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…)

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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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