Failure to launch

July 27, 2010

After I got engaged, I wanted motivation to look terrific at my wedding. I’m a trainer, after all, and wanted to look like one.

So, I signed up for a marathon in Jersey on May 2nd. The training wasn’t terrible…in fact, 10 miles started to feel like a warm-up during the longer runs. My mind was in it. My eyes were on the prize: come August, I was gonna look bangin’ in that dress.

Then came my 20-mile day, the last of the training runs before the race, just 3 weeks away. My faithful fiance biked alongside me each mile, encouraging me, coaxing me with coconut water. “Babe, I got this,” I said, as I eased past mile 14.

Spring had sprung and the hottest summer on record was about to take over. It was 75 degrees. I was getting toasty.

Then came mile 17. Out of the blue, my legs didn’t want to move. The pain was so intense that I started sobbing uncontrollably. I wanted to die.

I had hit the proverbial ‘wall’.

“Hitting the wall” means that when working muscles have run out of glycogen (energy stores), the body turns to fat burning as a back-up. This process can be extremely painful to the athlete (I attest). I learned the hard way why an athlete carb-loads the night before a long run. You see, the body burns around 100 calories per mile. Most people store around 2000 calories of glycogen in their bodies. Clearly I only had around 1700.

I hobbled & wobbled home, but didn’t stop to walk once. Go me, I thought.

What happened next scared me from running my marathon: I became violently ill and lethargic. For many hours I had a difficult time keeping food down and seeing clearly. I had pushed my body past it’s limits. Just when I started to feel normal my neck snapped in the middle of the night. The doctor said I suffered ‘severe whiplash’ and sent me home with painkillers and muscle relaxers. I spent the next 10 days in agony.

Needless to say, marathon day came and went without my participation. I didn’t want to risk wearing a neck brace on my big day.

I’m running my third half marathon August 15th. Wish me luck!

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