The Day Before the Marathon: Understanding and Living ADHD

Leave the first response April 28, 2007 / Posted in The Running Mind

The Day Before the Marathon: Understanding and Living ADHD
c. 2001 Austin “Ozzie” Gontang, Ph.D.

In the late 70’s, the depletion phase was standard operating procedure. The idea being to super saturate regarding carboloading. Ability to store 1.2 to 1.4 times more glycogen were the numbers batted around.

After the Sunday run until Wednesday, we would go high protein and minimal to no carbos. By Wednesday a 6 to 8 mile depletion run was truly an experience of running the Bataan Death March. My body remembers the experience of being carbo depleted and the feeling of not being able of going on…let alone run a marathon in 4 days.

After that is was a carbo gorging for a day and a half to two days.

Problems that might occur with the fanatical approach to depletion

1. From ketosis and not enough water taken during this period:
a. resistance down: colds, other bacteria invade
b. muscle injury or soreness from dehydration
c. high level of irritability
d. negative mental state about being able to run a mile let alone
a marathon.
e. bad breath

In the late 70’s moderation and common sense entered the scene.

Yo, Oz, by cutting back on your running and eating regular and drinking enough fluids to be well hydrated, you’ll carboload without the pain and minimize chances of injury and illness.

I realized that by eating normally for the last 3 days and hydrating well, that the energy I ran on was what was stored on Thursday and Friday for my Sunday marathon. How sensible.

I got into eating an early dinner of high bulk: romaine and leafy lettuce (not iceberg lettuce), cabbage, veggies, whole grain rolls or whole wheat bread and a little chicken or fish. Then I’d go to the pasta bash to hang out and get into the spirit and get energized by the spirit of my fellow marathoners…and just hang out and socialize – as I was already hyper from 2 or 3 days of minimal to no running. At these times I picked up a lot of folklore, and realized before it became a diagnosis that everyone of these marathoners or marathoners-to-be could be diagnosed as full blown Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disordered (ADHD).

It was all that pent up energy waiting to be released and having no outlet except talking and nervousness and apprehension and worry and anxiety and thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking about thinking and wondering and creating a million scenarios to worry about, fret, and fear. Fear of coming up with a pain or an injury somewhere in the marathon. So what happens if it occurs before the half marathon and it’s all due to going out to slow. But if I go out too slow, how will I make up those 2 or three minutes? And oh my gosh, I heard about the guy who forgot his shoes because he was so nervous. And the woman who forgot her running shorts and had to buy a new pair and didn’t wash them and the sizing cut the hell out of her inside thighs and she didn’t make her Boston qualifying time.

I’d better be careful to not put too much Bag Balm on and between my toes as I’ve heard that it creates a barrier and won’t allow the moisture on my feet to be easily evaporated. Then my feet will get soft and blister more easily. Damn! I forgot to put the piece of duct tape on the bottom of my Spenco inserts so they won’t slip forward like they usually do. And if that happens at mile 18 and I stop to fit them, I could get a cramp just like Steve got when he bent over to tie his shoe and he had to limp in the last 8 miles.

Wait Ozzie! Breathe! That’s right! Breathe! Feel better now. Wait! Take another breath. Hmmmm, throat feels a little raw. Wonder if I’m getting a sore throat. That’s all I need. If I’m not hydrated enough, my mucous membrane in my throat and nose is drier. But my pee’s clear the 6 times I’ve peed in the last 45 minutes. I remember someone picturing my throat to me like getting chapped lips. All that bacteria getting in those open wounds and multiplying, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 523, 1026, 2052, 4102, 8204, 16408, 32816, 64632, and that’s in only a minute or two. Wonder where I can get some salt? I could go to the restaurant and….borrow…some salt. If only I had brought my Cloraseptic. I really like that Cherry flavor more than the original. Sally Byram showed me how to inhale the salt water through my nose, so that I can bathe my sinuses and stop that rapidly growing bacteria in my nose and throat. It’s really hard for me. I gag and start to drive heave. Man, if that happens during a marathon.

Wait! Oz! Stop this mental chatter. Okay, okay. Calm. Calm Breathe. Calm. But what happens if I’m too calm and relaxed and don’t hear the alarm clock go off. I know. Oh, hello Operator. Can I get a 5:00 am wake up? And then can you call me back at 5:15 to make sure I haven’t overslept. I remember Vic Ryder the night before the Honolulu. We drank too much beer and he missed the start of the race. Oh, and I remember that I went out too fast and I promised myself that it was to be a training run for the San Diego Marathon. Damn, Kip caught me at 21 and said she wouldn’t wait for me if I didn’t keep up with her. Boy did I feel bad. Gotta remember to go out slow. Go out slow. Go out slow. But not too slow. No don’t start doubting now. Remember. Go out slow. Go out slow.

That feels better. Damn! Forgot to look and see what sports drink they have on the course. Man I loved it in the days of ol’ Bill Gookin and his ERG. Reconstituted sweat. Forget what it stands for. Oh, it’s Electrolyte Replacement…. Was the G for Glycogen? Maybe it was something else. Anyway it was just GookinAide. That stuff I had at mile 12 in the last marathon was so syrupy, I was sick to my stomach for the next three miles. Then that dumb guy that was yelling out “Water” and I dumped the stupid drink over my head.

Stop! Oz, you’re carboloaded and ready to go. You’ve finished your dinner early so you can have your proverbial big dump early. So get up walk out the door and go to the Pasta Party and be distracted by a few thousand other people who can take your mind off your marathon. The laughter from watching all the hyperactivity of the marathon mind leaking out from its collective carboloaded body and brain will calm you down. Go and enjoy the stories and the experience knowing that many of those people think that the Pasta as the last meal before the Marathon will make a difference. If they only knew: Nothing like running a marathon on an empty bowel. Remember you’re going there to meet people. No need to share any folklore or teach or tell people what they need to do.
Leave the room for the elevator four times. Forgetting wallet; then ticket for party; have to go pee once more and finally realized I didn’t have my shoes on.

That’s better. Doggone, this elevator seems a bit jerky. I hope it doesn’t stop between floors. I could be trapped in here for hours and not get a good nights sleep. But wait, Kevin McCarey did a marathon under 2:20 with minimal or no sleep. So don’t worry about it. I hope I packed my favorite racing T-shirt. I know I put it on the bed…

Elevator stops. Shot of adrenaline. Elevator door opens on eighth floor and a man in running gear enters. Door closes. Boy, had me scared there a moment.

Hi, I’m Charlie O’Leary from Boston, looks like you’re going to the Pasta Party, too. Mind if I tag along? Yo, Charlie, nice meeting you. Glad to have you tag along. I’m Ozzie Gontang, here from San Diego. Are you set for tomorrow? Well, come to think of it, Ozzie, I was feeling a little worried about…

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