Sunday, May 31, 2009

Test of will power, but I finished RNR Marathon under 4 hours!

The past month has been tough as the calf muscle injury evolved into much bigger issue affecting all of my right lower leg and the outer portion of my right quadracep. I never was able to get back onto my training schedule and the longest run I had within the two weeks prior to RNR race day was 2 miles! As you can imagine, I was really uncertain how things would play out today when I headed to the start line.

I'm happy to report that I was able to overcome the odds and complete the race. Wasn't pretty, but I walked all the uphills, ran the downhills as fast as I could, and did my best to keep pace up on the flats. My half marathon split was 1:46 so was on pace for a 3:30 marathon, but by the time I got to mile 17 my legs were wearing out due to my altered running stride since I couldn't push off my toe using calf muscle.

Walking the hills had a few benefits I've not experienced before. For one, I took some photos and even uploaded one to Facebook at mile 20. Also stopped to eat some extremely good watermellon. Another benefit was less wear and tear overall. I'm writing this 10 hours after I finished and I actually feel pretty good.

Official race time was 3 hours 56 minutes so broke the 4 hour mark. Not bad for all the walking I did. More important, my calf muscle feels pretty good. I had a scare at mile 1 where it acted up and I started limping pretty bad. As I made my way to the side of road to walk I thought to myself, too early in race...let's run very lightly as if running on egg shells and see if we can work it out. Low and behold it worked out. Half mile later I was cruising along pain free with normal running stride that lasted me until mile 8 when I hit the big hill going up Hwy 163.

Since I hadn't run any long distances for a full month, my fitness level definitely took a hit too. And...my mind wasn't prepared. Once I got into the higher miles I actually found myself thinking my god this is a long way to run. Yesterday when I was at the race expo I got to meet Ryan Hall. That was very cool. He signed an autograph for me that said "Mike, discover what's inside". There definitely were several times today where I was feeling the pain and tired...and I thought about Ryan and what he wrote...and dug deep to keep going. Good stuff.

The race today also had a four person relay that my wife Lynn participated in with 3 of her girlfriends. Good news is the relay didn't bother the marathon runners and was well run. I think it's a great addition and hope they do it again next year so more people can experience the fun of running the streets of San Diego with live bands and screaming fans.

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