Thursday, November 08, 2012
I have read that many first time marathoners get something called post marathon blues. Runners train hard, often for many months, to achieve a goal that few have accomplished. Then the goal is completed on marathon day. Naturally, you get the huge sense of accomplishment. Then what? Your goal is done. What can you ever do to match this herculean effort? Now comes a sense of depression or post marathon blues.
Being aware of this possibility it did concern me a bit. I wondered how I would react, post marathon. I need not have been concerned.
In my case, I got home, did my recovery steps. Lots of rest, good diet, stretching and foam rolling as needed to decrease pain. Within a few days, I felt 100 percent. I went for a nice walk/run yesterday. Only 2 miles. I felt great and wanted to go further, but I reigned in, and took it easy. In the afternoon, I did about 15 minutes of ST. Mostly warm up stuff, and then low weights. Again forcing myself to keep it light. I felt great.
Before and after the training, I had been on the computer, looking for races. I found a couple I liked. Signed up for a half marathon that I'd enjoyed last year.
Read an email from competitor.com - the sponsors of the Savannah Marathon. They asked for my feedback on the race, and in return they'd give me a $10 off coupon for any Rock N Roll event. I did that survey and was rewarded with a $10 off coupon code. I will use that to register for next years RNR Savannah Marathon. I liked it, and it's nearby, so I'll do it again next year.
I've been busy planning my activities, and inching back into training and feeling optimistic about my running possibilities. No marathon blues.
Just another surprise for me. Something I expected that never happened. Wonder if it's just a personality thing? I am just naturally optimistic, I always see the good in a bad situation. I certainly have not lead a charmed life, quite the opposite, in fact. I have had lots of problems, just like everyone else. I choose to not dwell on the negative, though. I look for the good and expect good things to come to me.
For what it's worth, I wasn't born an optimist, I had to work at it. I probably needed to, given my life's circumstances. But, those circumstances we will leave for another day.
So this was just something I've been thinking about, and I've concluded that the marathon blues are not a result of the marathon completion and let down as a natural or normal thing. It's just how one chooses to react to life's situation in general.
Thanks for reading and have a great day.
Sunday, November 04, 2012
On December 3, 2011 I ran my first race, a 5K in Orlando, FL. I had just turned 65 years old. This was after about 10 weeks of training, which started quite innocently as a way to lose a few pounds. I enjoyed it so much I thought I'd try to do a 5K.
Fast forward just about one year, and I have completed my 1st Marathon. The Savannah Rock N Roll Marathon, on November 3, 2012.
Having started only a year ago, I had no idea how this was going to go. Oh yeah, I had my secret hope of finishing in a certain time, but what do I know, it was all guess work. I had no idea how difficult this task would be. To further complicate matters, I had recently been in a small accident, where I hit my ribs and back a good shot. I have been in pain for the last 2 weeks and wasn't sure how that would affect my race. As it turns out, that was to be the least of my worries. In fact, the ribs hardly hurt at all once I got going. My feet and knees, which had given me trouble in the past also turned out to be almost perfect. Very little pain or discomfort. What did come upon me, was very serious leg cramps later in the race! This never happened during training, so was a complete surprise to me! I toughed it out, stretched as much as I could and was able to finish.
We got to the start line very early, and had to hang around for over an hour to start. I got up too early, didn't need the alarm. So I got dressed in the RV and was all set, so we just marched off to the race - a mile long walk. A nice warm up.
I found my corral easy enough and settled in. DW took a few pics of me standing and waiting. I saw a pacer holding a 4:45 sign, so I thought I'd follow her as long as I could. Which I did until the half marathon mark, and then I lost her.
Once we got started, the first thing I noticed is the massive crowd and onlookers standing on the roadside, all supporting the runners. This went on for almost the entire length of the race. Not having done this before, I was VERY surprised at the huge amount of spectator support. They were out there for us.
The first several miles went just fine. Wasn't too sure about pacing. I didn't want to go out too fast, and I'm just not good at doing my own pacing, so I followed the 4:45 group. This seemed comfortable to me, not too hard. I drank water and gatorade at every stop, carefully attended to my intake of food. I had fig newtons and gummy bears, and a couple of GUs as well. I took in a packet of salt in the near beginning, too. I thought I had this part covered.
When we hit the half marathon mark, the group split up. Half marathoners went right, full marathoners went left. It was now 2:20 into the race. In hindsight, probably still too fast for a marathon pace. I did feel like I was working now, so I slowed down and lost sight of the 4:45 group.
I was now walking once in a while. The miles went by.
Miles 16 through 18 we ran through Savannah State University. I have to say this was the highlight of the race. The kids were out there in full force, and they cheered us on continuously. I couldn't count the number of little groups, doing cheers, dancing, playing music, clapping and yelling. A couple of times someone would run with me, clapping, "you can do this", "I can't run around the block, good job, sir". They were just terrific.
We ran around the athletic track, and I was not feeling like running, I wanted to walk, but I kept going. As we left the campus, my legs began cramping. Calves, quads, AND hamstrings all took their turns. I had to stop several times and stretch. Of course I worried that the cramps would not go away - it was only mile 18 or so. It took a couple of miles of nursing them, stretching, massaging over and over, but they eventually weakened their grip enough to run again.
At one of the water stops they had salt packets, so I loaded up on salt. That may have been what pulled me through the cramps. Certainly, I had been careful with my hydration and eating. I took salt before the start, and during - but maybe not enough.
At the mile 20 sign I laughed and yelled at the 'race coach' "Oh no, The Wall!" which got a lot of laughs and positive reinforcement from the supporters on the side of the road. I never really felt like I hit any wall, it was just constantly being tired - no significant, bump up in fatigue. So I kept going as best I could, now walking a lot. When I tried to speed up, the cramps came back, so I stayed at a slower pace, taking smaller strides which seemed to work.
Just after mile 23 we started back up the ramp to the Harry Truman Parkway, out in full sun, uphill. We runners mostly walked up this hill, it was rough on all of us who ran this pace. For that matter, the rest of the race was uphill, in varying degrees. Not good. This was boring, because there were no spectators, but not too boring, because it was the final 3 miles, and I knew I was within the closing miles of marathondom.
Exit the parkway at mile 25 and heading to the finish. There would be no final push on this race. I was running on willpower, in some pain, but determined. I chugged along the final corridor hearing all the crowd support, they meant well, but it didn't help me much at this point. I forced myself to smile at the finish line, and stumbled across.
I had completed my first marathon!
DW was there, took some pictures. I was in a fog, no sense of elation or emotional reaction that some have. I was expecting it, but in my case, I just felt calm, proud and tired. Interesting, because I have read many marathon reports and folks often are overwhelmed by emotion. Not so for me, that was my reaction and it sort of surprised me.
There was so much food at the finsh! Bagels, chocolate milk, GU, energy bars, fruit cups, bananas and more I am sure. I had no appetite but I forced down a banana and chocolate milk. I took a Snickers energy bar for later.
Sat in the park for a few minutes and then walked back to the RV parking lot. It was another mile of walking. No problem, 'cuz I wasn't in a hurry.
Once I arrived at the RV, almost immediately, I went to SparkPeople.com to see if Spark Friend Laurie, LAURIE5658, had anything to say on my page. I knew she had been watching my race via some virtual race thingy online.
There were lots of nice comments. The first from Laurie and more from Richard, my geezer pal, ONMYMEDS, who also was spying on me online. He and I both started running at a little later than most, and we both ran a marathon within a year or so of starting. So, we share information on our unique situation. Thank you, Laurie and Richard.
All in all a wonderful experience.
You have to be a runner to understand how something so painful and exhausting can be called "a wonderful experience". But, I guess you sparkers understand.
Thanks for reading and have a great day.
Edit: I just went online and checked the race results. It seems I won 3rd place in my age division on my very first marathon!!
Edit 2: Just found out there has been a corrected race result. Now I am posted as 4th place, after the correction!
Friday, November 02, 2012
Got to Savannah yesterday afternoon. I wanted to make sure to get a good parking place at the Savannah Visitors Center. They allow RV parking overnight, and it's less than a mile from the starting line!
We got to the Expo Center at 2PM - so it was really easy to get in and get out. Virtually no traffic problems. I had heard it was a real nightmare last year on the Friday before the race, so that's another reason I decided to arrive Thursday afternoon.
The staff was all very hospitable, and smiling faces everywhere. I didn't shop or look around at all. I beelined it for my race number, T-shirt and swag bag - all at different tables.
DW waited in the RV and was surprised I got back so quickly.
Then we headed to the visitors center to park the RV and settle in for the wait 'til race day. It's now Friday morning, and 51 degrees. They are expecting high temps of 75 tomorrow. Not too bad.
Here I am with my swag.
Today, we'll take the dogs, my 2 boston terriers, down to the start line and check things out.
At my age, I don't get excited about much anymore. I've seen and done a lot, and nothing excites me anymore. This is one of those exceptional times where I am a bit excited. It feels good.
Thanks for reading and have a great day.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
A strong cold weather front brought temps of 51 degrees way down here in Florida this morning! Perfect weather for running.
Today will be my last training run until my marathon this Saturday. My back was injured recently, so I've been having constant soreness. I hesitate to call it pain, although it does hurt sometimes when I get up from lying down. I've cut way back on my training, so as to recover enough to finish on marathon day. However, it is taper week, so I believe my prior training will be enough.
This morning I ran just about 5K, a tad over, actually, in 32:02 without any real pain, or discomfort. I ran the entire distance at a nice even pace and felt fine, not like I was racing or overdoing the run.
Very encouraging. I still have 3 more days of recovery, too.
The weather forecast is for lows of 49 deg and highs in the low to mid 70s on race day. Not ideal, but good enough. I certainly have prepared for warm weather running, another plus for me. I doubt the humidity will be too high either, not like here.
I am getting a bit ansty now. There are so many things to remember.
Okay, this was supposed to be short, so I'm ending it here. Wish me luck.
Thanks for reading and have a great day.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
My back/rib pain had been improving all week. I was able to run up to 6 miles without too much discomfort. Then yesterday, since all my repair parts had arrived, I decided to work on the motorcycle. Not a big job, just replacing clutch perch and lever, and remove and replace shifter peg. I was able to do this without real pain. Nevertheless, I was up and down a lot, and had to be a bit aggressive turning a rusted bolt on the clutch adjustment cable. I did feel some pain then. So, I may have overdone it with exercising the sore back.
When I fell, I landed on my left side, and more on the back. My pain was on the rear of my left ribs. The soreness was improving somewhat, and I was optimistic that I'd be ready for my marathon next Saturday.
Then last night after all that work, it got to hurting again. So, being concerned about my fitness to do a marathon, I spent another couple of hours researching stress fractures, deep bruising, and blunt trauma injuries to the ribs and back. Also, checking if runners had been able to run long distances with these types of injuries.
I was rewarded with story after story of those who had run marathons with similar injuries. Apparently with this type of trauma, and without sharp pain during running, runners have able to run through the pain and complete their races. This anecdotal sampling of mine included a few older runners, as well.
Being as driven as we can be, and having paid in advance for these marathons with time, money, and not an insignificant amount of training, we don't find it easy to cancel our big day. Even if we've run 30 marathons before, we don't want to cancel.
So, today, I have an 8 mile run scheduled. I am also very sore again. I will not do that 8 miler, I'm thinking about taking the entire week off and just recover as much as possible before race day. Then run a damn 'to finish' race come Saturday. In my last 6 miler, I actually got into a zone where I forgot I was injured, and was just running comfortably. That's not to say I will duplicate that zone for 26.2 miles, but still, it was encouraging.
I know some people will find my decision unwise, but I truly believe I can do this, as others have. I have a pretty good pain threshold, and I am able to deep breath comfortably. My DW is a retired orthopedic nurse, and even though not enthusiastic about my running on Saturday, is not really pushing me to stay home on race day, either. I know she's been watching me too, so I suppose she hasn't seen any behavior in me that would give her reason to insist I not run.
I have the option of dropping out at the half marathon point, and going on to finish the half only, if I find I am in trouble and can't finish the entire marathon. So, there's a way out of the DNF category. I can't see that happening, but there is an out for me.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
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