Monday, April 28, 2008

Death March / Pseudo-Race Report

Sunday was the 22 mile run on the La Jolla Half Marathon course. Record temperatures were predicted all over the area. I left my house at 5:30 and it was balmy outside. My car thermometer told me the temperature in my neighborhood was between 77 and 79. Oh crap! Even though the plan was to go out, take it easy and just enjoy the company of 1000s of racers, it being that warm at this time of morning before the sun comes out is not very encouraging. Fortunately for us, there seemed to be some heat cloud on the top of the hill I live on. As I started headed down towards the freeway, I could feel it getting cooler, very fast. I found temps in the low 50s at one spot. As the coast is usually a bit cooler, I thought we may be OK. I was doing the run with one other guy and we met in a parking lot in the UTC area. The temp there was upper 60s. We took his car the rest of the way to the coast. I don't know the temps at the cove, but it was far from being cool. After walking down to the finish line, we headed out backwards on the course. The goal was to follow the course backwards. We expected to hit the leaders around mile 9 of our run, go about 2 more towards the back-to-middle of the pack and then run back towards the finish line with the race.

So, we are started. We're taking it easy. Just chatting and commenting about how warm it was already. We hit the hill going up La Jolla Shores (mile 2 in the image below) and there was no doubt, it was a hill. Doing this hill when your body doesn't really feel all that warm yet and it the heat we were in, knowing we still had twenty to go was a bit more difficult than you would think. We make it to the top and shoot all the way down Torrey Pines hill. We then approach the hill heading into Del Mar. By this time, I can tell that it's not the best run for me, but I can gut my way through it. As we approach the hill, my running buddy says, we should pick up the tempo heading up this hill to warm up our legs. I'm like, "hey, we've been running for 8 miles in very warm temperates". "I'm warm." But hey, I'm a sheep and follow what others do. So we pick it up heading up this hill into Del Mar. That hill burned me up pretty good, but I was able to recover as he head down hill a bit. We round the corner and finally see the leader of the race. I don't remember the exact pace, but he was less than 4 miles into the race and not moving all that fast for a 1/2 marathon. (This guy ends up winning the race in controversy and is later DQ'd.) About 2 minutes later we see this guy running all alone in the 2nd spot. We didn't see a number, but we he was running way to fast for any other kind of running. (See same link above as he comes in 2nd and is also DQ'd.) About 20-30 seconds later we start seeing more and more runners and then slow drip becomes a gushers. We must have passed a few thousand before we finally hit the turn around spot. There were so many people that would look at us and tell us we were running the wrong direction. It was funny at first, but by the 30th time, it got a bit old. We started telling them we would see them soon as we were running back to the finish line.

We finally hit mile 11 and it's time to turn around. We saw a few people we knew and as we turned around, we tried to pick up the pace to catch them. Looking at the image below, you see that pretty quickly after turning around we hit a nice little incline. By about mile 12, I'm feeling it hard. I'm trying to keep my legs going up the very steep incline, but I'm struggling, a lot. Fortunately, we start heading back downhill out of Del Mar. I was wearing my fuel belt and had 1-10 oz Water, 2-10 oz Nuun solution (1 Nuun tab each) and 1-10 oz Carbo Pro solution (5 scoops, 560 calories). I don't remember when I drank what, but as we did not pay for the race, I didn't want to drink any of the fuel/water on the course. So, I was trying to pace my fuel/liquid so I would have enough to hit the finish line with energy. Even though I was being conservative, I could see I wouldn't make it to the finish. Back to the run. We headed downhill out of Del Mar heading towards the Torrey Pines hill. I was dreading it big time. It comes at only mile 14 of our run, but as I was not feeling it today, I knew it would be a struggle. (I've avoided giving out other names in this blog as I do not know that others want me to use their names in here. It takes a bit out of the stories to not mention the names. So I will change my approach now. Please let me know if you'd rather me not mention your name.) We hit the bottom and pass Amy and Anthony as they are heading up the fun little hill. I was feeling like crap, but since I saw them walking, I say hi and offer words of encouragement and wish them luck. As most of you know, I was running with Andy. I could tell he was full of energy and he usually likes to push it up this hill. I told him to go, but he didn't want to leave me. I struggled, and struggled and eventually made it to the top. By this time, I was nearly out of fuel. I was hurting big time. Andy ran up ahead to the water stop and got a drink. As I got there, I had to get a drink. I got a cup or two and walked the station to get my HR back down. (My ribs are still hurting so I still cannot run with my HR strap on. Probably a good thing not to see how bad things were.) We take off again running together. By this time, I'm way overheated, my ribs hurt in front and by this time, I started to develop a matching pain right behind that spot in my back. Off and on to the finish line, this causes a lot of pain and agony. I was unable to talk towards the very end as it was getting worse.

The last 6-7 miles drug on and on. Looking at the image below, you can see how my pace continued to slow more and more and I took more and more walk breaks. My ribs were hurting worse as we'd go downhill so I was unable to even pick up the pace going down hill. I continued to take anything I could get from the water/fuel stations. I probably had 4-6 cups of whatever electrolyte drink they had and probably another 5ish cups of water. Even with that and everything in my fuel belt, I think I was still very dehydrated at the finish. I think I only took in about 350 calories of the Carbo Pro as everything sweet was making me nauseous. I was a walk a couple times to prevent my self from puking. In addition to that fun, I was also getting stomach cramps. I think I had a major electrolyte imbalance in addition to dehydration.

We eventually make our way down Prospect heading towards the Cove. At this point, people were asking those without numbers to peel off to the left. So Andy and I ran through La Jolla with the plan of going to the car to pick up my lottery form for St. George Marathon to give to John. We got to the car and my GPS showed 21.99. I had absolutely no desire to tack on the extra 1/100th of a mile to hit even 22 mile mark that my Type A running personality usually requires. I was done. Neither Andy nor I felt like walking approximately 1 mile down hill to give the form to John as it would also mean walking 1 mile up hill. So we got in the car and headed back to my car.

This was easily in my top 5 for worst running days of my life. It might just be number 2 right behind my 2004 Boston performance. It sucked. Partially because it ridiculously hot, but also because it was an extremely difficult race to run. On more than 1 occasion during that race I said I would never register for and run that race. It is a very scenic and beautiful course, but it is not easy. I like to push myself during races and with all the hills, I don't really feel like this is one that you can push yourself to PRs on. I guess if you want to do it for fun, it might not be so bad.

I was pretty much useless the rest of the day. I got home and hopped into a cold ice bath for a good 20-25 minutes. Usually a few hours after my 18+ mile runs I start getting a headache. My headache started about 1 hour after on Sunday. It either because I don't eat or drink enough during a run. I guess this is another indicator that I was dehydrated. I didn't do too much else the rest of the day other than just be tired. I was ready for bed at 7:30 and fell asleep at 8:30 as my wife was watching TV. I woke up as she shut the lights off at 9 and was out again pretty quickly. I slept a good 9 hours last night and was still quite tired yet today. Wow, what a day.

I'm thinking this may put a bit of a damper on my idea of 100 miles this week. I already altered the schedule as I was planning on running to work today. My car showed that Sunday hit 100 right outside my house. Temps were supposed to be about 15 degrees cooler, but my thermometer at showed 100. Ugh! Another hot one. Another good reason that I didn't run to/from work today. I did force myself to get out there and do 5.5 slow miles today. It was 97 degrees at that time. Bad, but at least I was expecting it this time.

As I tend to be a bit of an idiot, here is the plan for the rest of the week. Tomorrow is ATP with the group, Wednesday, I may run to work and Thursday will be something like a 15 mile tempo run at projected race pace which is about 7:05. Friday will be a day off and then Saturday will be 15-18 miles. If I do all this, I will end the 7 day period with approximately 85-90 miles. Short of 100, but quite a bit nevertheless. I know, I'm an idiot. On that note, I've got some things I need to do before I try to get some sleep tonight.

Food Journal

  • 1 1/2 bowls of Cinnamon Oatmeal Crunch with 12 oz Skim Milk
  • Whole Wheat Penne with Meat Sauce and Chicken (left overs)
  • PowerBar
  • 2 Pop-Tarts
  • Tombstone Pizza
  • 157 oz Water
  • 25 oz Coffee
  • 12 oz Diet Dr. pepper
  • 24 oz Skim Milk

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