The Hamsterwheel Marathon: Race Report

One of the beneficial things about running a treadmill marathon is: the starting line is waiting for you to press “start”. I definitely missed my mark this morning, waking up with the sun peaking through my curtains and thinking: “SH!OOTAH!” I looked at my alarm clock and it read 8:15. Good thing it was supposed to go off at 6:45am so I could have my morning cupa brew with peanut butter and jelly toast for breakfast because I was supposed to meet Marg and Erik at 7:30. Crap. I was still able to grab a cup of coffee while flying out the door, but missed the toast.

After a good panic-mode gear-up, Baberaham and I got in the car and headed to the SDC. Belts were moving for him and I by 8:40am, and Erik and Marg were already a good 4-5 miles ahead of me. The cool thing? We all got to still run side-by-side, even though they were so far ahead. Marg’s plan wasn’t to run the full marathon, but she was gonna give’r until she felt like not givin’r anymore. Erik- he wanted to shoot for a sub 3hr marathon pace to see if he was where he wanted to be in his training. Baberaham wanted to get in a long run. My personal goal: Run 26.2miles on the ‘mill. Time? Not important. Just stay steady, and increase my pace every hour or so.

Once I got moving, I tried to collect myself from the late-start anxiety by listening to an hour of Alexi Murdoch’s album “Time Without Consequence.” It helped me find my center and I got through the first 7.1 miles like a breeze. The treadmills all auto-stop after 60mins, giving us all a break on the hour to restart the speed.

Round 2- 5.8 miles, with some faster music on my ears.

Round 3- 7.4miles- slightly faster pace and faster music, and I caved and turned on the television (Geronimo was on AMC). Marg left after she finished around 18miles, a pretty gnarly job. Erik also stepped off the belt around 24miles, but was on pace for a 2:47marathon, and thought: what’s really the point of pushing it those last two miles in a training run?

Round 4 – last 6miles, faster pace yet (with a few miles between 7:15-7:30) and the last two miles were a slowed, cool down if-you-will. I got a little nervous that I might get booted from the Fitness Center because I was in there before it officially opened, but no one seemed to care. My headphones came off (intentionally) with two miles to go because I was over the feeling of having buds in my ears. I also started craving the bubbly, sweet nectar of beer. Baberaham promised me I could drink some, once I finished the run, and we went home. Talk about motivation! I hit 26.2miles at 3:36, total time, with a bathroom break and the stops between treadmill restarts.

How I felt: Not too shabby, actually. The first hour went by fast, and the second hour as well. It wasn’t until the last two miles that I thought: “OK, I’m ready to be done.” In the last 10K, I felt better and wanted to push the pace a little more. I wanted to be tired when I was done but not over-taxed. And I wasn’t over-taxed. Baberaham and Erik chilled out until I finished and cheered me on in the last few miles, which was nice. I feel good now, minus some muscle soreness which is expected (and really not anything more than I normally get after a long Sunday run). I think some Trigger Point this evening will get rid of all that.

Necessary items: hand towel for wiping the sweat off my face, Headsweats visor, two chilled-over-night water bottles, fully loaded and fully charged iPod, phone (for the calculator function, of course, so I could keep track of miles; the ‘mill autorestarts after 60minutes!), snacks (including Honey Stinger chews and EFS liquid shot).

Wanna do one, too? Try this:

  1. Make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area. If the treadmill-room is small, make sure you get a fan blowing air on you.
  2. Treat it like a race-day.
    • Get a good night’s sleep.
    • Eat a decent dinner the night before.
    • Test your race-day nutrition like you would follow for a race.
  3. Talk some friends into doing it, too! (helped me stay motivated, fo sho!) —>
  4. Get new music or a new podcast (something that will be enticing to listen to since you’ve never heard it before).
  5. Set up your station (make sure your nutrition is easy-access, one of the benefits of running on the treadmill. Start the run in an organized fashion and plan when you’re going to eat/drink).

Nutrition: Pre-run, I had a homemade fruit and nut bar (dates, almonds, cocoa nibs and cocoa powder) and a cup of Blue Ox Blend. In the first hour of the run, I had a pack of Honey Stinger chews and 3/4th a bottle of Kona Kola Nuun. Hour two: the rest of the Nuun and 1/4 bottle of Grape EFS, another pack of Honey Stinger chews and a few sips off my flask of EFS Liquid Shot (or what I refer to as frosting. So. good.). In the third hour, I had another half bottle of the EFS, went through half the EFS Liquid Shot flask. Last 40ish minutes, the rest of the EFS and chugged another bottle of water when I finished.

How I feel: Mood: I felt quite elated at mile 22, almost euphoric. The whole run just flew by, which is suprising since I was confined to a very finite space. Body: My legs are a little sore, and sitting for an hour means it takes a few minutes to get used to standing up. But I don’t feel like I normally do after running this distance.

Recovery nutrition: I had a glass of Nuun when I got home (because I was so frekkin’ thirsty!) and a bowl of falafel with sauerkraut. I am pretty sure I am allowed to eat whatever I want after a run like that, right? I just made myself an Ultragen shake (orange creamsicle) with peanut butter and milk. Bottoms up! (Don’t worry, the beer will be coming soon…)


About megankillian

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. I love biomechanics!

Posted on February 7, 2010, in marathon, race report, running, training. Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Gluten Free beer? Just wondering?

    • Gluten free, indeed. Lakefront Brewery out of Milwaukee makes a beer called New Grist- delicious session ale made from rice and sorghum!

  2. dang, that’s impressive — 3:36 !! . I once did a 4 mile run on a treadmil. once. you gotta come down and win grand island.

  3. Pretty amazing. I can’t believe you only had one potty break. Enjoy the calories, you deserve them!

  4. Great job, Megs! You’re cra–, I mean, awesome. You’re so awesome:)

  5. Nicely done – and what a cool idea (the side-by-side thing). I’ll have to try some of these tactics on my long TM runs – music at different speeds, upping the tempo for each chunk of time, etc. Two months to your first marathon this year, right?

    • Yep, almost two months exactly! Excite! Seriously, I am going to post some really good change-yer-pace music soon (remember Rockweiler by Method Man and Redman? Yeah, gooood song!).

  6. Awesome job today! I don’t know if I could think of a better feeling than reaching that “finish line” feeling strong and knowing you put in a good effort. Doing it on the TM adds an EXTRA extra layer of mental toughness training, and you clearly beasted it! šŸ˜‰

    btw – Kona Kola is my favorite Nuun flavor!!

  7. Crazy stuff…awesome run!! I can only imagine!!

  8. You are one tough chicka, with a very strong mind
    way to go, let me know if I can help your family in any way for the knoxville rev3

  9. Possible follow-up post idea: I’d love to hear more about what you gained mentally from the experience. I’m intrigued by the idea of a treadmill marathon as a sort of religious experience, like fasting, that helps you appreciate what you take for granted and honor those who don’t have the same. In any case, amazing physical performance! I don’t think I coulda lasted!

  10. Alberto (TJrunr)

    We got a word for you down here ‘Loca’
    Great job on your 26.2 on the TM, can’t even imagine.

  11. I used to race 15 or so road races and 15 ski races every winter. I’m down to about 2-3 now and Grand Island is one I’ll never miss. Island marathon in Lake Superior in July? can’t beat it. (well, august 1st this year.)

  1. Pingback: My favorite fall running gear « in training

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