Last Saturday, October 18, I ran the Kansas City Marathon.
I noticed this year at the KC Marathon that there were a lot more Royals fans than what I remember from last year. Funny how that works. (The Royals are playing in the World Series, for those who don’t know. The World Series is like the World Cup championship match of baseball. Baseball is…oh, never mind.)
I ran the KC Marathon this year in 3:51, seven minutes better than last year. Yay! You have to claim small victories. I don’t have much to say about training or the race itself, it was all pretty uneventful, except for two small things:
1) I got hit in the back of the leg by a drone. I felt something whack me on my right calf not far out of the gate. I turned around and saw one of those helicopter drones trying to get back up in the air. People were having to weave out of its way. Earlier in the year I was at a triathlon and they used a drone like that to record some footage with a GoPro. I assume that’s what this one was doing.
2) I just about got taken out by a dude on a hand-crank wheelchair. As I understand it, the hand-cranks are the equivalent of a bicycle, so why he was using it in a running race is beyond me. In triathlon he’d use the hand-crank chair on the bike portion, and the, well, whatever you call those other racing wheelchairs where you actually have to turn the wheels with your hands, for the run. At any rate, this dude came screaming by me on a rather steep down hill. I caught sight of him at the last second and jumped out of the way. And I wasn’t the only one that had to avoid him. There were plenty of times I had to slow down and move over to avoid running over someone. I think that rule should apply to everyone.
The thing I wanted to tell you is that for three weeks leading up to the race I ate very few carbs, less that 50 grams per day, and some days less than 30. I had no sugar (minute traces, if any) for those three weeks as well. Though I normally eat few carbs, I’ve never restricted myself like that before. And I certainly didn’t carb load the night before (BBQ because we were in KC after all). Then, during the race, I used zero energy drinks, rehydrating only with water. Also, I didn’t use any gels, goos, energy bars, or fruit. What I ate was hazelnut butter, which I carried with me. So water and hazelnut butter. I used the hazelnut butter because, though it does have a few carbs, it has a good amount of fat and protein, so there is a good mix.
So, did any of that help? That’s a good question, but the answer is, I don’t think so. But, I don’t think it hurt and I don’t think I would have done any better taking in a bunch of carbs during the run. I still bonked pretty hard at around mile 18 (I know, so cliché), not unlike last year when I was taking in carbs. But I never walked. I actually “sprinted” in thanks to the leader of the 3:50 pace group. He just swept me up with his group and encouraged me to finish fast, which is what we did. Oh, and I only had to stop and pee once.
My plan was to hold an eight minute pace throughout the race. That would put me in at 3:30. That, in actuality, was a stretch goal. Realistically I thought I could do 3:45. Turns out I could only do 3:51. Maybe next year.
One more thought. I felt just as beat down after this race, a mere marathon, as I did after Ironman Louisville. Who can explain that to me?
I can explain it, or I’ll take a stab at it… You’re super-thin brother, so your body chemistry is on a razor’s edge. Mess with it a little and bad things happen. That whole “no sports drinks” thing is ultra not good unless you’re using electrolyte additives in that water. Try tasting your sweat, or think back to when you were running. I’d bet you lunch that it didn’t taste very salty. When you add a lot of water to depleted electrolyte reserves, you water down what little you do have. This slows you down big time. Been there, it sucks.
I think you’re on to something. I never feel like I’m getting enough sodium anyways, even drinking electrolytes, which I did in Louisville. Next season I hope I can get that balance right.
It took me a while to figure it out as well. For salt, I add some where it makes sense (fries, steak, clam chowder, etc.) and don’t worry much about it after that but I don’t limit my intake ever. As far as electrolytes go, we buy the powder Gatorade which I drink instead of water off of the bike. I only drink straight H2O when I’m riding. This works perfectly for me and I don’t miss soda as much (half the sugar and calories per serving). Good luck brother.