Leg Cramps And No Worries
Monday, May 14, 2012
If nothing else, I am consistent.
I've found marathon training to be very interesting. I did really well with 2 weeks at each distance until I got into the higher mileage. Once I got past 16 miles, I started developing a pattern of having a really good long run one week, followed by a terrible second run at the same distance. It was frustrating at first, but I've gotten used to it. I'm starting to think about how I would train differently the next time I do this (though that won't be for a while - I promised Andy). I think next time I will give myself a longer training period and plan on alternating long and short runs when I get into the longer distances. I'm also planning on continuing my weekend runs and keeping myself in half marathon shape. That way I can run some of the half marathons I've be thinking about, and I will have less building up to do when I next decide to run a full marathon.
Anyway, yesterday was supposed to be my last long training run. I was going to do another 22 mile run before starting my taper. Things didn't go according to plan. I started out fine. It was raining, but it wasn't heavy enough to be unpleasant. I was feeling pretty good for the first 8 miles, and then I started to feel achy. Lately, I haven't felt this until much later in the run. Last week I didn't get achy until mile 18. I knew it wasn't going to be good. Still, I pushed on. I wanted to finish the run because it was my last one.
At mile 10, I got a terrible cramp in my hamstring. I tried to keep going, but it hurt. I tried walking. I stopped and stretched. Nothing was helping. My hamstring felt like a rubber band that was about to snap. I also started cramping in my quads, my calves, my other hamstring, and my feet. The cramps in my feet were incredibly painful, but I still tried to keep going.
At mile 12, I turned around. My plan had been to run from my house to St. Albans, the reverse of what I ran the week before. Andy was going to bring me Gatorade soon, and I knew I couldn't go any further. I started hobbling back, and at mile 13 Andy and the kids arrived, and I went home with them. That last mile was excruciating. I tried to run, but it hurt. Walking hurt. I slipped in some mud, and for a moment my hamstring hurt so much that I thought I had injured myself.
That was why I turned around. I didn't want to cut my last run short, but I also knew that if I kept going I would injure myself. And I knew that if I injured myself after all of this training and couldn't race, I would be really angry with myself. So, I made the smart choice. And, I feel good about that.
I know that I am ready for the marathon (or at least as ready as I am going to be). I've done 22 miles, and if I can do 22, I can do 26.2. I know how good my legs feel after a couple easier weeks, so I think I will feel great and have a good run on race day. I'm super excited for it.
I have one more training run. A short, 10 mile run. I think I'm going to go back to my old route with the 3 miles of hills. I'd like to get some more hills in before the race. I'm looking forward to it and to having more of my weekend free because I'm not spending an entire day running. It will be nice to have my life back, but I definitely don't regret training for this race. I've learned a lot about myself and my body through training, and I've changed in a lot of positive ways. I'm psyched to do this and put all my training to good use!