Oh boy... :) New personal worst in a 24 hours for me :) LOL! But this is not a disappointment by any means. I never planned to run a good 24 this weekend. I just wanted a long run and the chance to have a good race. If it wasn't going well, I was going home.
I would have never registered for a 24 hour race at this point in my year. My focus after last year has been on shorter races (50 miles and under) and those races have gone very well for me. I registered for 3 Days, only because it is the only 24 hour race in NJ and an hour drive from my house. If I felt good, I had a chance at running well, but I haven't had a good 24 hour race in a long time so I didn't expect to run great.
I actually would have preferred a 12 hour race over a 24 hour race, but the 12 hour started at 9 pm. I didn't want to run a 12 hour through the middle of the night, because the late start would just slow down the effort. If I ran a 12, I wanted to test nutrition and hydration at a brisk pace and see what I am doing that is messing me up in the second half of a 24. I signed up for the 24 and planned to run a hard 12 and see how I felt after, but at the same time I wanted to be able to try to stay in for 24...
Where I messed up this day is that I was thinking about running a good 12, while trying to stay in it for a 24 hour run. I should have just focused on one goal, and it should have been to stop at 12 from the gun, rather than having conflicting goals. I didn't run a good 12 or stay in it for 24 because my focus was all over the place.
What I learned was not new information. Most, if not all, of my issues with 24 hours is that I no longer LOVE the idea of 24 races because I have had so many horrible nights trying to run fast and getting sick. I have thrown up so much in them that as soon as the gun goes off, all I can think about is when will the puking start. Everything I eat or drink in a 24 hour makes me worry, but if I don't eat or drink I will not be able to function in the later hours.
In a 50 or under, I can run well on very little. I can run until I am ravenous, then stop and eat. In a 24, I can't run myself into that kind of deficit and still function later in the race. I know enough to know a good strategy in a 24 is to try to stay on top of hydration and nutrition by grazing as I go. Too much or too little is going to be a problem. Trying to figure out what is just enough has been hard for me.
Historically, I learned that I do better with liquids vs solids and I also do best with gluten free carbs. I tried to drink until I felt my stomach was getting full, allowing maximum but comfortable amounts of fluid to absorbed. I would let things settle for a lap or two and then snack on a small amounts of solid food (a few potato chips, a few bites of something gluten free) that did not make me feel too heavy or to queazy. I found alternating sweets and salty foods works for me. I tried to stay at a point where I didn't feel like I wanted to throw up, but the nausea was present, lurking in the background, and just waiting to make it presence known. This was the case at 20 miles in. At 40 miles I fully was fighting the urge and it made little sense that I felt nausea so early.
As for pacing, I don't ever plan to go out and not plan for a good run. I started off with one 8:30 mile and then worked on slowing it down and picking walking spots to add so I can get my splits to 10:00. It took about 4 laps to work out my system. Soon, I was cruising along with Kathleen through laps at 9:55's. I allowed more fade into the 10's. Added longer walks here and there to make it slower and less intense (hoping that will stop the puking).
I hit 25 miles and notice tendons around my right knee was getting painful. Nothing has hurt me all year, so this aggravated knee was new and concerned me a lot. I did not want to run a crappy 24 and come home truly broken from it. I figured it would pass and considered taping it, but also suspected maybe my mind was playing tricks on me and the knee was just fine.
I started walked to see if the pain would go way. I walked several laps with Trishul and his Jack Russel, Dart. We had a wonderful discussion about my cancer history, my struggles with 24 hours, his experiences with racing, and whether the way my body functions under stress is impacted by what I have been through in the past. Sometimes I think it is related and others times I am not sure. He recommended some great things for me to try and I will look into it all. We both also considered that a lot of what I struggle with is somatic and based on the idea that I am expecting to struggle so I do. He referred to it as "The Law of Attraction." I understand it as a "Self-Fulling Prophecy".
Regardless of what we call it, the beauty of races going poorly for stress-related issues is that there is a good chance that once I figure out how to manage the stress I am creating, I will likely have an amazing break through run. When a race goes poorly for physical reasons, it can sometimes be harder to break through. I actually have hopes that some day (way into the future) I will find my flow in these longer events.
After 40 miles, when the nausea returned, I walked again with Alanna and aimed to hit 50... but as I hit 45, I decided that my knee was still angry, my nausea was in full force and I just really wasn't happy at all. I cut my losses and packed up. And as soon as I stopped, surprise, the nausea was getting better. I stuck around the race, still running around to help other runners while trying to find a new purpose for being there. Then I left to get a shower and meal.
It was nice to not throw up, but sad to run so poorly. However I had invested so little in this event that I not too upset about it.
What I really want to do now is return to my focus of 50 mile races and under and see what I can do at those shorter distances. 50 miles fits better in my life at the moment. I feel to much guilt asking Sid to travel to far away places while I run, and then I am too worn out to do anything fun with him. He ends up spending a lot of time in nice places alone or doing nothing... Short races at least allow me to spend more time with him when he does travel with me and I feel better about that decision, despite him never complaining or asking me to change anything.