Photo from the 2014 Ice Age Trail 50 Miler by Ali Engin. Permission to use header photo must be obtained through Ali Elgin.

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

What really happened at The Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon

Somehow being back in La Crosse, WI, I'm reminded why I started blogging in the first place. I had time on my hands and felt like I needed to write. Life was good and I didn't want to forget it.

Lining up at the Milwaukee Marathon, I was reminded that, above all places, Wisconsin is my home. And I have missed it. The theme of the marathon was "be thankful because you can run a marathon today. You might not be able to tomorrow." It was cheesy, but this s the cheese state and I got tears in my eyes.

Even Bart Yasso was there and I thought of my Yasso 500 runs and was embarrassed that I had no idea he was the Editor of Runner's World or that he was even still alive.

I didn't know where to line up. My plan was with the 3:30 group, but the weather was perfect and there was going to be a little tail wind. So I moved up to the 3:25 pacing group. Between mile 1 and 2 I started talking with a guy from Chicago. He was struck by the beautiful farm landscape. If he thought THAT was beautiful, he should start running on trails. But I didn't say it because I needed to get my mind off the trails and onto the road. And before I could say anything, something pulled in my groin around my pubic symphysis and radiated to the right. I screamed a little scream and had to stop running. "No!!!!!" I pleaded. I drank Gatorade from the aid station and started walking and then sort of prancing on my toes, trying to shake out the pain. And after about 5 minutes of quasi running, the pain was much less and I started thinking I might actually run this whole marathon after all.

I was of course behind the 3:25 pacing group at this time, but resolved above to run my own race and just enjoy it. I didn't take long before I caught up with them again and the sort-of forced enthusiasm of the people running with the pacer irritated me. Though the pacer himself was very entertaining and would in two weeks be going for the world record marathon time dressed up like a cartoon character (Charlie Brown was his choice). At some point, one of the women in the group said to her husband "you better not expect me to respond to ANYTHING you say today". Ouch. I was not enjoying this negative energy and sort of let myself slip behind after an aid station. I drank and walked at every aid station and ate a little from my chocolate stash. They were every two miles, so it was easy to get behind.

I was having an unispired day. What can I say? But then around the half marathon, I heard someone yell: "Go Sea Legs Girl!" Not my first name, but my blog name and I was so incredibly struck by this. Someone had recognized me. And that's around the point I asked myself - what am I doing in this race if NOT going for a PR? I simply couldn't run this race and come in just behind my current PR. That would be pathetic. So, with my ultra marathon mentality, I said to myself "12 miles left is nothing! Go for it!" and so I did.

Edit (race pictures are now available)This was taken right around the time I got my burst of energy. (this is the only picture I have seen of me running where I have good running form)


Perhaps it was the entire bar of dark Hershey's chocolate or the already six cups of gatorade or all of the fans or the girl who yelled Sea Legs Girl - but suddenly it was fun and I was bursting with energy.

I just have to mention - I didn't stop to pee once. How -after downing coffee prerace was this possible, you ask? Controlled, continuous urination. I mean, if a person can sweat buckets, it should also be okay to simply pee a very little bit continuously throughout the race, right? I did this at Skovloeberen, too, and as far I can tell, it is unnoticeable to people around me (I do wear black shorts).

So back to the race - the second half was simply a ton of fun where I passed lots of people including the 3:25 pacing group. The only thing that seemed to slow me down at the end was the stupid decision to drink water at the aid station with 3 miles to go. I got so light-headed! Would it be a bad idea to actually ban water at marathons and only have sports drink?? Would that be taking things too far? (Here (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/05/how-much-to-drink-during-a-marathon/)is an article I just ran across in the NY Times that irks me. The authors repeats "don't drink too much" while running a marathon. But she misses the key word: "don't drink too much water". As long as you are drinking isotonic sports drink, you will never get hyponatremic, assuming it has been mixed correctly. So drink up! But avoid water.)

Anyway, you all know my final time by now: 3:24:05. I was pleased, but this time seemed to be a long time coming. And, to be honest, I never really felt like I was pushing it. And I find myself wondering what my limiting factor is. Certainly the last mile, my joints felt so sore that I could not have run much further, but I still had a bunch of surplus energy. Weird. Though starting out faster than I did has killed me three times in the past.

In other news, we found the house we are going to rent in La Crosse from now through July 31st. It is actually the lower level of a house. I was not at all excited about the idea of renting yet another crappy, small apartment, adding it to the every-growing list of crappy, small apartments I/we have lived in, so finding this part of a house for rent on Craigslist in a nice neighborhood with three bedrooms and partially furnished seems so far to be a God send!

15 comments:

Meghan said...

Oh, I love you, Sea Legs, for things like this that you post on your blog, "Controlled, continuous urination."

And, props for the PR, friend! Recover happy.

heather said...

Ha! The controlled urination thing made me laugh too :) Thanks for the more in-depth account of your new PR! Chocolate, gatorade and coffee are apparently your ideal pre-race meal!

Kirsten said...

This CCU sounds like a great way to eliminate stops.....In Helsinki I saw people actually queuing during the race for a toilet. I mean I'm Danish so I just went behind some (very see-through) bush....
Anyway, what about the shoes? Do they get filled up and stink afterwards of urine and not just of runners feet?????

sea legs girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sea legs girl said...

Ha ha. And SR was giving me a hard time for admitting to my "CCU" on my blog.

So, yeah, my shoes were wet and stinky after the race, of course, but don't smell more than normal now. They are, though, extremely light shoes and moisture just wicks away, unlike say perhaps your standard pair of Asics. To be honest, I hadn't really thought about the fact that there was still urine on them. Urine just seems like a more potent form of sweat to me, I guess. Though I wouldn't go out of my way to drink it like astronauts do (they filter out the sweat first, though). :)

Jacqueline said...

You are great. Congratulations on a very well-run race, and a nice PR.

I also pee when I run -- I'm shocked by how surprised people are by this -- but I don't think you can tell (generally), either, and it doesn't smell. I consider it an advantage that I don't need to stop at a port-a-potty!

My in-laws live in LaCrosse -- maybe we can run together some time when our family visits there. ;-)

SteveQ said...

My introduction to ultras involved a story of a guy known as "yellow socks" who just dribbled while he ran... and still, I didn't say no to ultras. I haven't peed while running yet - and wouldn't mention it if I did, but like that you did.

sea legs girl said...

I gotta say that Stefanie Shocke was the first to tell me she peed in her shorts in the Chicago Marathon (on purpose) - though it wasn't until recently it occured to me that the peeing needn't be in on large amount, but continuous :).

PiccolaPineCone said...

i've thought about just peeing my shorts before (especially now that i am pregnant and have to pee ALL THE TIME) but the thought of the salts in the urine and subsequent irritation and chafing always stops me (yeah, not the thought of people seeing, or the smell or the embarrassment... just the thought of chafing)...

DDitlev said...

Don't ban water! :) Just use it to cool down the head and cleanse the face from sweat .. but other than that thanks for yet another great tip! *someone should make a booklet with these kinda tips*

pernillesarup said...

No urinating outside designated toilets are allowed in the Melbourne marathon.
I wonder if they'll control for peeing in pants?
I've had the same thought as Piccola, though, peeing in you pants might be nice and warm to begin with but soon turn could and uncomfy.

However, perhaps is's not that different from sweating in your pants?

Maybe I should go for Tena?

And Kirsten are the Finns more sensitive than the Danes (I find that odd with all their mixed saunas)? Or just more law-abiding?

Kirsten said...

Now you really made me laugh! I geuss that my Nike can be cleansed out - sometimes they get soaked when I run in rainy weather and get dry very easily so what's the difference. The finns are very law-abiding and would not dream of peeing out of a porta-loo (called maya-baya in Finnish...). Before races you have kilometers of queuing for the toilets - and then you have mee looking for a tree :-)
And I would never stand in a line during a race! I'm slow enough as it is! So CCU might be introduced next time - darn, I'll have to change my white compression socks!

Stefanie Schocke said...

Absolutely- wet my pants all the time!!!!

You rock!!!!!!!!! I cannot get over your awesome return to running postpartum.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

The theme of the marathon was "be thankful because you can run a marathon today. You might not be able to tomorrow." It was cheesy, but this s the cheese state and I got tears in my eyes.

That may just have been your eyes doing that controlled, continuous urination thing.

Just curious ... was there a lake at this place before you started peeing?

Hahahahaha! Just kidding! Congratulations on the PR.

Personally I suspect that "while running" is one of the few times SteveQ hasn't peed in public, but that's just a guess based on my general observation that he's batshit insane even by ultra runner standards.

Hahahahahaha! I'm laughing so hard my eyes are urinating! (But why is my penis crying? Must be all that morning coffee.)

Kate said...

Glad I wasn't the only one CCUing at the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon!