Race day disasters

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05/02/2013 at 11:40

We are working on a feature for the magazine on race day disasters. We are really keen to hear your anecdotes on: 

  • Hitting the wall  
  • Runner’s tummy
  • Over hydration
  • Asthma attack

Or did something else go wrong? Tell us your race day woes here or send us an email to: editor@runnersworld.co.uk 

05/02/2013 at 11:49

Not exactly a nice positive note to start a feature on marathon running ;0)

Annie - How about a nice introduction. Who are you? What do you do at RW?

05/02/2013 at 11:51

During Frankfurt Marathon in October I hit the wall for the first time and dragged myself more than 10 miles to get to the finish line. Full story here: http://runninginlate20s.blogspot.com/2012/11/frankfurt-marathon-2012-as-it-happened.html 

 

05/02/2013 at 11:53

Losing my Good for Age time at London 2010 by 16 seconds due to the fact that the charity I was running for asked me stop for some photos by London Bridge....Damn it!

That'll teach me for posing!

 

Dave The Ex- Spartan    pirate
05/02/2013 at 11:53
I read RW and they have features on how to avoid race day disasters
05/02/2013 at 11:58

EH

You must be reading something different to me. There's no mention of marathons on the post I'm looking at.

Sounds like a reasonable request. 

05/02/2013 at 11:58

So... here's mine to add to the bucket.

My biggest race day disaster has not been a physical issue at all. My bowels work as they should, apart from the normal soreness - everything is working well so far but my one biggest struggle when it comes to running is mentally. The main issues that i've had on race day is that my head hasnt been in the right place and that's scuppered any chance/hope of a good day.

It was a looped course and normally I run really well on it because I know where i'm going and how long the laps are. This day I wasnt there. Every step was awful and felt like crap. I got to the second lap (of 7) and thought - this is my last lap. I'm done with this f*#*ing race. My head was blown out of the water and I was cursing everything around me, crying along the route and getting myself more and more worked up because it wasn't going right and my race day was ruined.

I was then met by a random runner who decided to join me "until the end of my lap".... and I stayed with them for the rest of the race. They helped me during my bad patch and I helped them through theirs.

A physical struggle can be overcome by stretching, painkillers, immodium etc but a bad mental state can affect you so much more and leave more scarred than a physical one.

05/02/2013 at 12:01

The one and only marathon I have run so far was a category of disasters from start to finish:

Two weeks prior to the race I went down with tonsillitis leaving me not as fit as I could have been with all my training. I recovered in enough time to run a 10 mile run before the race, but this wouldn't have prepared me for everything else. I stayed overnight in a strange B&B near Brighton (where the marathon was) it was basically an outside building that didn't really cover the all the requirements of somewhere to stay. My 2 year old daughter wouldn't sleep, I got 2 hours sleep.

I got to the race in plenty of time but it was freezing, luckily I had brought plenty of clothes. Then it got warm and warmer, and warmer.

After the first few miles I knew it was going to be hard work, running much slower and finding it a struggle. I took in my first gel after only 5 miles, this was going to be long.

A hill appeared and I started to feel dizzy and sick, I made it. But only just. I came down the other side to approach the half way point. I realised I needed the toilet so I ducked into a portaloo, the whole thing spun and there were spots in my eyes. I had to take a few minutes to calm myself down. 

I eventually came out and started to walk for a while, talking to runners along the way. I ran and walked and ran and walked.

I had a drink, and another, but I realised I was full. This wasn't comfortable at all, I couldn't bear it. I'd put too much inside me to keep going.

At this point I hit a wall. The Brighton marathon goes through an industrial estate, this is not that appealing when you're this tired and in need of motivation and encouragement. So I went to a dark place, a very dark place indeed. With bodies on the floor all around me, littering the pavement, casualties of the race. I wanted to just get to the end.

I made it, but only just. I was on course to run that at least an hour faster. I collapsed into a mess of tears and went to find my family and vow never to do it again....maybe.

05/02/2013 at 12:02
RicF wrote (see)

EH

You must be reading something different to me. There's no mention of marathons on the post I'm looking at.

Sounds like a reasonable request. 

Apologies - it's getting close to the VLM and this is normally around the time of year that something like this comes up. My bad if that's not the case and its about general race day disasters.

They also mention:

  • Hitting the wall: a term most often used during marathon training to refer to when people run out of glycogen stores
  • Over hydration: A concern for many marathon runners.
05/02/2013 at 12:09

Prepped for a 10k on the Saturday evening everything was sorted or so I thought, whilst getting ready I must have knocked the envelope that contained my timing chip onto the floor, the puppy who decided it was finders keepers buried it under his bed, it wasnt till I got to the event and chatted to my friends that I looked down and then the penny dropped I had to rush to the organisers tent and de-register the re-register then run to the start and start playing catch up. Its not a train smash but its hassle you can do without prior to a race.

05/02/2013 at 12:13

Not sure if I am allowed to post my url to my race report at the spooky sprint last year - this was possibly my worst ever race I was in so much pain and it taught me a lot - I am not embarraased about it as i am sure it happens to other people, we all have the same make up at the end of the day, - kind of sums up a rather race day disaster and must have happened to others x4 stops to go to the toilet....

http://www.runmoor.co.uk/past/spooky-sprint-2012/

05/02/2013 at 12:57

Mine isn't an actual race disaster but on the day of the county cross country champs I was woken by a popping sound somewhere in my house... turned out some dodgy wiring was fizzing and making sparks come out of the wall, right near the gas boiler. Turned off the mains (and the boiler, to be on the safe side) and spent the whole morning ringing every electrician in the yellow pages to to try and persuade someone to come out on a Saturday, not helped by the fact that most of them were off to the football. For ages the only one I could find (willing to come before the football!) could only come at a time that was going to make me miss the race. Eventually managed to get someone to come later in the evening, made it to the race with half an hour to spare, and was able to get a post-race shower at a friend's house. Not the most relaxing start to the race though!

05/02/2013 at 13:13

Last year I began attempting to do half marathons.  My first was Chester (a very very well organised event) in May.  I followed a very good training plan and did my long run (11 miles) 3 weeks before which went exceptionally well. 

Race day dawned and I was all set and ready to go.  Had a plan that I would run ten and a half minute miles, which I had done in training with no problems.  At the 5 mile marker I started to feel a bit unwell, a bit sick and bloated in the tum, however I continued and by 6.5 miles felt utterly dreadful.  I was so thirsty and couldn't understand why as I knew I could comfortably run 11 miles.

As the race progressed I felt worse and worse and presumed I'd 'hit the wall' - my body felt in lots of pain, I had a headache, but worst of all my head dropped and all this negative stuff just bombarded my head and I just couldn't understand what was wrong.

Anyway, this lovely lady caught up with me and we were just chatting as we jog/walked together and she very kindly offered me some of her electrolyte drink, as I just couldn't get enough water.  Within a few minutes I began to feel better and we finally finished the race together.

Not only did the lady's positive mental attitude help, but her kindness in sharing her drink with me basically got me round as I had almost reached the point of just stopping and waiting for the sweeper vehicle to pick me up.

I now know that the reason for my disaster was because race day was a scorcher and i had been training in wind and torrential rain and much lower temperatures.  As it was my first half marathon I wasn't experienced enough to know that I should have adjusted my mile times accordingly in order to get me round given that for the first 5 miles I was running pretty comfortably.  What I did also find out was how horrible it is to be at rock bottom and how easily the negative thoughts can enter your head if you are not mentally prepared as well as physically prepared. 

I finished in a bit of a state and vowed to never ever do that to myself again...........6 months later I completed my second half marathon and knocked 6 minutes off my previous time!  Roll on the next one!

cougie    pirate
05/02/2013 at 13:17
Where's Karen - she followed her GPS to a race - except she'd used the address of the race organiser rather than the HQ for the race itself................
05/02/2013 at 13:21

You see for me, a disaster is a football stand burning down, killing 56. A crush at a football ground killing 96, a plane exploding over a town, a ship sinking in the Baltic drowning over 800 people......

 

The wild sh***s, over hydration and needing a wee, forgetting your Garmin, missing a GFA time or a pb by 1 second, 1 minute, hardly qualify as a disaster do they? More a mild hiccup in your day, your week, your month. Even if it is a race you've trained for six months, does it matter?

 

If I am to waste my time sending an e-mail to the editor, I'll ask why my 8 year old spotted at five paces in Smith's that the male runner on the front cover has women's legs, why eat curry to relieve stress is relevant, or eat cake and get a pb, or eat all you want and lose weight. Oh I can't be bothered, do something meaningful about running, do something meaningful about getting a pb, not the latest half baked study that the one stretch that will stop an injury will get me a three hour marathon pb, just do something meaningful.

05/02/2013 at 13:35

methinks GraemeK is having a disaster of a day.....

05/02/2013 at 14:08

"Not exactly a nice positive note to start a feature on marathon running ;0)

Annie - How about a nice introduction. Who are you? What do you do at RW? "

Hi Emmy H, sorry about that! Yes, a proper introduction is probably called for. I am new to the web team at RW, I'm the events and editorial assistant to RW online. Nice to meet you. 

05/02/2013 at 14:09

there was a classic thread a few months ago about a bloke who started pissing blood during the VLM...can't immediately find it though

 

05/02/2013 at 15:56
GraemeK wrote (see)

You see for me, a disaster is a football stand burning down, killing 56. A crush at a football ground killing 96, a plane exploding over a town, a ship sinking in the Baltic drowning over 800 people......

 

The wild sh***s, over hydration and needing a wee, forgetting your Garmin, missing a GFA time or a pb by 1 second, 1 minute, hardly qualify as a disaster do they? More a mild hiccup in your day, your week, your month. Even if it is a race you've trained for six months, does it matter?

 

If I am to waste my time sending an e-mail to the editor, I'll ask why my 8 year old spotted at five paces in Smith's that the male runner on the front cover has women's legs, why eat curry to relieve stress is relevant, or eat cake and get a pb, or eat all you want and lose weight. Oh I can't be bothered, do something meaningful about running, do something meaningful about getting a pb, not the latest half baked study that the one stretch that will stop an injury will get me a three hour marathon pb, just do something meaningful.

Who's rattled your cage?

You've chosen to read the OP out of context.

The diasters in this case are 'relative'.

You clearly have issues. 

To be quite honest, I've not idea why you have reacted to this post in this manner, but then again. I'm not a doctor.

Enjoy your evening if possible.

05/02/2013 at 16:02
Annie RW wrote (see)

"Not exactly a nice positive note to start a feature on marathon running ;0)

Annie - How about a nice introduction. Who are you? What do you do at RW? "

Hi Emmy H, sorry about that! Yes, a proper introduction is probably called for. I am new to the web team at RW, I'm the events and editorial assistant to RW online. Nice to meet you. 

Welcome to the thread and forum, Annie - it's nice to see more of the RW Towers on the threads!

Will you be attending any of the events to get the inside scoop?

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