My First Half Marathon

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26 April 2014

Today I ran my first half marathon through downtown Nashville. I had a friendly competition going with Kanutte from Cara's lab. Here are the splits:

As you can see, I was running pretty solidly until those last 3 miles. My hope of finishing under 2 hours, however, was obviously unrealistic.

So what happened? During the tenth mile I realized I was overheating - I hadn't dumped any water on my head yet and I was wearing a hat to protect my face from the sun. I dumped water on my head when I passed the next water station, but I should have stopped to pee to dump some heat that way as well. By the time I reached the 11th mile marker I had realized my mistake and decided to rectify it by another dump on my head, larger draughts of Gatorade and water than I usually take (to avoid cramping), and a trip to the john. Urine not too dark? Check. At least I'd been hydrating well. I walked the next 100 yards or so and then decided I felt good enough to run again.

And I was. For another half mile or so. Then my body had another another surprise for me. My calves seized up with full-on charlie horses. Apparently I'd been running too much beyond my body's aerobic capacity. The lactic acid had built up to the point where those muscles had become non-functional. I stretched out the charlie horses and started walking. I walked up to where a hose was being sprayed to cool off and stood under it for about 30 seconds. I wasn't about to deal with more overheating AND lactic acid. I slowly worked my way up to a jog and slowed down at any twinge in either calf. This usually lasted about a hundred yards or so before they completely seized up again and I was forced to stop and stretch them out again. I did this repeatedly for the next mile. Now you know why it took me 50 minutes to cover those last 5K. Coming up the last hill when my calves seized up for the umpteenth time I had an epiphany: if these muscles weren't getting me anywhere, then I needed to use other ones. So I turned around and ran the last half mile backwards. Up the hill, over the bridge, and across the finish line I got cheers from spectators who wrongly thought I was showboating. I just knew it would have taken me at least another twenty minutes if I hadn't!


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Last change was on 29 April 2014 by Bradley James Wogsland.
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