Race day disasters

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 

«13

Comments

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    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? image

  • 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 

     

  • 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!

     

  • I read RW and they have features on how to avoid race day disasters
  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    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. 

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    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.

  • 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.

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭
    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.
  • 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.

  • 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/

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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................
  • 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.

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

  • "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. image

  • 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

     

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭
    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.

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭
    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. image

    image 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? image

  • I know a marathon that could do with a write up in you magazine image

  • ooooh TOTP too

    Ok race day disaster.

    I got stung by a bee that flew up my vest when I did the Sturmy 1/2 and I foolishly drank a can of Red Bull (other sports drinks available) 10 minutes before a 5k Time Trial.
    I PB'ed image and was promptly sick in a bush at the finish image 

  • GraemeK wrote (see)

    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?

     

    Yeah, racing, doesn't really matter really does it, in fact why bother at all. In fact why even bother posting on here, it's all such an effort.

  • Close down the forum until someone solves the Middle East Problem!

    My, er, fondest race disaster memories are reserved for my second ever 5,000m race, and my first track race for the club. My head was busy most of the race trying to work out whether my lap splits were on pace or not, whilst getting continually more fuzzled up with the effort involved.  It didn't help that during a 12.5 lap race I checked the lap board at what felt like half way and it said 7 still to go... Ugh!  So the head-fog was descending but I was just about managing to stay with a small group.  Somewhere towards the end part of the race we were lapped by the leader, and I started planning my finishing strategy.  Coming round to the home straight, checked the watch, couldn't make sense of the time, got to the finish line and heard the bell... We're still altogether but I feel myself gliding towards the front of the group in the back straight, then go for a 200m eyeballs-out sprint.  Into the home straight, legs screaming, lactic rising up to my forehead, a clear gap from the rest of the group, coming up to the line... the bell rings again!  Aah feck!  The first bell was for the leader as he overtook us, so I've got 400 metres to go and I'm completely spent.  The rest of the group come round me within the next fifty yards and I consider walking the rest of the way but I'm informed by our rather loud coach in the back straight that I'm not last, so I'd better carry on.  Managed to keep my position with the slowest 300m jog/hobble ever.  I didn't stay for team drinks afterwards.  image

  • I have had the odd race day disaster. A particularly vivid recollection was 2 miles into an 11 mile local mountain race, I was suddenly hit by a blinding headache and simultaneously reduced to kneeling  vomiting a viscous black projection.  I think when things don't go as planned it is often pertinent to look for the culprit. On this occasion and after careful consideration it was narrowed down to Jagermeister. It turns out that a three day Bank Holiday celebration culminating with downing Jagerbombs in the early hours is not conducive with peak performance. Who'd have thought?!

  • sorry to be frivolous, but any race in which I don't PB is a genuine disaster in my book.

  • Haven't had a disaster as such but the last time I took part in the London Marathon I'd arranged for my parents, my sister and her husband to be there along with my other half and son and it almost turned into one.

    We spent the Saturday afternoon watching the matinee of the Lion King and then headed back to the hotel to grab something to eat and chill before I had to head to get some sleep before race day.
    As we were returning to the hotel on the tube my son starts saying he feels cold. We put it down to a long day.
    Back at the hotel and he is still feeling cold so I suggest he had a lie down and we'll get him up to go for dinner.
    An hour later and he's still cold and even shivering. We take his temperature and its over 39 degrees C. At the time he was on maintenance treatment for leukaemia and with his temperature being what it was a visit to the local A&E department is called for. We go to Guys and the A&E has just closed so its off to St Thomas'. On arrival he's assessed and admitted. By the time that I leave him and other half safely under the hospitals care and head back to the hotel its getting late and I've not had anything to eat.

    Fortunately the hotel do a special breakfast for anyone taking part in the marathon so I do manage to get some food into me but I'm not looking forward to the race as my son is stuck in the hospital and not out along the course supporting me.

    Towards the end of the race as I'm just about to reach Big Ben though I spot my family and my son in the crowd, the hospital have allowed him out for an hour. That last bit towards the finish was emotional as it was all I could do to choke down the tears.

     

  • Nice story JvR. Wouldn't want to do a marathon in perfect circumstances, let alone in those!

«13
Sign In or Register to comment.