I was going to do EVERYTHING new for this race.
Here's how it all went down:
The race expo was our first stop after arriving San Diego. It was epic. We were there from about 2:00 until closing at 6:00. Yes, there was that much to try on, test out, and taste. My wallet really got a workout too.
Following your advice, my first order of business was to buy a pair or compression sleeves for my calves to help with the muscle cramps. I ended up getting the full length 2XU compression tights (new thing #1). I promise you…you’ll want to keep checking out your bum in the mirror when you have these pants on. If nothing else, at least they’ll make you look sleek and fast. They felt equally as great on my legs.
Next, I visited the KT Tape booth and had them apply tape to both my legs in a way meant to alleviate calf muscle strains (new thing #2).
After the expo we walked over to Petco Park to watch a Padres game. Elijah has some pretty sweet season tickets.
|Our lucky night. It was Padres garden gnome giveaway night :P|
Along with my standard PB sandwich, I followed Elijah’s advice and enjoyed a can of FRS (new thing #3) with my breakfast. I also stuffed a couple of the FRS chews in my pocket in case of emergency.
After a group photo, we embarked on our 1.5 mile walk to the starting line.
Along with staying in control of my pace, staying ahead of my hydration/nutrition needs was critical. I was really afraid of repeating ODDyssey all over again.
We arrived at the starting area around 5:50. The conditions were just right with a starting temp in the high 50's, a light breeze, and no humidity. The first wave of runners started at exactly 6:15. I was seeded in corral 2, but decided to start in corral 4 instead so I wouldn't be seduced into taking off too fast. At 6:19, I was off.
Normally I’d get frustrated with the congestion at the beginning of a large race, but I didn't attempt to bob and weave around other runners to get ahead in the opening miles. There was no point in expending that extra energy and adding extra distance to my race. I settled into a rhythm with the runners around me, and gave my calf a chance loosen up.
At mile 3, I saw my first aid station and grabbed a cup of Cytomax (new thing #4). Normally I’d wait until mile 6 or 7 to grab some water and maybe some Gatorade at miles 8 and 10. This time I wanted to start taking in sports drink as soon as possible. From miles 3-10, I alternated between Cytomax and water at each aid station (new thing #5). I also chomped on 3 Clif Shot Bloks and a couple FRS chews in between miles 4 and 10 (new thing #6).
We ran on some major highways and through Balboa Park. Although the course was flat for the most part, it had it’s share of sneaky hills. You know, the low grade variety that look innocent enough in the beginning but seem to go on forever. I tried to run based on feel and not get trapped by my Garmin this time around.
The RnR people know how to put on a good event. The post race party was fully stocked with goodies.
My stomach usually won’t allow food after the race. Instead of waiting around for an hour or two this time, I knew it was important to get some carbs and protein into my system for muscle recovery, so I forced some in anyway (new thing #7). I downed a full bottle of Cytomax and a Marathon Energy bar.
I found Mr. Blondie and some other friends with the help of some very kind person who let me use his phone. We gathered back around the finish line and cheered for Adelle as she finished her first half marathon strong in 2:31.
Then the waiting began. I’m very glad I grabbed my hat at the last minute. I would have been baked to a crisp in the bright sun without it.
Around 11:00 it was time for me to walk back to Fiesta Island to pace Elijah through the home stretch. You have to really dig deep into your soul to survive the last few miles of a marathon, so I don’t know if my upbeat chatter was annoying or helpful. I’d like to think it was the latter.
His longest run leading up to the marathon was a 10 miler. Not gonna lie EJ, I choked a little when you said that. But in true Elijah fashion, he set his mind to doing something and he made it happen. Congrats EJ! You’re totally in for RnR Miami now right???
Now to the part you really want to know about….
The result of trying all this new stuff?
A new PR!
After 2 months of weak training, I finished 30 seconds faster than my previous best with an official time of 1:36:09. Plus, I woke up feeling great the next morning and barely had any soreness.
Here are my splits:
The more hydration/fuel stuff is a no-brainer, I should have been doing that all along. I really liked the taste of the specific products I tried and how easy they were to digest. The compression tights and KT tape made my legs feel great, and I think they made a big difference in my recovery too.
I’ll definitely continue to experiment with everything and figure out how to best incorporate them into my running.
Sub 1:35 half…I’m coming for you this fall.