By Damien Barling
I’m at about mile 19 of my first ever marathon in New York City when the bad thoughts start running through my head.
“This is so freakin stupid. I’m never doing this again. I hate this. Why is EVERYONE passing me?!?!?!”
Those were the nicest things I was thinking. The adrenaline of NYC had worn off, the pain had set in, and my body decided it was finished. My mind shortly followed. I was done. With 7 miles to go, it was over. I finished in 4 hours 46 minutes. Not what I had hoped for.
I had about four weeks to prepare for New York. Some people think that’s crazy. I figured I’m active enough, I’m conditioned enough, and I know enough about nutrition and my body, I could get through it. What I lacked in training time I’ll make up in other areas. Wrong.
It was during the car ride home, still in the process of inhaling a massive amount of post-race calories, I realized, I’m doing this again. I’m already scheduled to do this again.
The Goofy Challenge was scheduled for Jan, about two months after the disaster in NY. This was originally suppose to be my first marathon until the opportunity to fundraise for the Alzheimer’s Association in New York presented itself. One of Kara’s closest friends wanted the Goofy medal that goes along with completing a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday at Disney World. I promised to win it for her.
Upon arriving in Orlando, the plan was simple. We’ll hangout on Friday and visit all the parks. Saturday, I’ll run the half marathon then spend the rest of the day recovering. And recover I did.
We returned to the room around 9am. The next 12 hours was a combination of ice, heat, coconut water, and a ton of food. We consulted several people about the best way to recover from the half and prepare for the full. Jenny Moshak, the head trainer for the Tennessee Lady Vols, laid out my day for me.
Immediately following race: 20 – minute ice bath.
Then back to bed and get food.
12pm – a 40 -minute contrast bath (5 minutes in a tub filled with ice, 5 minutes in a tub filled with hot water). This created a scene in which I ran between our run, and my mother in-laws room next door, in wet spandex and a towel.
Then back to bed and get more food.
7pm – a second 40-minute contrast bath.
Then back to bed for the night. But just before bed, eat again.
Kara made several trips to Whole Foods and Chipotle for me. I ate bagels, noodles, giant quantities of brown rice, pineapples, bananas, berries, numerous green vegetables, and finally, more bagels.
After running the half marathon in 1 hour 58 minutes, I completed the full in 4 hours and 15 minutes. A full 30 minutes faster then NYC. In addition to the extreme recovery methods I used, I also switched up my pre race nutrition. Unlike NY, the races began at 5:30am. That meant less time for my breakfast to digest. Instead of my usual Everyday Oatmeal, I decided to go raw. All fruit. Nothing else. I knew the digestion would be better and the energy would still be there. As I begin to prepare for my next marathon in May, that’s a trait I’ll practice on my training days. And just like the two races before, my goal is very clear. I need to finish under four hours!