Thanks for bearing with me as I play catch up on everything after being away for a few days. If you haven’t read it yet, Natalie got her ODDyssey race recap post up in record time.
Getting ready to leave the house. I carried my tutu so it wouldn’t get crushed in the car. I was going for "Black Swan", maybe it was more like "Ugly Duckling".
It was really easy to get the race and there was plenty of parking near the start/finish line at Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park. I arrived there nice and relaxed, and figured if I finished in 1:45 it would be a good day.
The lines for the porto-pots were too long before the race, so I didn’t get to go before the race started. The starting official gave the 5 minute warning to all the racers in line and assured everyone there were plenty of pots along the course. Balancing pre-race hydration with bathroom opportunities is always a tricky proposition.
I didn’t have big expectations for this race, thus I didn’t have the typical surge of raceday adrenaline catapulting me off the starting line. This was to my advantage since I’d normally want to take off like a bat out of hell. The first few miles were nice and controlled.
By mile 4 those promised porta-pots still hadn’t materialized, and I said screw it. I had to go. I ducked behind a bush and instantly felt 10 times better. When I jumped back onto the course, I received round of applause and a thumbs-up from a group of guys running by. Leaping on and off the course like that could only mean one thing.
Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go. At least I looked for ample coverage first!
Aside from that, the first 8 miles felt surprisingly comfortable. The flat course, cool breeze, and overcast skies really made a difference compared to what I’ve been training in. I was thinking to myself hey, you’re actually doing this! Everything was going well until mile 9. The out of nowhere came the calf cramp of death.
Still feeling good
I can’t think of a single race where I’ve had a muscle cramp so bad I couldn’t work through it. I stopped, stretched, massaged, walked, repeated….again and again. After about half a mile of this I began to lose my composure. What the hell was I going to do? Take a DNF and ride the SAG wagon back? No I’d come too far not to finish. Walk it to the finish? Walking still hurt and meant another hour on the course wallowing in my misery.
As I watched my time go down the drain, of course I did the
I knew it was going to be close. I held my breath as I looked up my official time at the computer kiosks they had set-up in the finish area. 1:40:24. Bummer. My garmin must have auto-paused somewhere along the way without me realizing it. I don’t know how I ended up with such a big discrepancy.
1:40 is now the benchmark by which I judge a half-marathon to be a success or not. So yeah, it dills my pickle I came that close and didn’t break it, but it was still a much better race than I anticipated.
Mmmm beer. Toasting with Natalie
Like Shelby, I learned there’s always a first time for everything. I did a lot of icing on Sunday, and wrapped my calf tightly in an ace bandage for compression. It’s still sore, but feeling much better. I’m going to give it couple more days of rest before I try to work out on it again.
Flight back to Atlanta. The kiddo was spent after the weekend too.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary before the cramp started. My first sips of carbs/electrolytes weren’t until mile 8 (I’d had some water, but didn’t see Gatorade at any of the aid stations prior to this). However I never eat/drink during training runs and it wasn’t particularly hot out, so that didn’t strike me as being potentially troublesome. I don’t want to repeat this next weekend in San Diego.
Hit me with your advice. Has anyone been plagued by random cramps like this? How do you handle it during a race?
A/G (30 to 39)- 7/302