Monday, October 5, 2009

Twin Cities Marathon 2009 Race Report

Hopefully this won't be some epic (or epically boring) post. It is only running after all.

Sunday was a perfect day to run a marathon. It was about 45 with no rain in the forecast. We hopped on the bus near CS's house so we wouldn't have to worry about parking downtown. We get off the bus and are walking toward the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome - where the start is - and suddenly some dude from the local FOX station steps in front of us and asks if we want to talk about the marathon on camera. As a rule I decline and add that my handlers in the witness protection program would not appreciate seeing my face on TV. It also didn't help that I looked like a longshoreman with my black knit cap on. After some hemming and hawing and misdirection on our part we dodged that bullet and made our way to "The Dome."

Nothing much to report here. We ran into a long line of people waiting to go in the one door to get into "The Dome." As we got closer we realized they were doing a security check of our bags. One guy. At one door. I looked to the right and saw a wide open gate so I, and about 50 other people, peeled off and went in there. Security checkpoint = FAIL! Besides if I was going to be packing heat I wouldn't have it in my gear bag anyway. I would have it in my running holster.

Once inside
"The Dome" nothing to report. (This is quite possibly the most boring post you have read so far, I am sure.) Smelled like Ben Gay. ("How long have know...Ben Gay?")

Everyone peed and pooped as usual. (Sorry, I really got nothing here.)

The start was uneventful. We were in Corral 1 - which I love - so we were only about a minute behind the gun. CS and I started together but I took off after about a mile and a half. I was working my plan and CS was working hers. Hers worked better.

The miles really clicked along nicely. I had started with a long sleeve shirt, but that was discarded by about mile three. I was drinking the Powerade on the course at every stop and about eight miles in my stomach started to feel a little "funny." I have had tummy trouble in the past so I wasn't too worried. I had taken Immodium with breakfast so I figured that would help. And for a long while it did.

The half-marathon split came up and I was dead on my goal. I was feeling fresh and was working my plan, although my stomach was still feeling "funny." I continued to drink the Powerade and after each time, I noticed my stomach felt worse, but then the feeling subsided.

As we made the turn on a straight stretch of River Road I realized I could see the 3:20 pace balloons ahead of me. They were within reach and I had plenty of time to work my way up without blowing. I was making great progress. My splits were right where they should be and my heart rate was good. I was thinking, "I can totally do this!"

When someone suggested I run a marathon I was like, "No way! I don't want bloody nipples or to shit myself!" Well Sunday - I had neither but the the second one came pretty close.

Around mile 18 I started to feel a little gassy, but I knew it wouldn't just be gassy for long and started to look for a porta-a-potty. Alright, 3:20 is out the window, but let's just go for a PR. My potty stop helped and I got right back on the horse. For about two miles or so.

I took a couple more cups of Powerade, but they made me really nauseous. I tried a couple cups of water. Same effect. So I stopped drinking. That combined with the "fluids" and nutrients I left somewhere along mile 19 left me dehydrated and I started to bonk - hard!

And I was so close. Look at the splits from my Garmin and you can see.

Mile 19 jumps up for the potty stop, but then I am back under 8 minutes for a couple of miles and then the downward slide.

For the last three and a half miles I would run until I thought I would puke, then walk until the feeling subsided, then run again.
It was a terrible way to finish. CS came by at this point and I ran up to her and we ran for a little while together. She confided in me that she thought she may have "sharted" (she hadn't) so we were both having some GI issues - brothers in arms. She finished with another PR. I did suck it up and ran the last half mile or so to the finish so I finished running. Then, to add insult to injury a nice light, freezing cold rain started as I was coming through the finishing chute. Now I was feeling shitty, dehydrated, wet and cold. Hypothermia here I come!

That was close, too. I was really considering hitting medical to get some fluids and to get warmed up. I got my gear bag and even while it was still sprinkling I got into dry clothes. Then the rain stopped. People finishing behind me never got wet. Thanks, GOD!

So - net-net of the Twin Cities Marathon 2009 t-odd Edition - 3/4 kickass marathon. 1/4 marathon betrayed by my stomach. Overall, I am encouraged. I took people's advice and went for it. My fitness was great, my plan was great, I was holding it all together. I just need to figure out what I can eat and drink that won't make me feel like hell. I also have to remind myself that this is only my fourth marathon, I have only been running for two full years and I would say I am doing pretty well. I came through healthy and injury free. One of these times it will all come together - probably when I least expect it.

On a lighter note:

I didn't hear too many strange words of encouragement, but CS reported a few.

  • Love it! (Two times!)
  • You're almost to the point where it's all downhill from there.

And one of my favorites reported by CS's friend who rode on the bus with us: As she was getting to the top of Heartbreak Hill at her first Boston Marathon and totally dying some dude stops cheering and tells her, "My hands are really sore from clapping."

So now I am on to my off-season. Main goal: get my nutrition figured out. 2010 is going to be a HUGE year!

Thanks to everyone who offered their advice and support. It is all very much appreciated.


Charisa said...

I think it was very successful. You didn't shart yourself! And I think you would have 3:20d all the way had it not been for the stomach. It is easier to fix nutrition issues than "training" issues. 2010 is going to be an awesome year!

NJ said...

Despite the GI issues, you did great. I for one have been very impressed with your season and fitness level. Next year will be even better...although maybe a bit more exhausting with IM thrown in there (maybe two with a KQ?).

Any idea yet what other local races you might be throwing in?

Court said...

Great race Todd. I've been reminded the past few days that TCM is a tough course. I agree, you have 3:20 in you no problem, very soon. I am also so pumped for 2010! It's going to be an awesome year. Enjoy your off-season, you've earned it!

Beth said...

The 3:20 (and under!) will certainly come when you figure the nutrition out. Or perhaps you are just saving your 3:20 for IMMOO next year? ;) Congrats!!

t-odd said...

Beth - am I that transparent? I am totally gonna bust out a marathon PR and BQ at then end of my Kona qualifier at IMoo next year. Yes I am!

Jill Costantino said...

You will TOTALLY get your BQ...last May I too had a bad day and did a 3:54 and 4 mths later I got my BQ with a 3:37...nothing like dropping 17 minutes in 4 mths. And Heck YES to doing it in your IMooooo next year! Next time pack an extra Imodium to take during the race.

D said...

TWO years of running? Fuckin A you're doing pretty well for yourself.

Question Authority. said...

Powerade: It tasted stronger to me than other race drinks have in previous marathons. I think they didn't use enough water when mixing.
Immodium: I forgot mine. I LOVE my Immodium on a long run.
Chafing: I forgot FORGOT to put on the Body Glide stuff. I have an amazing maze of chafing!

Congrats on a good time, T-odd. I'm sorry that you didn't make your goal but it's fun for me to even EMAIL a person who can imagine finishing a marathon under 4 hours. You rock. And you will qualify! :-)

Kim said...

"No way! I don't want bloody nipples or to shit myself!"

what? how come? shitting myself is my favorite activity - and not only in IM training!

sorry to hear about the stomach issues, but you still kicked ass.

Teresa said...

Way to go...the whole did it! Feels good to know the next one will be a PR!