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Mar 12 2014
Food and Water

My guideline for supportive nutrient intake is simple. I consume the food I want; on the other hand I seldom eat as much as I want. I am Gluten Free but NOT much else in regards to restrictions. I do take multivitamins. As training moves to longer and more intense sessions, the intake increases, and it’s reasonable to keep in mind all calories are not created equal. If you are seeking weight loss, this may not be the time to make that the point. In my journey the main focus became hydration.

I was diagnosed with acute UC (ulcerative colitis) in May 1995, which required a full colon resection... colectomy in July ‘95. The time lapse between Marathon 1 and 2 relates to this major medical setback. It was June 2003 when I finally felt I could attempt the second marathon. But unbeknownst to me, my function had changed. The large intestine absorbs water for storage, nutrient absorption and hydration, which no longer function well in my body. The training for the Sunburst Marathon was inside on a treadmill mostly running, and the temperature and humidity consistent. I was NOT adequately prepared for the repercussions of the hot humid race day of running 26.2 miles.

The first 18 miles in the Sunburst Marathon was a fast and comfortable pace for me.
Subsequent miles the pace slowed and dehydration hit me like a brick at mile 20. By the 23rd mile I had deteriorated enough that running was no longer the problem…standing was. My support team included my spouse and 2 kids, who were monitoring me and wanted me to stop... "NO." I was running in support of my sister-in-law’s battle with breast cancer. So to keep the promise, my daughter stayed close by and said she would pull me up from the ground whenever I needed after exactly 60 seconds rest so I could take some horizontal breaks. She did exactly that, bless her heart <3, so I manage to walk “ish” the remaining few miles to cross the line and earned the second Marathon Medal, adding 47 minutes to my time. 

I learned the importance of fluid balance and methods to monitor my needs:

  • Use a consistent bathroom scale for weight measurements before and after workouts (no clothes).
  • Replace weight loss with liquid (8 ounces) of water, approximately ½ pound.
  • Noting also the amount of liquid hydration consumed during the workout session, which for me is about 10 oz. per 5 miles, dependent on humidity and heat.
  • Adding those two measurements to get an idea of overall replacement and using that information for future sessions/event.
  • Adjustments to intake for (temperature and humid) and maybe electrolytes via Smart Water or Gatorade helps after sessions.

The self analysis of the second Marathon in South Bend, Indiana and its memorable aspects include the greater sense of accomplishment, crossing the finish line and receiving my medal because it was for Carol, who rallied but did not win her battle with cancer. The recollections of the hours after the event are vague, but I recall eye contact with the elevator floor and listening to the voice of my daughter instructing people not to step on me. The post race meal was at a restaurant that only had chairs (no booth) so I was sprawled over my supportive family while we ate. The lessons learned about my fluid needs were tested in Marathon 3 in 2004…and even happier running.


Learn more about the HFM Maritime Marathon:


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