Five years ago when I was 30 years old, I did the 30th annual California International Marathon in a serious attempt to Boston Qualify. Unfortunately flooding rain that year created deep rivers on the road that I missed the mark by 5 minutes. It is a decent course if the weather is good (slight downhill, but running into a headwind makes up for it). Eventually I got the BQ goal at another race.
Fast forward 5 years into the future, where I and the race turn 35. This year is special, the USATF marathon championships means you have fast runners to chase. Many people Bessy and I know from San Diego were going – yea, we caught the FOMO bug. This is also a good chance for Bessy to shoot for a PR, as she is having a stellar year (she just P.R.ed in the half 2 weeks ago and ran a marathon the next day! 1:26 / 3:11 ).
Personally I had no hardcore goal in mind, as I already have run sub 3 marathon 5 times before, but it doesn’t mean I wont try! I set a few up (A = PR, B = sub 3, C = young man BQ, D = old man BQ, F = just finish). For training I used the same high volume formulas as before. Now I need to reveal, I was a bit underweight coming into this… since Carlsbad Marathon earlier in the year. My fatal error was being underweight and doing some intense workouts that led me to have red urine, aka rhabdo.
That is a sign of of muscles being used for fuel, instead of propelling you forward. So don’t believe that losing weight will always make you faster, there is a limit, especially if you are lean already. This is what cost Meb Keflezighi a year for the NYC marathon, where he was terribly injured thanks to trying to reach the weight of some of the Kenyans. I was trying to up the food intake, but sometimes I didn’t know when I was burning muscle, as I ignored pain easily – so I kept adding the mileage. This also hurt my stride, as many proper trained nuero muscle motors went missing.
Taper time I still didn’t think the lack of glycogen storage would hurt me – I enjoy a low carb diet. Race day this meant I would have to rely on Gels, and early. I started off at P.R. pace, but like Bessy did earlier this year, I was not feeling the need to eat and missed the appropriate time to intake the gel in order to maintain pace. At the 10k mark Bessy already passed me, then all the other folks I knew. I just held down like a rocket fizzling… remembering the true intent for me in this trip is the camaraderie to see all people I knew and are friends with push their best, which in the end they all did accomplish! Bessy hit a PR of 3:02, and I held on to goal D. Now its time to recover mentally and physically and take these lessons forward.