Part 3: The Wall.

The week before the marathon I would run the farthest I ever had at that point in my life: 20 miles. I was behind on my original plan of adding 5 more miles to the beginning of every month. I had been struggling even considering going over 15 miles per run due to knee and hip pain, wear and tear, and time. And 15 was a beast. But I figured I should hit 20 at least once before the marathon and I did, kind of.

If You Could Call That Training
I started running the usual difficult first five and continued on into the teens. I got to 15 fairly easy, and that made me feel good knowing I hadn’t gone past that before so I’d have some extra to invest in the upper teens. But at mile 17-18 the weirdest thing happened: my body stopped moving. I didn’t feel bad. I wasn’t hazy or dehydrated feeling or exhausted, I just couldn’t move my body without extreme effort. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I hoped I hadn’t injured myself, but I kept on because we love to be stubborn.

I used this difficult time to really concentrate on breathing, as I hoped whatever was happening was just exhaustion or something. My brain was delayed on everything though and so was my body. I somehow continued, but it seemed a snails pace. But I kept breathing and concentrating singularly on the step at hand, as much as I could, but I REALLY wanted to stop. I was so zoned out that I ran by my friend Valerie during the last lap of mile 20 yet I didn’t run by her. She later txt messaged me, asking me about why I was being such an asshole. I had no idea what she meant. I called her and she was upset due to me being so rude and mean for some reason and ignoring her, saying nothing and looking quite mad as I ran by. I interrupted her, surprised when she said I had passed her on the track, and asked if she was sure I had run by her, because in reality, I had no idea I ran by anyone. I was completely out of it. I did remember when I ran by the area she claimed I passed her in, but I do not remember her being there. When I walked back to the house after the run, I had no idea what had just happened at the end of that run but I was uber beat. She explained again that I looked pissed and looked at her, but said nothing and just kept on and then she didn’t see me again. She thought I was pissed at her and decided to not run. I started laughing at such a grand assumption, even if it made sense, there was nothing I ever got mad at, let alone some magic new reason that I would need to act out when I saw her. I laughed some more, apologizing but sharing with her my last series of events of that 20 mile run which you all have now read. What the HELL happened to me out there that I would have passed one of the few people I know in Miami, in a 5 foot wide paved track, and not noticed them?

The following day, working at the health clinic, I talked to one of the doctors about it. He explained what had happened: I hit the wall, aka bonked, aka hypoglycemia, aka out of carbs. After a good deal of med talk and explanation, the fact I had not ingested some form of carbs during the run and had no more in my liver caused this. I was out of energy completely. I’ll let you look up the rest if you want, but I tell ya, that experience was… worth it! It was an amazing feeling of struggle and it was awesome I was able to have it accidentally prior to the marathon. I usually learn from one time experiences and that would suffice. However, I was not quite sure how to avoid it again going 6.2 more miles for the marathon. I had a week and I barely made 20, with no plans on running much more until the actual marathon. My training was behind my small, initial plan, if you could call that a plan, and I was out of time. This one question echoed through my head all week:

How on earth was I to run 26 miles having only gone over 15 once and nearly dying in the process?

From Never Running To An Ultramarathon In A Year
Part 1: It All Started…
Part 2: Injuries!
Part 3: The Wall.
Part 4: The Marathon
Part 5: Putting On My New Feet
Part 6: The Alligator That Smiled At Me
Part 7: The Book That Plants
Part 8: First Barefoot Race
Part 9: Running Forever in the Park
Part 10: The Short Race Report
Part 11: Kansas City, Gonna Get My Baby Back Home
Part 12: The Return of the Long Lost Runs (no toilet humor please)
Part 13: Dorothy, We Are In Kansas Anymore
Part 14: Worn
Part 15: Valet = Achilles Tendinitis = No more running this year, well…
Part 16: Marathon Decisions: Screw It
Part 17: 9.5 Months After Losing Da Shoes: The Kansas City Marathon
Part Last

theStreetrunner Written by:


  1. 04/03/2015

    How adorable I wish I would have known I would have ceehred them on. Rocco and I were on the Katy trail where the marathon ended that morning and saw a bunch of people coming in their last mile how great!

  2. 02/20/2015

    Tim, you looked great this sumemr when I saw you! Kudos to you for losing some weight and taking on this challenge. I need to do the same! I’m not going to wish you luck ’cause I know you’ll conquer this challenge like all the others. Bravo!

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