Sunday, June 05, 2005

Race Day in San Diego

Up very early to drive to the start. Anita, Kai and Gizem were race crew so we could drive right to the start. Jim and I headed off to the starting area.

I had a clif bar, some coffee and then some gatorade just before the start.

Moments before the race start, the corral was packed. There was almost no way to get in. Stood in line, outside the corral, waiting for the start. At the start, the crowd surged and it still took several minutes just to force our way into the corral, which of course was moving rapidly. Once in, though, fell into rhythm quickly.

OK, I pushed too hard. And I didn't drink nearly enough fluid. I was moving pretty fast. Too fast. By mile 8 or so, I realized I was sweating way too much. At the halfway mark, my split was close to what I wanted. Unfortunately, my condition wasn't, and I was only half way through (distance-wise). At mile 16 the cramps started. This was really bad. At Tucson, I had made it to mile 22 before I cramped. In all my training, I had done 20 and 22 mile runs with no cramping. Now, at mile 16, the cramps were starting. Yes, I was dehydrated. Fought the cramps for 6 miles. Alternating running, walking, stretching (in various orders). By mile 22, was feeling sick and stopped to try and use the restroom. Big mistake. Apparently, running/walking acts like a second heart, pumping blood from your extremities to the rest of your body. When I stopped, my blood pressure dropped. Things started going dark. I had just walked past a medical tent so I turned around. I just about passed out as I crashed on one of their cots. Ice packs under my arms, legs lifted. Lay there for ten or fifteen minutes. Ate salt. Drank water. Sat there for ten or fifteen minutes. Drank more. Ate more salt. Hung around for another fifteen. Forty or fortyfive minutes after crashing there, I finally gathered the resolve to finish the marathon, even if it meant walking the rest of the way.

On the plus side, the cramps had stopped. Also, by the time I finished, there was no more lactic acid build-up. My recovery would be fast. My time was about 5:35. A far cry from my first marathon (4:00:01 in Tucson). Disaster. I learned a lot about myself. I sweat a lot. I need to drink 4 times the amount I was drinking that day. Start with something salty before the race, maybe some pretzels. Maybe a bigger breakfast. I also had the resolve to finish it. Bravo.


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