Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Race Recap: Endless Summer 6 Hour Run

I knew this run was set to be a hot one. As race day approached, record highs were being busted all across the Mid-Atlantic. To say the least, I was not looking forward to running in such conditions. Summer is probably my least favorite time of the year to train and race. The body simply doesn't perform as well in warmer temperatures. But, as always, I looked forward to the challenge!

The race took place at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis, Maryland on a 4.15 mile looped course. My goal for the race was to run a 50K, which is a little over 31 miles. Before the race started, all runners were required to have their weights checked and printed on their bibs. At the 2 and 4 hour mark, we were instructed that we would have to weight in again to make sure our weights were within the tolerances of acceptable weight loss. If it was not, the runner would be pulled from the race.

The race started at 7:30, but the early start didn't help much as the temperature was already pushing 90 degrees. I was practically sweating before I even took my first stride! I decided to wear my hydration pack to ensure I always had a supply of water to continue to hydrate with. The first lap was uneventful and I completed it in about 40 minutes. After reloading with some Gatorade and a Gu, I was off for my next lap.

I finished my second lap with about 4 1/2 hours remaining in the race. Passing through the aid station, a medic asked how I was feeling. The tone of her voice led me to believe that she seemed concerned (Maybe because I was already drenched in sweat?). I told her I felt good. She suggested I take a couple salt tablets to keep my sodium levels in check. After popping the salt tablets and munching on half of a PB&J, I set off for my next lap.

The 3rd lap is when I noticed I wasn't feeling so good. In a previous post, I mentioned how eating and drinking on the run is a balancing act. If you don't eat/drink enough, you're gonna crash out.  But, if you eat/drink too much, you risk upsetting your stomach. Well, I was certainly feeling the latter of the two. Needless to say, it was a bit of a slow going on the 3rd lap.

I completed my 3rd lap around the 2-hour mark. At the aid tent, I was instructed by the medical personnel to go weight in. My weight before the start was 185 pounds. At my first weight in, I was already down to 181 pounds. I was told that I was pushing the limits of being too under weight.

After taking a little extra time to hydrate, I headed out for my 4th lap. Things didn't get much better for me, in fact, things only seemed to get progressively worse...very frustrating. I was soaked head to toe in sweat. I felt I had reached a point where I couldn't keep up with my sweat loss. My stomach was packed full of water and Gatorade and I felt if I took another sip, I'd get sick. Long story short, my body was telling me, "Yep, we are done for the day Doug."

I finished my 4th lap a little over the 3 hour mark, with 16.5 miles clocked on my watch. I hopped on the scale to see what my weight was and I had lost another pound. Not good. I stood at the aid tent for about 10 minutes contemplating whether or not to continue. I had never dropped out of a race I started, and the thought of doing so did not sit well with me. Yet, I knew to continue in the state I was in was not a wise idea. In running, you have to know your limits and I had exceeded mine that day. However, it was still very hard for me to walk up to the starters table and inform them I was dropping from the race.

Looking back, I have no regrets for dropping out. It was the right decision. Sure, that evening (after a solid 4 hour nap) I was pretty bummed I hadn't finished, but better to live to run another day, right?

My next scheduled race is the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon in early October. But, knowing me, I'll find something to run in between now and then!


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