Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hitting the Wall


I got a comment from someone, which I have to say, I totally appreciated, saying that my nausea at mile 18 in the marathon was caused because I had hit the wall. 
Hmmm... I didn't run out of energy, I was mentally still "there," no fuzziness in my brain, my legs didn't feel like lead...I was just nauseated. I have hit the wall before! And the wall was not being hit last weekend. I have been in races where I was completely DONE, physically and emotionally. But, I started thinking, maybe I don't know what it feels like to hit the wall, so I googled it...Nope, I know what it feels like.  

Of hitting the wall, Dick Beardsley said,"It felt like an elephant jumped out of a tree onto my shoulders and was making me carry it the rest of the way in."

George Ringler said, "At around mile 23, I was beginning to feel like the anchor was out."

"The Wall." It evades easy definition, but to borrow from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's famous definition of obscenity, you know it when you see it--or rather, hit it. It usually happens around mile 20, give or take a couple of miles. Your pace slows, sometimes considerably. Some runners say that it feels as though their legs had been filled with lead quail shot, like the stomach of Mark Twain's unfortunate jumping frog of Calaveras County. Others can't feel their feet at all. Thought processes become a little fuzzy. (Mile 22, again? I thought I just passed mile 22!") Muscle coordination goes out the window, and self-doubt casts a deep shadow over the soul.  (This was taken from an article written by Sara Latta called "Hitting "The Wall")

What it all boils down to is that "Hitting The Wall" is basically about running out of energy!

Apparently, it is a common occurrence in distance runners to have nausea, either during or after the race. (I get it during and after, a lot of the time for the rest of the day, yeah me!). It can be caused by the sugars in the gatorade or Gu, which, I use both. I have tried pretzels and fig newtons, real food, but I still get nauseated. I read eating a packet of salt before and during the race can help. Has anyone tried that before? What about ginger? What are your rituals before, during and after a race?

11 comments:

Denise said...

Running really messes up my stomach. I found that the gels with caffeine only make it worse. This might be too much info, but sometimes I get nauseus if I have to...um, go #2. If that could be a potential cause, would an immodium help? Geesh, we do share a lot in this blogging world...

Janice said...

i have totally hit the wall as well. strange how we feel it differently. i do get nauseous as well and uasually about mile 18 or 20.

Blyfinn said...

I would recommend to not combine the GU with the sports drink. I had problems with that also. I now just take the GU with water and I'm fine. I do also use salt on long runs to help my body retain water.

Frayed Laces said...

Good job at the race! Two of our seasoned marathoners actually puked from the Gatorade----Gatorade Endurance has higher electrolytes than regular gatorade. Maybe that was your problem.

Marlene said...

I can pretty much say I experienced ALL of those 'symptoms' when I hit the wall. Not fun!

tfh said...

I finally got the chance to read your race report and see your photos-- I love that finish line photo. How do you manage to look so poised? (Despite wanting to cry!) Congratulations on finishing #12 (I think?). I have to admit, I get nauseated sometimes after my (admittedly short) longer runs (12 miles or so) and I'm pretty sure for me it's a blood sugar issue. Sorry you had to feel that way, although, WOW, you didn't hit the wall this time, that's great!

Run Mommy said...

Your post is making me so nervous! I look forward to reading more tips so I can take advantage of them in Jan. :)

RunnerMom said...

I just read your race report-- 4:33 is awesome! I can't get over how great you look in all the photos--NOT like someone struggling with emotion or nausea or at all!

Did the nausea come and go or stay from 18 until the end?

I can't wait until my 26.2!

Joe said...

Definitely read up on salt intake if you haven't already. I do like salt before long runs and I plan on buying S-Caps before my March marathon. Oh and you looked awesome at the finish! I've had the nausea after long races, but I find not eating enough pre-race can sometimes cause that.

Joe
www.fitnessgeekga.wordpress.com

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