|This is me at IM Arizona after getting a flat while winning the race.|
As a seasoned marathon veteran, I know how marathons can unfold; and so, 20 years after my first marathon (Chicago, 1993), I still have a very healthy respect for the distance. I am acutely aware as one’s time goals get faster, you must race harder, take more risks, and thus, the potential for failure is even greater. Since I am not afraid to fail, I often go down in flames.
Coming in to this race, my biggest concern was my Achilles/calves. I was lucky enough to have a quick recovery from the tear I incurred in August. With some concerted treatment and several weeks of Alter G running, four weeks after the initial injury, I was back on track. Regular treatment, stretching, and strengthening actually helped my calves so much I felt they were healthier than they had been all summer. I also wore compression socks 24/7, which often meant walking around looking like a poser when I wore shorts on the hot days. Or, perhaps, I am on the precipice of a fashion trend that will someday become main stream.
My race day plan was to hold 6:05 pace, which I successfully ran through mile 21. Everything felt comfortable – my breathing was relaxed, my form felt good – I was biding my time until mile 20 where I planned to get aggressive and tackle the hilly, last 10k with vigor.
I went through 20 miles at 2:02, a solid 2:40 pace. I was feeling encouraged that the race was unfolding according to plan. And then, BAM. Just like that, I got the dizzies. It hit me so hard and so fast, I was shocked. I started to push the Salt Stick tablets and drink more water, but the dizzies got worse. I found myself staggering along the course, weaving from one side of the road to the next. I was whimpering as I ran up the hills, and all I wanted to do was lie down on the pavement and nap it out. At mile 24 I was uncertain that I would actually make it to the finish line. The dizziness was overwhelming and the desire to stop was getting stronger with every passing step. It was very difficult to see my goals disintegrate minute by minute and to get passed and passed and passed by my competitors.
|Running with the dizzies -- I am not too happy!|
When I crossed the finish line, I immediately collapsed. The absolute worst thing you can do when you have the dizzies is to stop moving. So, naturally, when I stopped moving, I could no longer stand. It made for quite a dramatic finish and a trip to the medical tent for the first time in 5 years.
|Courtesy of blogs.twincities.com|
|In honor of upcoming Hawaii Ironman, this is me after finishing Kona in 1999 with the dizzies.|
In hindsight, I believe the dizzies came on from the spacing of the aid stations during the first 20 miles of the race. The aid stations were every 2.5 miles, not nearly enough, even on a cool day. I just need more liquid. Plain and simple. I’m not sure which marathon I will run next, but one thing is certain. I will be carrying a water bottle with me.