Monday, May 31, 2010

Mystery explained

On Saturday when I ran with Wayne at Afton I could not believe how much I was sweating nor how much fluid I had taken in. At the end of the run my shorts were soaked and my Nathan was almost empty. I had started with and apparently gone through a 1/2 liter of Perpetuem and 1 1/4 liters of HEED from my Nathan in a little over 2 hours. Now it was hot but I was puzzled as my normal fluid intake is around 1/2 liter an hour so I figured I had enough fluids for 3 hours or more and to be almost dry was a surprise. As I got into my car, I noticed I had something on my leg that was a bit sticky. I surmised that I must have brushed up against something. Since I was again taking a S-cap on the 1/2 hour, I figured that they must have had me sweating more than normal. Which of course led me to think, oh great, yet another thing to worry about at FANS.

Yesterday as I refilled my Nathan, I noticed that I had spilled a bit on the counter. As I picked up the bladder to wipe it off, I quickly discovered the problem. It had sprung a leak. This is my second Nathan hydration bladder that has leaked (they both leaked on the side seam). The first was replaced by Zombie at no charge (it failed in the first few months of use, great service from Zombie). I think this one was replaced last summer regardless of that, this time I will buy a different brand. I have a 50 oz camelbak bladder that has lasted for over 5 years so I believe I will order a 70 oz camelbak.

Well, at least this mystery is resolved and I now have one less thing to worry about for FANs, except it does remind me, was I planning on wearing my vest there? Oh, great another thing to think about ;-).



Sunday, May 30, 2010

FANS 12 hour event - an experiment

I am planning on running the FANS 12 hour event next weekend and I am approaching it as a learning exercise. When I originally signed up, I did so as I thought it would be a good mental exercise for me to go through, I have never liked loop courses and this one loops around Lake Nokomis (~2.4 miles/loop) so there will be a lot of loops (I hope). I also thought it would give me a good chance to figure out my fueling as with all of the loops I can set up a lot more options than in a normal ultra.

On the fueling front, in my 50k's and my 50 milers I have struggled to maintain my energy. I used to think it was just my conditioning but I remember at McNaughton when I had energy I could run or fast walk when I did not I walked slowly. If my conditioning was the issue I should have been able to maintain a faster walk but I could not. After I took in some fuel it seemed that a little while later I would feel the energy and I was off walking fast or running until I again ran out of gas generally a short time later. So my conclusion was that when my blood sugar bonks, my energy bonks and my pace reflects it. This article on the ultrarunning site pretty much confirms my belief that I need to do a better job of regulating my fuel intake to avoid this. So the goal is to make improvements at FANS, I don't expect miracles but I want some energy after mile 2o or 25 so that I can continue to move with a purpose from miles 30-50.

So what is the plan for fuel? I have used Clif Shot electrolyte for years and tried to supplement it with Clif Shot bloks, Sport beans or various gels (my current gel product is Chocolate #9). I have had some success with this but my taste buds usually fad as the race goes on and I end up not eating anything. I know part of the problem is I don't eat early or consistent enough, at least that is my theory. In past ultra races, I have taken in at most 1 Chocolate #9, 1 Clif Shot Blok and maybe 1 pack of Sport beans during the race, as I ingest these the energy comes back but my taste buds just can't seem to continue to eat them. Back to FANS, it will be the race that I try out some new things. At McNaughton I drank HEED for the first time and it seemed ok. Since it is so much easier to find then the Clif Shot electrolyte, Karyn and I switched to it and we used it at Fargo with no issues. I also bought Perpetuem and tried it yesterday.

I had no issues with the ingesting/digesting but we only went 10+ miles in a little over 2 hours, not the 12 hours I will need to go for FANS but I was able to drink it during the first hour of our run without issue. Since I am larger, I went with 2 scoops of it per 1/2 liter bottle and I am using the Cafe Latter flavor which has caffiene.

We also picked up some EFS liquid shot. Karyn was reading a race post on the Granny Nanny and Old Goat's blog where he mentioned that he took in Liquid shot as his fuel and had no issues, Karyn thought it might work for me.

I am planning on using it either today or tomorrow to make sure I have no issues ingesting and then digesting it. If all goes well, I will have it available to supplement my other choices. So my arsenal will be the old standbys Bloks, Chocolate #9, Sport beans complemented with my new choices. My plan will be to use the new choices as my primaries but to have the old ones available in case I need them.

Oh about that mental thing, my plan is to force myself to run slower loops than I might early to help improve my nutrition intake and to make sure my legs have something left later in the day. Will it work, I don't know, I do know that the races I have gone out slow in, I usually do well at and the ones that I go out fast in, I don't. I also know that I have gone out fast probably 6 to 8 times more often than I have gone out slow. So for this race I have no race specific mileage goal that I intend to push for, I do plan to set my pace towards 50 miles in the 12 hours but will do so with slower initial loops, if I end up short of my goal as I still fad later in the race but I figure out some fueling practices I will be happy. If I make the goal but the fueling and pacing hasn't worked then I might be disappointed.

So armed with some new products and a pace plan the test begins Saturday.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fargo 2010

Karyn and I left for Fargo with a bit a trepidation about the weather but we figured let's make the best of it and see what happens.

We were staying in an apartment (think fancy dorm room) right on campus a few blocks from the FargoDome where the start/finish lines were. Check in was easy, the room was nice, 4 bedrooms (they gave us keys for 2 of the bedrooms and would have given us the other keys if needed at no additional cost), a kitchen and living room. One thing we didn't think about was that there would be no TV or radio but I had my Ipods with us so they would have to do. They supplied towels, sheets and blankets. If they do this next year, we will want to go back as this is a great deal and makes the logistics real easy so please don't tell anyone ;-).


We headed over to packet pick-up and had no issues there, we took in the expo, it is a small expo but it seemed like it was a bit larger than 2 years ago. We headed up to the spaghetti dinner, we had signed up in advance, it was $10 and we had to select one of 3 seating's: 4:00, 5:30 and 7:00, a speaker was scheduled to talk at each seating. We had chosen the 5:30 seating but after we got our food, we saw that Dean Karnazes was signing autographs and taking pictures so we decided to get one. My wife got a picture of me and Dean and I being the star struck individual didn't think to get a picture of her with Dean. Dean was the speaker at 4:30 and 7:30 so we missed his speech but what the heck I got a picture. My wife knows that to a large degree Dean is the guy who inspired me to run ultras (so I think she will forgive me for not getting her picture). When I read his book, the "Ultramarathon Man", he made ultras seem doable and he made them sound like fun. I know that some in the ultra community will occasionally say negative things about him but what I saw was a genuine person. After we got the picture, we realized that we didn't get an autograph. I headed back over and thought I was going to miss him as he was leaving. I called his name and he turned right away, I asked for his autograph, he said absolutely and he signed my race number. Shook my hand again and wished me good luck. My weekend was made. I should also comment that he is not that tall but he looks to be solid, my wife I think would describe him differently. Dean also ran the 5k and the marathon and he may have run the 10k too.

We then listened to Kathleen Wrigley, the 6:00 PM speaker, her story is pretty amazing. For those not familiar with her, read her post from January, for those that don't have the time, she is a brain aneurysm survivor who is running the Fargo Marathon to raise money, her most recent brain surgeries were last fall. When she was in the hospital, the Fargo race director visited her and she told him she was going to run the marathon. I am not sure if they had already come up with the slogan "What's your 20x10 challenge?" but she sure filled the bill of accepting a challenge. Turns out his mother had also had an aneurysm.

Her speech was tear filled and brought a tear or two to my eye and it sure made me appreciate being able to run even if I am slow. It struck fairly close to home as a friend of mine died from a brain aneurysm at age 39 and the stats she provided were interesting to digest, 6 million Americans have brain aneurysms which works out to 1 in 50 people. When the aneurysm's rupture 40% will die, and 1/2 of the others will suffer neurological disabilities, Kathleen was left partially blind after her surgery. She added a few other stats like women are more likely than men and they are most common in the ages of those that run marathons (35 to 60). During the speech they scrolled names of people who had died or been treated for aneurysms, one of the names was from a women who had run the marathon in 2007. Here are a couple other links if you want more info or wish to donate to the charity she was raising money for.
We ended up sitting at a table with a couple from Fargo who came out just to hear her speech they gave us some additional info on her and her family. Her husband is Drew, the former US attorney for North Dakota who prosecuted the Dru Sjodin case and they think he will be a future governor of North Dakota. They told us that Kathleen's brother was a police office killed in the line of duty and also commented on what nice and genuine people both Kathleen and Drew are.

After dinner we went back to the apartment got our race stuff ready, talked about the weather and listened to the Ipods and before we knew it, race morning was upon us. I looked out the window and it appeared to be raining. Sweet, hadn't counted on that though. Since it was raining we decided to drive closer to the Fargodome and got to about a block of the entrance. Headed over to the dome, saw the 1/2 marathoners off, made the last bio stop and headed to the start line. The rain was still a light rain and there was just a bit of wind, as to the temp it was just a little cold. They changed the course from when I ran it in 2008, in 2008 we ran around in Fargo until mile 18 or so and then we headed to Moorehead, Minnesota were we toured Concordia College and then came back into Fargo and then ran through some more neighborhoods on our way to the finish. This year after about 3 miles we headed into Moorehead and meandered our way through Concordia. We were pulled onto campus by the sounds from the belltower.

The time was passing quickly and our strategy was working, we were walking every 22 minutes for 2 minutes, taking the time to maintain fluids and fuel, plus an S cap every 1/2 hour and water at the aid stations. As we headed across the memorial bridge back into Fargo, I looked up and saw nothing but blue sky emerging. I of course commented on it to Karyn, she was less than thrilled both by the sky and me pointing it out. The rain had stopped after the first few miles and the temp was moving up as the clouds started to thin out. I was fairly nervous over how things would end up in the second half of the race. As we continued on towards the 1/2 way point, we ran alongside the returning marathoners, I looked at a mile marker for them, they were headed towards mile 17, for us we were between mile 11 and 12. I thought to myself as the wind was picking up and the sun was bearing down, sure wished I was over with them. The folks in Fargo had done what the race folks had suggested, there were sprinklers out by the street to help cool us down. As we made our way forward the wind kept increasing to where it was a "turn around the hat breeze" (or else it would be gone). By the time we made the halfway point, the wind was getting intense but it did seem to help keep us cool except when it was right on our back or dead against us. The nice thing about the Fargo course is that you change direction a lot so that diminished the wind's effect a bit.

We finally made our way past mile 17 and headed towards 18. It was here that I was most concerned about the wind as it would be against us for a mile or so. Along this stretch Karyn ran out of Heed so I ran forward with her Nathan to get it refilled at the aid station so that she wouldn't have to wait. It took a few minutes and I took out after her. She was a few blocks ahead of me and my mile pace went sub 9 as I sprinted to catch her, then it went sub 10 and then sub 11 and I finally caught her. That wind was a nuisance. We continued on, up to this point she was right on track for her PR but I was worried about the effect of the heat and the wind. Around mile 20, it hit her and she ended up needing to walk a bit more, she was still doing a lot better than she was in Lincoln and she recovered somewhat in miles 21, 22 and 23 still needing a bit more walking. She responded in miles 24, 25 and 26 pretty much just putting the head down and working her way though it. She finished strong coming into the Fargo dome with a smile on her face, tired out but satisfied. She missed her PR by a couple of minutes but I think she ran as well as the conditions allowed and we took some solace in that we passed an amazing number of runners over the last 5 or 6 miles so all in all I think the strategy paid off.

I need to give the folks at Fargo a lot of credit, this is a fabulous marathon, the crowd support is great, the race organization seemed top notch, the aid stations were good and the volunteers were plentiful. I can see how this marathon made Runners World top ten. I need to also mention that the volunteers did a fabulous job of keeping the cars at bay as we crossed countless intersections through out the day. It didn't seem to bother any of the drivers as the marathon weekend seems to have taken over Fargo. It seemed like the city was behind this event and it is growing and improving each year. For those that might want to take part in the weekend, this is much more than a marathon event. As a matter of fact the marathon has the lowest attendance of all four of their races - 5k - 5197 participants, 10k - 2991 participants, 1/2 marathon - 6031 participants and the marathon had 1885 participants. They also had a few hundred folks take part in the marathon relay. I also found out afterward that if I had run the 5k the night before I could have gotten an extra medal after completing the marathon, kind of like the Goofy at Disney except they called it the Go Far Challenge (and you didn't have to run the marathon to get the extras, the 10k or 1/2 would have worked).

My only complaint is I would like to swap start times with the 10k folks, the marathon started at 8, the 10k at 7, the 1/2 at 7:30. Given my druthers, I would start the marathon at 7, the 10k at 7:30 (they have a different course after a couple of miles) and the 1/2 marathon at 8. Other than that this is a marathon worth going back for. Of course if they leave it the way it is, you have a chance to run the 5k on Friday, the 10k first thing in the morning on Saturday and then the marathon right after, why that could make this an ultra worth doing.

So if you are looking for a spring marathon next year and aren't averse to running with some wind, give Fargo a go.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fargo pre race thinking

We are less than 24 hours away and the weather for Fargo looks a bit challenging, temps heading towards the mid 70's with winds in the mid 20's with gusts to 40 mph. So all things considered this will be a wonderful opportunity to test out a few things.

One change Karyn and I have made is to switch from Clif Shot Electrolyte to HEED sports drink. Clif Shot Electrolyte has worked well but it is hard to find in stores and no races ever use it. I ended up trying HEED at McNaughton after 25 miles when my Clif Shot wasn't tasting too good and although I wouldn't describe it as flavorful, it seemed to work fine. So Fargo will be the test, can we drink HEED for 4 to 5 hours with no stomach issues. Another thing we are changing is we both plan on taking an S cap every half hour so this will be another test, does my hand swelling and stomach hold together. I sure hope so.

We are also going to try and monitor our initial pace a bit more carefully than Lincoln. Probably go out a bit slower (15-30 secs/mile) and more carefully monitor our fluids which should helps us keep the dehydration beast away. With regards to the wind, about the only thing we can do is have Karyn tuck in behind me and do some drafting. I have learned through the years that I am a pretty good wind block.

So if all goes as planned meaning we nail the hydration, the wind is not a huge negative and we manage the heat, I think Karyn can get her PR, if nothing else we can beat Lincoln by having a better day regardless of the final finishing time (of course beating the time from Lincoln is still the secondary goal). For me, this is my last long run weekend before FANS, running a smart conservative race is what I want to do so this will be great training for that especially if I can manage the heat and the hand swelling. Add in that we get to stay a couple of blocks from the start line, listen to Dean Karnazes and run another marathon together, I can't think of a better way to spend a weekend except to make it a trail race :-).



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What am I thinking?

Well I went and did it again, what's that you ask? I went and signed up for another road marathon. Which state am I going for, nope not a state I need but just the Twin Cities Marathon, you know the most beautiful urban marathon in America.

Why, now that is the question, two reasons, no make that three. First, I dropped out of my last TCM (in 2005), so redemption is cause one. I have mentioned it before but since it still sticks in my craw, it's the only year since 93 that I did not finish a marathon, to drop at mile 22, dang it, I should have finished if only I had given that a thought. Two, my work has signed up a corporate team and I was feeling the peer pressure. Even though I told them I would be of no help, I finally decided to give in but not simply to the peer pressure even though they kept saying it's just a marathon for you that should be no big deal. I of course somewhat agreed except I would add it's just me and 10,000 associates, packed together from the Metrodome along 26.2 miles of pavement, blocking people's driveways and paying $106.25 for the privilege to do it. I told them I can think of many other places I might want to be, so why did I give in?

Well, I remember a couple years ago running in Murphy on TCM morning in a nice rain storm sheltered amongst the trees running up and down the hills and thinking what a great place to be, me, some deer and turkeys, peace, quiet and tranquility. I kept thinking as the rain picked up of the poor marathoners getting drenched, about the volunteers and the spectators dealing with the weather as well. Anyway I was happy reflecting back and was thinking I might just do the same thing this year. Then it hit me, reason 3, it's a perfect long training run between Superior and Surf the Murph (or Wild Duluth) and I knew I would push myself maybe a bit more at the race so I went ahead and signed up. Yes, I could have done Murphy and relaxed but instead I will do TCM and probably end up getting stressed but I will work between now and then to keep it all in perspective.

Now about Fargo, it will be another good test of my hydration/S-Caps experiment and our ability to deal with what Mother Nature throws our way as the latest forecast is:

Windy and warm with a blend of sun and clouds - High of 79, Low of 58 with the wind coming out of the southeast at 19 mph with Gusts to 49 mph. You have to be kidding me, what the heck is it like to run into a 49 mph gust, oh yeah, I remember now, that's almost what it was like when I last ran Fargo except then the gusts peaked out at 40 mph, here is a link to that post if you want to migrate backwards in time, to a race that I think I would just as soon forget.

One last thing, I checked the Running Hope website and although there is no route posted, I think they might be giving us a clue as they list it as "MAPLE GROVE / MINNEAPOLIS", looks like if I do it I will be heading north.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fargo is a go.......

We have been waiting to see if the IT Band issue that Karyn aggravated at Lincoln had subsided sufficiently to do Fargo. We ran a final test run together today on the Cannon Valley Bike trail, it was a really nice day which meant too many bikes around us but the good news is that she didn't have issues so we have signed up. It didn't hurt that as we drove home I had a running podcast playing where they were interviewing Jeff Galloway and he said how he felt running 26 to 28 miles 3 to 4 weeks ahead of your marathon is the best way to be ready for a marathon.

What is going to be really nice about Fargo is where we are staying. When Karyn called for a hotel a couple weeks back, all the ones in the area were booked. She checked out places to camp, nothing looked too promising and then she noticed that they had places on campus to stay. Here is the way they phrased it on the Fargo website, "The Living Learning Center West, an apartment style residence built in 2008, will be available for marathon weekend." So she called up the NDSU (North Dakota State University) Living Learning Center and they said they had an apartment about 2 1/2 blocks from the start line. It has it's own bathroom, kitchen and it is just $50. Not quite as close as I was at McNaughton to the start line but then again running water and a normal bathroom will probably be worth the 2 1/2 block walk.

I ran the marathon a couple years ago and outside of the 40 mph wind, I really enjoyed their marathon, on that day Karyn ran the 1/2 marathon and I think she felt pretty much as I did, take away the wind and it was a first class event. Heck it was that even with the wind. We did learn by the time we left Fargo to open our car doors one at a time as when we first got there and we both opened our doors, everything that was loose was blown right out of the car. Besides the wind, one other thing I didn't like was the crowd at the start line, they had a 5k race starting after the marathon and 1/2 marathon and it was packed. We didn't have any real issues but the crowd was a bit much for me. I also didn't like to start with the 1/2 marathoners and sure enough they have fixed that as the marathoners start separately from the 1/2 marathoners. They have added a 10k to marathon day and moved the 5k to Friday night. This should make it a bit more peaceful (less crowded :-) at the start line. Ok, I should probably go ahead and whine a bit about the start time, they have the 10k race starting at 7:00 AM, the 1/2 at 7:30 and the marathon at 8:00, I would like to see those reversed as if it gets hot, we will be out there in it for an extra hour.

So the plan will be to head up Friday, pick up the packets, eat some spaghetti, oh did I mention that they are having Dean Karnazes talk at the event. Sweet, I am a fan, yes I know some are not but I am. His book was an inspiration to me to even imagine what it might be like to do longer events. It also allowed me to be ok with myself for being maybe a little different than some for wanting to do so. They also are having another person talk who I think will be pretty inspirational as well, her name is Kathleen Wrigley and she is running Fargo after recovering from her 2nd brain surgery for an Aneurysm. I was feeling sorry for myself a week or so back and after reading her blog, you know what, I got over that real fast.

So if all goes as planned and we have a good day, Karyn will get her PR and I will get to help her get it. If it doesn't happen since sometimes things do go wrong in a marathon, we will have fun.

Last, here is the weather forecast for Fargo for next Saturday, A blend of sun and clouds with a high of 75, low of 59, wind N at 11 with gusts to 34 mph. Guess I maybe should have checked that out before we signed up :-) and what was I saying earlier about the start time, well, if nothing else we will have fun.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

50 state map updated, what's next?

I have updated my 50 state map with Illinois and Nebraska which brings me to 12 down, 38 to go. The other thing, I accomplished with Lincoln was that it was my 40th marathon or beyond. I hope to get to 50 events by the end of next year.

So which state is next? Good question, you can see from my updated map that the easy states (meaning the ones close to Minnesota) are done and we will need to do some traveling to get in future states.


I have identified Michigan and Indiana on my map as under consideration as they are still possibilities for this year even though they aren't in my committed race plans. For Indiana it would have to be the Tecumseh Trail in December, for Michigan (and this is really improbable for 2010) it would probably be Grand Island (it may already be full) but there is also Grand Rapids except it would conflict with Wild Duluth and I would prefer to do a trail run in Michigan. My problem is if I do Tecumseh than would I still want to run Gnaw Bone? Ok, the truth would be I want to do both. They both are right near Nashville (the one in Indiana) and represent two areas, I used to frequent. Tecumseh is where I would go horse back running and Gnaw Bone runs right into Brown County state park. We used to go there on school field trips, I have taken my wife there, I would love to go back and run through it. It would be a great trip down memory lane.

Oh well, regardless of adding any more states it's time to really start figuring out the events I will do in those other 38 states and the years to do them.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Shoes.....

I have to admit when my wife commented about the concrete being an issue near mile 7 during the Lincoln marathon, I was bit surprised. You see, I was in fear of this course, knowing that it was a mixture of asphalt and concrete along with the fact that I was running in trail shoes, I expected the course to take it's toll on me, not her. My shoes were newer ones so I hoped that they would work but they were still trail shoes. Imagine my additional surprise when I looked down at her shoes and saw fragments of rubber at the back of the shoes. I thought to myself, OMG. We still have 19 miles to go. I did have the good sense to not make a comment, other than "yes, this concrete is hard", I am sure I also mumbled how much I like my trails.

As anyone who knows me a bit, they might know I am a bit preoccupied with shoes and probably were wondering how could I let my wife's shoes get so bad. Then again, they might say something like "so does your wife un-retire her shoes too, like you do"? Oh yeah, I see Wayne made that comment. The answer to that question is no with the caveat that I think she puts in more miles on her shoes than I do.

A long time ago, I learned my lesson about running in worn out shoes, ok learned may be an overstatement, I should have said something like I experienced this issue awhile back, I think it was in the late 90's when I decided to start Twin Cities Marathon in an older more comfortable pair of shoes, I was so beat up at mile 13 that I asked my wife to grab a pair of newer shoes which I had in the car. Some might ask, why I didn't start in them, that's easy they were newer and I wasn't sure I liked them, after I switched out shoes at mile 20, I could not believe the amount of cushioning they had. It was like running on air, granted it lasted all of a 1/2 mile before the other 20 miles came back to me and said, idiot, you will continue to pay for this mistake.

So my guess is that this race will be my wife's lesson learned and she will probably adopt my strategy, always have 2 or preferable 3 pairs of shoes you can run your next race in. In her case, she actually did have a couple of options but none were good, one was a pair of Nimbus's except they had caused other pain and she had an almost brand new pairs of Grid Omni's, except they only had 10 or 20 miles on them and she wasn't sure they would work either. So my advice is of course always have a few pair of shoes that work (meaning you can run long in them) in your shoe running rotation and make sure you retire your worn out shoes. Let me repeat that, make sure you retire your worn out shoes.

Now I would like to to say that with the lessons I have learned I would have worn the new shoes, but alas that would only be true if I had remembered my lesson and although I seldom make the same mistake twice, it has been known to happen. Note to self, remember, make sure you retire your worn out shoes and with that reminder, 3 pairs of my shoes have entered retirement and don't worry I will be donating them so they should actually be gone fairly soon. Of course I might just grab them for one more run like if it's raining out, hey it is, time to run.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lincoln Marathon

My wife and I got to do something last weekend that was a lot of fun. We ran a marathon together for the first time since 2001. We choose to run the Lincoln Marathon in Lincoln, Nebraska as the course looked interesting and well, it was in Nebraska which was a state that I needed.

The marathon starts on the campus of the University of Nebraska and finishes on the 50 yard line of Memorial Stadium. It is a very good race, well organized, fabulous volunteers, nice amenities, easy logistics but beware as you do run on a lot of concrete. The race is actually called the Lincoln National Guard Marathon and there are guard members from all over the country who participated in the race or who volunteered at the race.


Outside of Memorial Stadium

We arrived in Lincoln on Saturday, checked into our hotel and headed over to pick up our packets at the embassy suites where they had a small expo. The University of Nebraska campus kind of butts up right against Lincoln's downtown which makes it easy to find your way around. After that we headed over to Centennial hall, where they were having the free spaghetti dinner. The lines weren't too bad and the spaghetti was good and you couldn't beat the price. We sat with some Nebraska students, one who was running the 1/2 marathon and they did a nice job convincing my wife and myself that our daughter should add Nebraska to her college visit list.

My main plan for this race was to increase my S-cap consumption to 2/hr and to do better with my hydration and to help Karyn get a marathon PR. The other thing that I decided to try was Les's foot lube, you take vaseline and mix in some desitin and then rub it on your feet, he said he hasn't had a blister since.


Before the race, we have that normal pre-marathon confidence look.

The race starts at 14th and Vine, right in the middle of campus near their student recreation center. It was a beautiful morning, just a few clouds in the sky and the temp was in the upper 40's with a forecast headed to the low 70's. One problem with the start is that they funnel you down a bit to hit the mats for the chip timing. Since it was chip timed and we knew our time would be around 5 and 1/2 hours we went towards the back of the pack, it took us about 17 minutes to finally cross the start line.

Heading to the start line, it was a bit crowded

We settled into our early pace and tried to find the right tempo, our plan was to take a 2 minute walking/hydration break every 2 miles or 25 minutes. We knew that the course had no major hills but did soon discover that they often had long gentle climbs. One thing Londell had warned us about were the roads and he was spot on, potholes were plentiful. I felt like I was on trails, I needed to keep my eyes down for fear of tripping or falling into one. Since we got to start with 6500 half marathoners, it was fairly crowded, but we enjoyed the early miles through Lincoln. At about mile 7 we moved from the road to a bikepath, a concrete one. This is where Karyn probably first had some issues, she was running in old shoes and this bikepath took a toll on her legs. After the bikepath you move back on the road and fairly soon you go up the one significant hill they have, we ran it so I don't think it was that bad. One thing we were both struggling a bit with was the heat, by now it was in the upper 60's and we worried about how hot it was going to get.

As we came down 10th street towards the 1/2 way point we were on pace for Karyn's PR, I was feeling great and was happy to bid the 1/2 marathoners a good day. Karyn on the other hand was still feeling the affect of her shoes and I thought she was showing signs of dehydration.

We headed past the stadium, never good to be near the finish line and then to head away but this wasn't so bad. The 2nd half of the race is an out and back. We knew we would leave the roads and be on bikepaths and sure enough, they were concrete again. Any clouds had long since disappeared and it was toasty on the bikepath. We were still holding pace but it was not looking good for the long term, past mile 16 we went, thankfully there was a breeze at times they seemed to help cools us a bit. We continued on, our walking breaks had become a bit more frequent, finally we made it to the turn around and now we were on the way back with just a 10k left. We came up the hill out of Holmes Park, and on we went. Karyn was definitely feeling the affects of dehydration, she was having increased stomach issues and lacked energy. Shortly after we left the Holmes lake area, the police decided to quit stopping traffic so we lost a bit more time. This was the only thing that bugged me about the race, the 17 minutes we lost to get to the start line was held against us as they had a 6 hour cut-off so it seemed like the police were using the 6 hour clock time as when to move runners off the course. Even though we were on pace for a 5:40 finish at this time, this was a bit frustrating, anyway, we lost a little more time waiting at a couple of stop lights. One woman that we had kept passing/getting passed by would go out into the traffic directing them to stop. She was a 50 state member who was walking the course at a very fast pace. I thought she was nuts to do this but once she stopped the traffic we ran on through as well. By now Karyn's stomach was giving her fits and she had to walk a bit more. We made it finally back onto that concrete bikepath and continued to run/walk our way towards the finish. We soon had the stadium in sight and headed on in and we were done, a bit disappointing for Karyn but a marathon finish none the less. Our time was 5 hours and 52 minutes. We ended up losing about 15-20 minutes in the second half of the race, not great but not a disaster at least based on some races I have done.


Memorial stadium as you come through the finish

As we came across the finish, we found out that we could still get the post race massage so we did, it felt pretty good. I was also able to eat for the first time right after a race in memory. Granted it was only a yogurt and some cookies but I was able to eat. My hydration and increased S-caps had worked as had Les's foot cream, no blisters, no hot spots. As to the race, the bottom line is we finished together a little slower than we planned but we finished and despite a few issues on the course, I think we both enjoyed the day.


Marathon participation shirt and finishers medal


My wife couldn't resist buying this t-shirt

After the race, Karyn took some pictures of her shoes and I would say that they do look a bit worn out.

One last thing about this race, it was really cool to see the National guard members running this race, when they passed they wore the state's name they were representing and folks would yell out "go Indiana". There were also guard members who volunteered at aid stations, the presence of the guard made this race a bit more interesting to participate in and it was fun to see the joy and smiles from the guard members and to be able to say thank you.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hydration issues and experiments?

I have been reading a lot since McNaughton on my hand swelling, dehydration and hyponatremia.

Please take what follows as nothing more than a starting point for myself and a collection of randomness from a non Doctor or medical person, do your own research as what is right for me more than likely will not be right for you. What I am posting about here is from Karl King's cheat sheet on hydration for more information.

With regards to hyponatemia, I don't believe I have ventured there during my races but I did used to increase my water intake before marathons and in the process pretty much flushed all electrolytes out of my system. Once I recognized this, I simply made sure if I was going to increase the fluid intake to stay in balance on the electrolytes. That helped but I still had issues with my stomach and hand swelling.

As I worked my way through not flushing out all of my electrolytes, I of course veered the other direction and headed towards dehydration by not consuming enough fluids and then when I thought I did my system would still seem to shut down on the processing of the fluids. After many years of trying to figure out why and blaming my training, Gu's and many other things, I still would end up running with stomach cramps on any hot day (and some mild days) which led throwing up during some events and after a few. I would normally try (or I would have) to slow down to avoid throwing up on the course. I finally discovered the magic of S-Caps. One of the first marathons I had some success at was in 2007 in Kansas City, it was a fairly hot day and I used S-Caps and I got through the day without major issues. Since then, I have yet to throw up again but I still have had issues.

At McNaughton, after reviewing Karl's chart, I am pretty sure I was one of the following two stages

Hydration: Normal - Electrolytes LOW
  1. Weight is normal
  2. Stomach is queasy, with poor food acceptance
  3. Wrists may be puffy
  4. Salty foods taste good
  5. Thirst is normal
  6. Mouth is moist – can spit
  7. May have cramping
  8. Causes: Insufficient electrolyte intake
What to do: Increase electrolyte intake until stomach feels ok.

Or

Hydration: LOW Electrolytes OK - Dehydration Likelihood: common
  1. Weight is down a few pounds or more
  2. Thirst is high, and salty foods taste normal.
  3. Mouth is dry, food acceptance is poor
  4. Skin is dry and may tent if pinched
  5. May have dizziness on standing up
  6. May have cramping
  7. Mental performance may be affected
  8. Causes: insufficient fluid intake
What to do: Drink sports drink with electrolytes, or water

Having reviewed the two, my guess is the first, I did ok on the hydration but my electrolytes got low as I
am fairly convinced that I do sweat out a lot of salt and I failed to take in enough S-Caps. I never like to take pills of any sort and am always afraid with S-Caps that I might take in to many. My normal consumption is one per hour or one per 3/4 hour never any more often unless I have stomach cramps then I will take one.

So on our last longish run before Lincoln I decided to increase my S-Caps to about 2 per hour and I had almost no hand swelling and felt fine with no ill effects afterward. In reading, 2 per hour is not out of line on a warm or a hot day and may be what I need to take in all of the time. Since I almost never use the bathroom during the race, I think I am ok with this quantity, I should add that my post run weight is almost always lower by a few pounds or more.

So on to Lincoln to continue the experiment.


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