. It is a drink that uses Palatinose as it’s carbohydrate source. It has an extremely low glycemic index and does not cause the insulin spikes that I seem to be sensitive to… I love the drink and have used it both before, during and after training with great results.
Yesterday I got in my last longer workout before the marathon. It consisted of 12 miles on rolling hills working from 6:30 to 6:00/mile and then running a 5k progression in 16:30. Nothing crazy, but I got in the time on my feet and worked down to faster than marathon pace on the 5k section.
-6 minute warm-up
-10k in 35:42
-6 minute cool-down
45 minutes total with 12 x :12 hill sprints (behind Sams Club)
50 minutes easy on turf fields (last 12 minutes barefoot)
50 minutes easy on turf fields
Valley Centre Loop
– 15 minute warm-up
– 10k in 34:27 (17:21/17:06)
– 5k in 16:02 (planned on doing 10k, but heat/humidity caught up with me
– 15 minute cool-down
(Repeating same workout later tonight…no carbohydrates in between the two)
(14 miles total)
Valley Centre Loop
– 20 minute warm-up
– 10k in 34:40 (17:32/17:08)
– 5 x 2 laps with 1:00 recovery (4:24-4:22-4:20-4:25-4:24) (4:57–>4:52/mile)