Running Diary

Would I run a marathon again?

posted Apr 26, 2011, 7:22 PM by Justin Davidson   [ updated Apr 28, 2011, 8:27 AM ]

Long story short.. yes!


It’s interesting when you ask most people what they think of when they think of running a marathon and they will respond with thoughts of blisters, fainting, cramping, loss of will, dehydration, heart attack or even death.  Now, I am not saying many of these things did not happen for many runners, but for me although I did get a few small blisters, burned quads, and tight hips I would absolutely do it again!  This race was an experience that you will never forget.  We are going to see a friend run the VT marathon some weekend in May and my wife whispered to me that they still have 100 slots open.  For a quick minute I thought hard about running it and I still may.  I am truly hooked to running and indeed will run many more marathons before I die.  My plan is one per year.


This was how the day went for me.  I had a friend drop me off in Hopkinton at a point in which I asked a cop where the drop-off was and he responded right here.  I looked around and saw nobody.  He said it’s ½ mile from here and most people are walking from this point on.  Now my mind is racing..if it’s ½ mile just to get near the start this is gonna be a long day.  At the athletes village it was freezing cold and windy.  Everyone was waiting in line and running in/out of the port-a-poddys like someone looking to get their cash out of an ATM fast.  While waiting I had conversations with a few runners.. a few elites looking to break below 3 hrs after this being their 10th marathon etc (yet you looked at them you would never know). 


Others were people sneaking into the race as bandit runners without a number.  There were also interesting runners running with nothing more than a speedo and un-phased by the cold.  As they called the start people slowly lined up as if they were getting in a stall with a bucking bronco horse.  Happy yet puzzled.  Basically, if you were not in the first 2 heats you were in the back and you did not look any different then some guy walking on to the course to run.  The gun went off and I set my GPS watch.  I ran almost ¼ mile before I even saw the starting line.  We were in the last head and last section in that heat.


At first most people had on something such as running with a trashbag on them or whatever.  Then they all started to dump clothing fast on the side of the road to charities and it was ON.  For the first mile or so I just held out my hand soaking it all in.  It was just a wave of high-fives as far as the eye could see in addition to a bunch of colorful dots bouncing up and down.  Then the guy in the Tux passes me along with the 80 yr old grandmother who’s form looked like she ran this race many years over.  By the time we got to the first water station being runners 26000+ all of the cups on the ground just looked like running across a field of slippery grass.  I ran with a CamelBak hydration pack so I was able to run past most of these congested areas carefully.  So figure if your in the back passing 26 stations with 1 min to get through them you just saved yourself a ton of time.  As I ran, everyone was running as a team offering motivational banter along the way.  I had fun running next to Ray Allens mom while the helicopters flew overheard.


Approaching the hills everyone got silent and started to pound water and fuel.  The first few honestly where nothing until heartbreak.  As you run up it you pass people banging on drums while eyeballing these $4mm+ mansions.  It helped divert any thoughts of stress to find a happy place.  EMT’s on the side were watching the runners eagerly to see who would drop.  I did see a few faint and one guy landed on his face.  Once I hit the top my eyes opened wide and I had to make a choice to finish just over 5 hrs or just under with only 5 mi left.  I chose the latter and ran as fast as a physically could down the backside.  Once I hit Cleveland Circle I was ready to drop knowing all of the fuel in my tank was gone.  I broke out into the fastest power walk that I could with huge strides, head down, teeth clenched, and hands pushing forward determined to finish.  I was passing many because their feet stopped moving while there arms were moving as if.  Then I ran again. 


Once I hit Kenmore I was so pumped up till I saw that we had to go under the underpass below Mass Ave.  At that point my quads and hips were like.. shit.. another hill.  Although it was just a dip I felt that one more than heartbreak.  Once I saw the finish line I encouraged the spent guy next to me to run our asses off to the finish.  You could see it in his face “thank you”.  I waved to my family at the finish, they handed me some water, and then said keep walking to get my stuff and medal.  I am like gzz.. I bet another ½ mile.  It sure felt like it because now your body is like…we know it’s break time.  I went home and took a hot tub while scraping loads of dirt off of my face from what people kicked up.  My quads were normal by Thurs and my toes black and blue by the following Monday.  I am ready to do it again!  J  It’s all about hydration and fuel.  Next time I will finish faster!


Good luck!



My 2011 Boston Marathon - after thoughts

posted Apr 21, 2011, 8:59 AM by Justin Davidson   [ updated Apr 28, 2011, 8:28 AM ]

My 2011 Boston Marathon - after thoughts

This was my first marathon and I ran the Boston Marathon in 4 hrs 57 mins to meet my goal of under 5 hrs.  After running 21 miles I had to dig down deep to shave off those 3 mins.  The race was so fun I didn’t want it to end.  The first 6 mi you are giving high-fives to hundreds of people.  Everyone was screaming supportive phrases.  The water stops were congested as expected and slippery.  Since I carried my own water in a small CamelBak backpack I was able to coast past most of them.  People say that there are lots of water stops and bathrooms, but honestly I did not see that many.  The girls at Wellesley College were screaming holding up signs “kiss me” at the ½ way point.  Having friends and family at various checkpoints really made me smile.  It was kinda funny getting passed by the guy in a Tux, the juggler, and the one in the Hotdog uniform along with the 80 yr old grandmothers.  I ran next to Celtics Ray Allen’s mother for a bit until I kicked on the jets.  Haha..kinda.  I burned off almost 3200 calories and lost 4 lbs during the race.

It was perfectly sunny with a tailwind.  At mile 16 the hills started and you could see it on the others faces that they knew something was coming that could make or break their race.  Everyone got pretty quiet.  The first few hills were not that bad until the dreaded heartbreak hill.  It was then, half way up I had to kick into a power walk to stretch out my hips.  They were completely tight.  Most non-elite runners saved their gas until they reach the top of the hills at mile 21.  That’s when I had to make my choice to either finish slightly above 5 hrs or just below.  The lifelong feeling of saying, “I finished in 4 hrs and something” vs. 5 yrs really meant something to me.  I chose the latter and ran down the backside of heartbreak at my best Kenyan speed pushing grandmothers out of the way as fast as I could.  At mile 24 my hips were almost locked-up after taking the beating that my cooked quads that could not support anymore.  Again, I kicked into the silly looking long strided power walk teeth clenched.  At mile 25 I gave it whatever was left in the tank.  We had to go under one last underpass below Mass Ave and that felt like the largest hill coming back out of it.  When I crossed the finish line it was the exact feeling that you could imagine.  I was thrilled that I finished with my family right there at the finish line smiling and cheering.  You could see on my kids faces that a role model was set for their lives.  Once the race was over they handed you a bottle of water, your tin foil coat, and bless you with your medal after a long walk.  It’s then that you realize that you survived.  After 40 weeks of intense training and after years of just sitting on the coach I had run one of the most prestigious marathon on the planet.  Ouch, but I would do it again in a minute!

Lessons learned:
- Wear a black disposable trashbag to retain heat and reduce wind while waiting for the starting lineup (it was very cold at the start)
- Wear sunblock (oops)
2011 Boston Marathon (04/18/11)

Runner's Trots - need to use the bathroom!

posted Mar 8, 2011, 5:38 PM by Justin Davidson   [ updated Dec 8, 2011, 5:20 AM ]

Runner's Trots - need to use the bathroom!
Have you ever gone out for a run only to say.. man I have to use the bathroom bad!  This happens for a lot of reasons and is the single most thing that scares me about distance running.  Sometimes you are nervous other times your body is just trying to dispose of heat any way it can.  A big fear of mine is having to drop a duece on a long run without a port-o-poddy around.  Good news!  You can reduce that feeling dramatically by following a few pre-race tips.
1. Drink lots of Liquids to prevent diarrhea
2. Reduce your caffeen intake at all possible
3. Reduce your sugar intake, as well as, milk
4. Do not eat high-fiber and FATTY foods pre-race (good for digestion, bad for running)
5. Give your body time to digest well before you have to run
6. Train carefully to build up stamina (so your body isn't trying to get rid of heat fast)
7. Try to workout when you plan to race (try to drop the kids off at the pool in advance)
8. Avoid new foods race day (experiment during training)
9. Wear loose clothing around your waist
10. Eat binding foods (bananas, plain bagels, rice, oatmeal, and pasta)
Also, plan your runs on routes where bathrooms are available so you can stop in if necessary.  Slowing down your pace also helps to reduce internal pressure as your body is trying to get rid of excess body heat.
My race day strategy is if during the race I need to use the bathroom... just do it and move on.  The longer you hold out the more your bladder swells and then once you empty it you are now sore.  Just get rid of it quick and get back on the course.
Details & Pricing:

Runner's Digest

Changing what—and when—you eat can halt all kinds of midstride GI trouble.
By Liz Applegate Ph.D.
Image by Steve Boyle
From the May 2010 issue of Runner's World 

At some point, everyone suffers midrun stomach problems, whether it's a sharp pain that forces you to walk or the sudden need to find a porta-potty stat. Luckily, there's a cure for whatever ails you. Here's how to identify any digestive issue that might slow you down—and prevent it from wreaking havoc on your next run. 

Sharp stomach pain and burping while running
CULPRIT Runners who get pre-race nerves, drink carbonated beverages, or chew gum often swallow air, causing belching and pains that mimic heartburn or a heart attack.
FOOD FIX Pass on fizzy drinks and gum pre- and midrun. Eat slowly to avoid swallowing air. If you get prerace nerves, take slow, relaxed breaths to avoid trapping air in your stomach.

A burning feeling in your chest that can occur while running
CULPRIT Called heartburn, acid reflux, and "GERD," gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs when stomach acid hits the esophagus.
FOOD FIX Eat a few small meals, not one large one; wait three hours after eating to run. Don't lie down after a meal (it can prompt reflux). Avoid trigger foods such as mint, coffee, and spicy dishes.

Excessive gas and bloating
CULPRIT When intestinal bacteria try to break down fiber and other indigestible carbohydrates, they produce gas. Eating lots of fiber creates excessive gas and bloating.
FOOD FIX A full day prior to a race, back off high-fiber foods, such as whole grains, beans, and bran cereals, as well as the problematic foods listed in "Unusual Suspects" (below).

Excessive gas, bloating, and occasional diarrhea
CULPRIT Symptoms may be caused by lactose intolerance, an inability to digest lactose in dairy.
FOOD FIX Cut out dairy, or buy lactose-free versions (some people with lactose intolerance can handle yogurt and kefir). Take Lactaid or other enzyme pills to help your body digest dairy.

A sudden midrun need to hit a bathroom
CULPRIT The gut receives less blood midrun, causing poor GI function—earning this malady its nickname, the "runner's trots." The longer your run, the more likely you'll experience it.
FOOD FIX Avoid high-fiber foods 24 hours before running. Pass on coffee (it stimulates intestinal motion). Dehydration and too many midrun carbs worsen the problem; don't exceed 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour.

An urgent need for a bathroom when not running
CULPRIT Gluten is a wheat protein some people can't digest, causing gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
FOOD FIX If you suspect gluten intolerance, see a doctor for a diagnosis, and only eat gluten-free foods. However, if you have severe abdominal cramps or blood in your stool, see a physician immediately. You may have a more serious digestive disease or colon polyps, which require treatment.

Unusual Suspects

Having GI problems? Cut back on these runner faves

These fruits and vegetables contain gas-forming, indigestible carbohydrates that cause painful bloating midrun.

The added fiber in breads, tortillas, yogurt, crackers, and other foods can create bulkiness in the colon, gas, and loose stools.

Compared to other dairy, this sweet dessert is particularly high in lactose and can cause trouble for lactose intolerant people.

Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can irritate the stomach, and in extreme cases even cause intestinal bleeding.

They contain a high concentration of carbs and when drunk before or midrun can cause stomach cramps.

It can stimulate the intestinal tract. Cut back on caffeine sources like coffee and tea. Check other drinks, foods, and medications for caffeine content.

Leave your comments below!

Runner's Bloody nipples

posted Mar 8, 2011, 5:23 PM by Justin Davidson   [ updated Mar 14, 2011, 7:30 AM ]

One thing I learned the hard way is to wear non-cotton shirts as cotten chafes wicked!  I was running at about mile 10 I felt like my nipples were on FIRE!  Of course, once those bad boys are stimulated unfortunately the keep looking out only to get a beat down. 
TIP:  Wear tape, nipple guards, Vaseline or "Body Glide".  Also, wear a tight non-cotton running shirt.
Details & Pricing:
Bodyglide Skin Formula - this is non-greasy (unlike Vaseline) and does not fall off like tape
Nipguards Runners Nipple Protectors - these are smaller than large patches of tape and don't fall off
Champion Men's Sprint Tee - non-cotton goodness
Leave your comments below!

1-4 of 4