Yesterday I set out to run 13.1 miles (the distance of a half marathon) for the grand finale of my running program.
I had not run since Wednesday, and was a little concerned that my muscles might object to the distance I would be asking of them. I wasn’t wrong. Though I did some gentle, pre-run stretches and started out very slow, I immediately felt tightness in both calves. You know that feeling… as if your calves are rubber bands, stretched to their limit, feeling like they’re going to snap at a moment’s notice? Yeah, not nice. Anyway, I stopped after the second mile or so, did some deeper stretches and walked it out a bit. Thankfully, that did the trick and they began to loosen up over the next half a mile. Before long, I was good to go.
I hit a great stride after the fifth mile and everything was going wonderfully. Until I got slowed down and finally stopped by a deep covering of snow and slush over the remainder of my running trail. Seriously? It’s mid-April for pity’s sake! There was no way to circumnavigate the mess and I was forced to turn back an eighth of a mile early. This translated into a 12.86 mile run instead of the proposed 13.1. It isn’t much, but enough to make this perfectionist go, UGHHHH!
However, the momentum held and I was able to jog for the better part of the time, despite the fact that my quads began to cramp around the 10½-mile mark. It was also around this time that I felt the dreaded “wall” approaching! With a few squirts of my homemade energy/electrolyte drink, some water, and sheer determination, I was able to push through the soreness and fatigue to finish the last miles in strong form.
I completed the run in 2:49:00. And I’m quite happy with that, since I still would have finished in less than 3 hours, had it been the full 13.1 miles. Slow for most, but darn-near miraculous for me!
When I got home, I had a banana and some water, rolled the leg muscles - something I’d never done before, (and oh my gosh, the pain!) - and then applied ice. These post-run tricks worked beautifully and this morning I felt very little soreness. (Edit: Scratch that… by Sunday late evening, my quads were killing me. Blasted DOMS!) To further help keep the muscles loose and supple, I headed out a few hours ago for a 3-mile walk.
Not bad for someone who has never, even as a child, been physically fit