Marathon Day and what a day it was. Not going to say it was my best performance, but I did learn a shit ton and am happy with the outcome.
Woke up at 3:30am to have enough time to eat and visit the comfort station before having to drive an hour to the start. Last nights meal did not sit well with my stomach. Don’t know if it was too much meat, not enough fiber, anyway I had a lot of quality time with my bathroom magazines before leaving. Ate Spiced Yam Bake for breakfast as well as had a small cup of coffee with some coconut milk. Sorry no pictures from today, was too caught up with the race day excitement
On the drive to the start I drank a Kombucha tea and ate a banana. Lots of visits to the bathroom, I tend to have to pee a lot when I’m nervous and I was super nervous about my first race back after taking six months off. My goal for the race was to go out and run what my body felt comfortable with and have fun.
The race started at the top of Snoqualmie Pass and followed the Iron Horse trail down to North Bend. The first couple of miles are through a dark and damp old railroad tunnel where head lamps are required. It was pretty surreal to be running in the tunnel with 400 other runners. The whole time I was wondering what it would have been like to have built the tunnel back in the day. Through the tunnel the trail leads you downhill through beautiful wildflowers, over old railroad bridges and it seemed like around every corner were amazing picture worthy vistas. I had a great time, was eating my food (dehydrated raspberries, strawberries, mangos, fruit leathers, baby food in a handheld water bottle, and a water bottle filled with apple juice/water/salt) and feeling the love from the beautiful terrain and my fellow running friends. All was great until I hit the mile 11 marker.
Things started to get ugly at mile 11. I started to slow down and knew I was well on my way to a good ‘ol bonk. Quickly I downed more food and waited for my sugar levels to rise while walking down the course. (If you’ve never experienced a bonk, its different for every person, but for me I get really negative, my pace slows considerably and I start to weave and wobble, you’d think I was drunk if you saw me.) I waited and waited. Upon arriving at mile 13 I finally started to feel better and ran into my husband who gave me some more food from his stash. What a gentleman. It took a good 5 more miles to feel normal again. It was the biggest and longest bonk I’ve ever experienced. I don’t really remember miles 13-18 and was probably on the verge of passing out, not good.
After mile 18 things got a lot brighter and I was back on track to finish in a decent time. Crossing the finish line felt great, though it was a good 45 minutes slower than I was on track to finish in. I learned a lot from this race, the biggest thing is that I will continue to eat fast acting simple sugars during a race (Gu, Gatorade etc.). I’ve decided I will eat clean before and after a race, but during, I’d rather have a good time and eat what I know works than to continue to experiment. I know there are a few strict paleo athletes out there who do well with it, but for me it’s not an option at this time, at least for races more than 90 minutes.
All in all it was a great experience and am so happy to be back running marathons.