Oct

12

Anyone that has run a marathon recognizes the symptoms. Wall Street has "hit the Wall."

You start to run out of glucose/carbohydrates fuel about 90 minutes into a run at a good pace, at which point your body slowly converts to burning fat and protein. If you train right you can extend the glycogen oxygenation process until about two hours into a run. After that you simply run out of fuel and any new sugars that enter through digestion are burned quicker than they can be produced.

At this point your body's fuel is supplied mostly by cannibalizing itself. The proteins come from the muscles, this creates a debilitating loop; making each step harder than the last.

But what is most debilitating is the effects on the mind. Without the glucose your brain also goes into a depressed state. It is this temporary depression that makes the marathon such a challenge. Each step not only takes more effort, it becomes harder and harder to will your body to continue. Most first time marathoner, upon finishing promise themselves never to do that again.

Once you hit the wall almost anything can happen. This far into a race, many of your systems have already been overextended. With such stress on the body, continuing on can cause many other things to break down due to anything from poor form to internal chemistry. People weave like a drunk, faint from exhaustion, and start crying like a baby.

Personally, I have been diagnosed as gone into shock at 21 miles medical tent only to snap out before the ambulance arrived to jog to the finish. I had several cases of hypothermia, almost always severe cramps, countless blisters some bleeding so bad my socks were ruined, several toe nails completely ripped off. For me it is normal to be so dehydrated that I can't keep fluids down and must get some salt in me before it will start to be absorbed. Also I have had several IV's immediately after a race. For most ultra-marathoners (beyond 42 k or 26.2 miles) keeping hydrated and good electrolyte balances are critical to finishing the race

The recovery from a marathon is different than it is from most other races. While the depression generally is temporary and the spirits lift once digestion or IV's replace the liquids and sugars: it takes awhile before you can start to function normally. Like post-birthing blues, many people take awhile to fully recover mentally. I have even heard of Ultra-marathoners, who done more than 100 miles never quite recovering, falling into a real depression. Those that over indulge their rest, tend to take much longer to recover. The best medicine is to get out there an do something.

For this reason I try to run or if injured, cross train every day at about 2/3rds reduced time, effort and distance. After about 7 days I'll try a more normal run after 2 weeks try to go back to normal training. However, my hard days I expect to be slower. If no complications occur after about the 3rd week I will often get a bounce from the blood volume increasing. For instance to qualify for the 96 USA Olympic Trials, I ran a marathon in Huntsville Al Dec.9 when they had record lows an howling winds. I completed the race without qualifying. So I ran the Last Chance Marathon on Dec. 30 in Tampa where I won and qualified with a 2:20:26.,( the cut off date was Dec. 31 1995 for the trials with max time of 2:22:00 and also last date to qualify for the 100Th Boston )

But many great runners never learned how to run a marathon. Mark Curp for instance held the half marathon record for awhile, fell apart the few times he tried.

What does this all mean for Wall Street? Will they fall apart and go on a death march? Will they bounce roaring back?

I'll leave up to the reader to decide, because as I said anything can happen. But when I bounced back, I was near the best shape ever in my life. I was getting great advice from a former Olympian.

And the best advice for overcoming the Wall, forget the past and the future live in the moment. If you've done well, the worst mistake is to think you can back off the effort. Or think this time it will be different, I'm immune from the Wall. Always expect It to flip you on your back. If you are been hurt, having a bad day and slowed, always keep trying to shore up the pace. Forget the finish line on the horizon, and concentrate on doing your best the next yard.


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