Scooby’s First Half Marathon

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As many of you know my primary fitness goals over the last 4 years have been related to doing triathlons. When I started, running was my primary obstacle not only because I had never done it before but also because of my high weight and knee issues. I started with the sprint triathlons (0.5mi swim, 12mi bike, 3mi run), then moved on to the olympic distance triathlons (1mi swim, 25mi bike, 6mi run). My next goal is the half ironman which is a 1.2 mile swim, 56mile bike ride, and a half marathon and I plan on doing one next spring.

Since running has always been my main obstacle, I have been focusing hard on that. Not only have I been running a lot but I have been working on my calves and hamstrings flexibility because those were causing some of my knee issues. Yesterday was my first trial run of the half marathon and I have to say that overall I was very, very pleased. Mainly because I had no joint pain whatsoever. Between my floating-head technique that minimizes impact force and my stretching, I had no crippling knee pain even after 13.1 miles.

The race day was quite hot, upper 80s near 90 so hydration was key. I started my hydrating strategy 4hours before the run to make sure I was 100% fully hydrated before the race. After the first 40 minutes of running my big green hat was completely soaked and dripping with sweat so it was clear that despite being fully hydrated that some hydration breaks were in order. No biggie, I didnt care that much about my time and it was more important to stay fully hydrated.

Time to mention one of the top 20 stupidest things I have done in my life, I did an intense leg workout the day before the half marathon. It was leg day and I didnt want to throw off my workout schedule so I did legs anyway. My rationale was that in a real Ironman triathlon, before the run I would have to swim 1.2 miles and bike 56 miles so the DOMS from the leg workout would do a good job simulating the pain of the swim and bike ride. Clever rationalization but really pretty stupid. Race morning I had some pretty bad DOMS, after about the first mile though I felt great. Everything was great, at mile 9 I remember thinking “Gee, this is way easier than I though!”, then came mile 10. I have never, ever had quad pain while running or biking but at mile 10 my quads hurt like they have never hurt before – a combination of weight workout from the day before and the 10 miles running. Anyway, the quad pain got progressively worse till the last 2 miles when I was forced to walk about 20 seconds every minute.
Anyway, all in all, a major step forward for me. I was able to check off the last of my fitness goals for 2011 with 3 months to spare :) Its clear that my current training plan is working well and that the stretching is vitally important for me and I need to continue it. I still have a lot of work but I am right on track for my half Ironman in the spring.

Seeking shelter after the run