Ever Ate A 20 LB Turkey And Drank A 2 Liter Bottle of Warm Coke Before A Marathon?

The Hungry 3:10 Pack at Mile 20

The Hungry 3:10 Pack at Mile 20

Somewhere along the way to today, my train went off the track. But when life is a little chaotic, sometimes it’s hard to tell when the road is just bumpy or if I’ve actually veered off the road, especially when I’m running around in the dark at night. I’ve also realized there are two ways to learn the lessons life wants to teach me: the hard way and the easy way. I’ve come to the realization that I prefer learning my lessons the hard way. Let me fill you in on a little secret: sleep isn’t overrated. I’ve told myself for a long time that sleep is highly overrated and when I need to squeeze more things in, I can just sleep less. I’m discovering that the lack of good sleep is probably important. The past few weeks (well let me be honest and say the past couple years) good sleep has been difficult. Even a couple weeks ago on vacation, I felt like a walking zombie. The yawn is the first thing out of my mouth in the morning. What in the world is wrong with me? When my head hits the pillow, usually around 11:30, I’m out before I whisper “Goodnight”. Am I just getting older? I need to go to bed earlier. Dylan was going through a bit of a rough patch with our constant travel schedule and seemed to be waking up the past week around 2 AM then again a little after 5 AM for good. He gets his naps. However, no such luck for me on the naps. So sleep lately seems to come in 2 1/2 to 3 hour spurts through the night and never a solid, deep sleep.  

What does any of this have to do with the California International Marathon today…  

This week, the body just never felt right. When I went for a run I felt OK but it felt like I had just ate a huge Thanksgiving meal and and drank a 2 liter bottle of warm Coke just before I started my run. And that’s how I felt all day today, like I was running on a full stomach. You ever had the sloshy stomach sound when you run? That was mine from the start to the finish. Not a great feeling. Swish. Swish. Swish. Sounded like I was running with a CamelBak bladder under my shirt. All I had for breakfast was a cup of tea. I ate rice and oatmeal yesterday. Very simple. So I point to the lack of sleep as the culprit. It can only be his fault. And on top of that, I lost my mind somewhere in the afternoon yesterday. I forgot my bib and timing chip at home. I’ve run dozens of marathons and never once forgot either. This marathon I forgot both! Never underestimate the importance of that checklist.  

But all in all, things could have been much worse. The legs? The legs felt fresh all day. I had a great group of runners with me for most of the marathon. Conditions were good, cold and dry although we did battle a headwind during some sections. Temps dipped into the low 30’s at the start and never made it much higher. Usually, during many of the marathons I develop a quick side stitch or maybe a tight muscle but run through it and it goes away. Not so today. Right away I could hear my stomach sloshing around. I waited and waited for it to improve until finally at mile 15, my stomach felt like it was a bottle of Coke on the verge of exploding. So I asked one of the guys in the group to carry the sign for a stretch and I ran up ahead to find a port-a-potty. As I found my seat, my watch stopped. I had it set for Auto-Stop by accident and so now I didn’t even know the clock time. (Kevin reminded me later that I should have sat on the toilet waving my arms back and forth to keep the watch going!) A minute or two later I emerged and chased after the group. It was actually nice to see this huge pack of 40+ runners staying together so late in the marathon. Around mile 21, many of the runners started to drift ahead but about 10 or so hung with me for the last few miles. Between mile 25 and 26, I sent the remaining ones ahead and held back for a couple runners working hard. I finished around 3:09:40 and suddenly all the blood must have flooded back to my stomach because I started feeling worse. I congratulated some of my new friends and heard about a few PR’s but I kept the conversations short fearing I might throw up on them at any moment and ruin their prized bib with whatever was sloshing around in my stomach. Then I found Nicole and Dylan and after some hot chocolate, things began to settle down.   

Really enjoyed running with the group today. A lot of strong runners in that 3:10 pack and even with the headwinds, a few ran PR’s. Well done. Now, it’s almost midnight and it’s snowing outside and I really need to try for a few hours of good sleep.  

For you data junkies, here’s the data from my Garmin watch. 

Hi Michael,

Just a quick note to thank you once again for the awesome pacing.  You were by far the best pacer I ever ran with and I couldn’t believe how steady you were.  I most definitely would not have run a PR without your help!!!  I didn’t make 3:10 but I did not do bad for a 40 year old Canadian girl.  Ended up with a 3:12:39 and stayed with you up until about the 22 mile mark.  Legs just weren’t co-operating anymore and I sure did miss the pack once I fell off the back.  In fact, I thought the entire race was just a big crowded mess until I realized it was just your big pack.  Once I fell off the back, I was all alone.

The only thing that kept me sorta together were your words at the start which I kept repeating the last 4 miles.  “It’s all mental”!!!

Good times, hope to be back again one year.  Thanks again I had a great time – went for short run in Napa before the wine tours started on Tuesday and am no worse for wear.

Thank you,  Carmen Pavelich #5082

PS  Just so you know . . . .  I was not in 3:10 shape but I picked you because I decided if I had to run behind someone, he may as well be good looking.

Hey Michael,   

Just wanted to say thanks for the help in the race this past Sunday.  The pace team was awesome and turned out to be a huge help.  I feel behind you guys around 19 but did manage to PR by 3.5 min (3:13:46).  It was not my day for Boston, but it was an amazing race and I will be back next year! 

Thanks for the help, 

Hello Michael,
I’d like to thank you for being my pacer in the marathon on Sunday. In large part thanks to you I got a new PR of 3:09:35 (my previous PR was 3:23:45 in Berlin this year).

Although I ran slightly in front of you for most of the race, during the last 3 miles you caught me up. If it wasn’t for your encouragement over those last couple of miles, and especially over the last mile I certainly wouldn’t have broken 3:10.
I still can’t believe how consistently you ran the course! When you were running you hardly seemed to be using any effort. If you don’t mind my asking, what’s your PR?!
Thanks again for helping me qualify for Boston in 2011!


4 thoughts on “Ever Ate A 20 LB Turkey And Drank A 2 Liter Bottle of Warm Coke Before A Marathon?

  1. Hi Michael,

    You did a fantastic job of pacing 3:10:00 in the Eugene Marathon last year and I was wondering what your pacing schedule is for this year. I might be looking at Eugene, but the Big Sur has really caught my attention. Does the Clif team pace that one? Also, I’m starting to think about switching gears soon to trail running. Is there a good trail running shoe out there that you might recommend?

    Congrats again on a fantastic year of racing. I’m still shaking my head in amazement that you conquered the RAAM on your first try. Following your race every day on the website was incredibly inspiring and one of the highlights of my year. That inspiration really carried over into my training for the Hood To Coast in August and the Portland Marathon in October where I PR’d with a 3:04:16. Now I’m looking to get a sub 3 if my body cooperates.

    Happy New Year,


  2. Dave,

    Congrats on the PR at Portland. Had a friend run that same race and heard it wasn’t an easy day. Looks like you are well on your way to the sub 3 time. What was Hood to Coast like – must have been crazy! CLIF did pace Big Sur last year but the pace times were pretty slow since the course is very hilly. I didn’t run it but the course looks awesome.

    As far as trail shoes, I usually just run in a shoe with some thick traction. I’m a big fan of Pearl Izumi XC shoes because they fit so well right out of the box. I can also throw on a pair of Nike shoes as long as there is good support. Check out Salomon as a few friends love their shoes. I was passed last year during a 50 mile trail race by a guy running in flats and another friend has started running in socks so take your pick.

    Hope the New Year starts well for you in Eugene. Hope to be back in 2010. We loved the area and the community.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s