"I don't run!" And yet, this is my first ... hmmm...
RUNNING?!? report! While in the Army 20+ years ago I
needed a medical waiver for running. The medics could push on the bottom
of my knee caps and watch them pop in and out. Running hurt. I didn't do
it. Period. Last year a friend invited me to join him on a triathlon, so
I gave him my pat "I don't run" response. But it had been quite a while
since I've tried running and have put over 100k miles of cycling into my
legs (which tends to build the muscles around the knees), so during
lunch one day last December I decided to give it a try, expecting pain
and a potential long walk home. 4-5 miles later I was rather surprised
not to have any pain!
It's recommended to go through a minimum 4 month build up training
program prior to attempting a full marathon. But how does a regular
cycling routine factor into that? I knew the Lost Dutchman Marathon was
coming up and I tend towards extremes, so why not. I registered and
started running 4-6 miles several times a week. My running friends told
me I was plain nuts and would risk all of my cycling goals if I
attempted a full marathon. Right. Then on a Saturday I went for my first
10 mile run. And strained a calf muscle. Damn. They were all right.
Stupid muscle adaptation process!
So I backed off running time and intensity and let my calf heal. With
that decrease, there was no way I'd be ready for the marathon, so I
contacted the organizer and asked him to change my registration to the
1/2 marathon. At a slow easy pace I knew I'd be able to do that. After
two weeks of "easy distance" running, I started to step up distance
again and was able to complete a 10 mile run, without pain two weekends
before the event (I had a 300k bike ride scheduled for the weekend
before the run). I was running or walking every day the week of the run.
I felt ready.
It was expected to be a cold morning for the run (in the high 30's), so
I bundled up with a fleece pull-over, ear warmers under a ball cap and
glove liners. It was still cold while milling around at the start. I had
time to do some stretching before heading over to the starting line. The
start was surprisingly similar to a cycling event with people who
thought they were faster trying to edge their way closer to the front. I
hit the start button on my Garmin Forerunner 405 right when the gun went
off then waited a few seconds for the people in front of me to start
The pace picked up faster than I thought it would (or maybe I was a bit
too close to the front). I expected my pace to be 11:30 to 12 min miles
(a nice easy pace), but those first few miles were closer to 8:30. It
must have been something about running with a group because I rarely ran
that fast while training (even before the strained calf muscle). It took
about two miles before the pack thinned out and I settled in to a 10-11
min pace. It also warmed up way faster than I expected (of course it
could have been that fast start too), so I started stripping off clothes
by the 3rd mile.
The hill known as the "Dutchman's Revenge" didn't seem that bad going
out, but overall the course had more rolling hills than I expected. I
also learned the hard way that I'm not coordinated enough to drink from
a cup of water while running. I tried it once and water sloshed all over
me. From then on I'd grab a cup, run to the end of the water station,
stop, drink it, then continue. Luckily I only had to do that a couple
The way back was generally downhill and I gained new appreciation for
coasting on my bike! There's no resting with forward momentum while
running! I was a bit surprised by the grade when I got back to the
Dutchman's Revenge. It certainly didn't look that steep while running
down it! Most people were walking up it, but I ran up it.
I didn't know how I would respond when the finish came in sight. When
cycling, I often get "horse to barn" syndrome and my speed seems to
gradually, but surely increase the closer I get to the finish and other
times I go into recovery mode and ride easy to the finish. I knew I was
well ahead of my expected 2:30-2:45 finishing time, so I went into
recovery mode. My pace dropped off and I walked a bit up the last hill.
I wound up crossing the finish line in 2:10:21 (official time, my Garmin
showed 2:10:22 with a distance of 13.15 miles - guess I need to be more
efficient on cornering!). Overall it was a good experience and I think
the cross training has helped with my cycling. I seem to be riding
consistently faster at a higher weight.
I felt pretty good right after the race. My legs were tired, but I
wasn't in any pain until later in the day. I had some errands to run and
was in my car for a couple hours. When I got out, my right shin/calf had
some intense pain and it was difficult to walk. All I can think is the
muscle tightened up and I pulled something when I got out of the car. A
spin on my rollers a couple days after the run seems to have loosened it
up and there is only mild lingering pain now that I expect will be gone
by the weekend.
Next year, the full 26.2 marathon will be on my schedule, but I'll have
plenty of time to train for it and get an appropriate level of muscle
adaptation! Turns out I do run!