Oct 7, 2008
The Twin Cities Marathon may be the end of the seaon for many, but for me, it was the kick-off to 2009. After Steelhead, I kicked into gear, and started my training for Ironman 70.3 New Orleans. My plan is to stay in shape and work on my weaknesses. I also really want to take my running to the next level. I thought Twin Cities would be a great place to start. I was also looking forward to the first marathon with my "proven" nutrition strategy.
I was planning to drive to Minneapolis the Friday before the race, but got delayed in Madison. My wife had been on travel, so I hated to leave right when she got back. I stayed in Madison Friday night and left at 4:30am so I could meet my teammates Rob and Michelle at Hell's Kitchen by 9:30. I made good time, and was only a few minutes late. We met Scott from BMC, and had a great discussion about the 2009 season. After breakfast (lasted until almost noon), I picked up my race packet and ate more food. I also drank plenty to top off my tank.
The forecast looked OK, but I was prepared for anything. I put out clothes for scenario 1, scenario 2, and scenario 3! After a great night of sleep, I woke to rain. Looks like it will be the scenario 2 outfit that consisted of shorts, Ironman Wigwam socks (love these), a long sleeve shirt, visor, vest, Garmin and my nutrition. I was prepared for cold and wet. I got my wish. As for nutrition, I was wickedly excited to test my Ironman successful nutrition strategy. The key has been NUUN and Carbo Pro. As I have said before, whatever works for YOU is the key. The key is that I just cannot take pills (salt tabs) and without them I was never getting enough electrolytes. Gatorade makes me totally sick after about 2 hours, and so I was left with very little. I used my 1.5 NUUN tabs per bottle and went from 1.5 scoops of Carbo Pro to 1 scoop. I find that on the run, I take in just a few fewer calories to keep my stomach in check.
In order for me to carry this, and really the only down side, is I need to carry the mixture in a Camelbak. It holds almost four full bike bottles. I don't see many runners with them on, but I love it! After a mile, I forget it is on. During a marathon, and in training, I can make it to about mile 19 before I run out. That is a huge benefit as I don't need to stop at water stops, and my nutrition is in perfect sync. I mix the bottles to make sure I get my perfect mix, and dump them in the Camelbak.
After stretching at the Dome (where the Vikings play), I went to the start line. I somehow made a mistake and was about 10,900 of 11,000 runners. It took me over 5 minutes to cross the start line. I could see people laughing at my Camelbak, but I was determined to see if my nutrition strategy was going to work. In my past 10+ marathons, the last 10k has been miserable at best. Time to see what happens.
So I start the race just trying to not fall over the people around me. It took the first mile just to see the street below me. My first mile was 9:40. Nice! Anyway, I was really only trying to run sub 4 for the day, and it was early in my season. I watched the Garmin and knew that I could certainly run very easy and make 8:35 pace until mile 20. It was 20-26.2 I was not sure about this early in the year. Mile 2-8 were perfect. I was feeling like a nice jog in the park, only is was more like a jog in the pool as the rain was coming down hard. I had predetermined I would walk for 3 minutes at mile 8. It was early in the race, but had done it by accident in training, and it felt great. All my miles from 2 - 8 where about 8:15. Mile 9 was 9:50 with the walking. I was back to running and felt incredible. I had a 7:43, 7:50, 9:01 and the rest at about 8:15 until mile 18. I had decided to walk 3 minutes again. I was feeling awesome, but didn't mind the walk. After that I got back and was preparing for the melt down. In all my races, it didn't matter how I felt, it just happened. The WALL! My NUUN and Carbo Pro were gone. Bummer, but it got me to mile 20 feeling like a million dollars. NO WALL!
At mile 20, I ran an 8:06. What? Huh? Mile 21 was an 8:46. Huh? Where's the wall? Mile 22 was a 9:06. I walked for 2 minutes and decided after that I would give it all I had. I was still feeling perfect. Nothing hurt. I was smiling and chatting with the crowd. I thanked as many volunteers as I could and said "Good Morning" to at least 1000 people. So at mile 23, I felt a tad tired, but I still felt nothing. I felt a slight cramp from time to time, but said, not today and kept running. I didn't look at the Garmin, but the next day I saw I ran 24 = 8:46, 25 = 9:14 and 26 = 9:12. I didn't feel like I slowed at all, but I must have.
I finished in 3:47. Not too bad for my first run of the new season. I'm completely convinced that my problem for all those years was not the work. It was not the training, it was the nutrition. Plain and simple. I did not get the proper nutrition. At the end I was well hydrated, felt great, and never hit much of anything during the race. I cannot say enough about my NUUN / Carbo Pro combination. I know I have to carry it, but it got me to mile 20 singing in the rain! Literally! Please remember that nutrition is so individual, but for me I finally get the right balance of electrolytes and calories. I walked out of that race wanting to do another. That has never happened before! I'm totally excited and already looking to run at least one marathon in 2009! Now I know I can do it. I can race and not feel like death at mile 20. Now I know I can get my times down. I can't wait for 2009!