Monday, April 19, 2010

Marathon After-Action Report:

Everything was going great for about the first three miles, then suddenly I got a giant cramp in my right calf. I had to stop and massage my calf, then when I started back up, it hurt just as bad. I didn't want to quit but didn't see how I could keep running when I couldn't even walk. On the other side of it--how could I quit at three miles? Anybody can run three miles and I trained like a dog for this.

I got back out there and just tried to adjust my stride: In stead of landing on my forefoot and then springing forward, I landed on my heel and pushed-off with it. It was still painful but I could move.

Normally, I will run 20-30 seconds per mile under 8:00 for the first half to two thirds of the way, in order to build-up a cushion of time for when I get tired and have to go slower. The problem with this inefficient stride is that I was putting-out 7:30 - 7:40 effort but only making eight minute miles. So, I got tired out more quickly and at the end of it had no time saved-up. I took about 20 minutes more for the race than I had last year.

So, what happened? I cannot say for sure. I do not usually get cramps in my calf except maybe toward the end of a marathon and then one can get cramps anywhere due to lack of fluid and electrolytes. I normally tie my shoes fairly loosely in races since it is uncomfortable to spend over 3 hours with tight shoes on. Possibly I overdid this. Also, I put glide onto my toes since I had gotten a giant blister in the New York City Marathon. Either of these two things may have caused me to tense-up my calf. I did notice that my feet were sliding around in my shoes and this would be consistent with my theory.

My last marathon before this was effortless (to the extent that a 26.2 mile run can be), so I suppose I was due a hellish one just to even things out. When I resumed running back at the three mile mark, I didn't expect to finish: I figured that I would just get myself closer to the finish and thus make reuniting with my family a little easier.

Checkpoints 5k 10k 15k 20k Half 25k 30k 35k 40k

0:23:46 0:49:02 1:13:50 1:39:43 1:45:23 2:05:48 2:33:39 3:03:00 3:34:00 0:08:43 3:48:20 11995 8291 1685

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