Before I got into cycling, I competed in the marathon for a few years with the hopes of qualifying for the Olympic Trials in Boston in 2008. Over those few years, my coach and teammates pushed me to a fitness that I never imagined possible. At my goal qualifying race, the Houston Marathon, I was ready. As the miles ticked by, I was perfectly on pace to run 2:45, which would be a 2-minute cushion on the cut-off. At 20 miles, I could hardly believe it. Not that long ago, I could barely do 6:20 pace for a 5k, let alone a marathon. It was going to happen… I thought… Then at mile 23, everything unraveled. I went from a confident clip to barely being able to drag my feet in front of each other. As I finally turned onto the long finishing straight, the seconds ticked by faster than I could force myself forward and I shuffled across the line 16 seconds short of my goal. What happened? In short, I messed up my fueling! Caught up in my race toward my goal, I had neglected to take in calories during the marathon. After all, I wasn’t hungry, and up until mile 23 I seemed to have the energy.
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