Tuesday, October 9, 2012

We finished the marathon with personal best times

The victory photo.
The Good News...

We finished this weekend's marathon in Victoria with personal best times. I barely made my personal best time but Jean-Louis blew his away. Holy moly is what I said! Notice how I actually beat him in our first marathon?? Hard to believe now.

April 6, 2003 Le Marathon International de Paris:

Jean-louis 04h 16' 15" 9010th/25806 Males
Susan 03h 59' 54" 652th/4339 Females

October 7, 2012 Victoria Marathon results:

Jean-louis 3:22:07 158th/1076 Males 10km mark: 45:29 21.1km mark: 1:34:48 30km mark: 2:16:28
Susan 3:57:47 182nd/837 Females 10km mark: 49:29 21.1km mark: 1:48:06 30km mark: 2:39:35

The Bad News...

I never quit and I didn't quit but in my mind I did kind of "cheat." I had to walk and jog the last 8 kms :( For the record, I have NEVER walked before during a run in my life. Not even during training have I walked. It doesn't count if you walk. So obviously I feel sad that I had to. When I say I "had" to, I really mean it too.

As you can see from my times, I started out well and as each kilometer went by, I got slower and slower. Most amateur newbies do this actually. Lol. I ran non-stop until around 34 km. It was then that my left calf went into spasm, along with my upper right thigh and front lower part of my right leg. It was so painful I thought my muscles were going to burst out of my flesh! I came to a complete halt and started pounding on them with my fists. I walked a bit to try to shake it off. Each time I tried to run, the spasm would occur again in the same places. Of course! I thought I was toast. I thought the race was over for me. This has never happened to me before. I never get leg spasms! Never. So then I had to walk, jog, walk, jog until the end of the race. I was not happy walking. I was embarrassed to walk. I used to judge people who walked but now I understand that some people may be walking because they simply can't run due to severe cramps, not because they were too exhausted and wanted to rest. Although that was the case for me too. I was exhausted of course but I would never walk just because of that. I would just run super slow.

So cute! I love this picture :)

I was discussing cramps and spasms with Jean-Louis. I told him that cramps you can run through, spasms you cannot. At least that is the case for me. I had chest cramps early on and ran with them for awhile. They would come and go and would occur in different places. But I kept running because in my experience they would always eventually go away. When I got the leg spasms, my legs just buckled and I felt like I couldn't move really. I had to stop and deal with them before moving on. It was awful! Even with just 2 km left in the end, I could not jog all the way. I still had to walk and jog through it. For the final few hundred meters, I tried my hardest to give it my all and when the spasms came again I kind of freaked out because I knew all the spectators would see me limp through the finish line in agony. So awful. So glad it's all over.

The cramping and spasms could be from a number of things. I believed I did train enough, especially since recovery right now seems to be going so well. I had half a banana the morning of the race for the extra Potassium. From what I have read online, other possible causes could have been extreme exhaustion, heat exhaustion and heat cramps, sodium depletion, or lack of Magnesium. I was drinking water at every station and pretty much energy electrolyte drinks at every station as well. It was really hot out that day! To be honest I'm not sure what I could do differently to avoid this next time. I would try again to run the first half slower and maybe look at eating more Potassium and Magnesium foods. All this could simply just be due to the unusual hot weather in October. It appeared that many people were suffering from cramps. Or maybe I just noticed them more. Jean-Louis and his boss, who also did this race, also complained about cramps during much of the race.

42.195 km for the marathon is a long race. Running it is hard. Even walking the entire route is hard. I walked two marathons in the past and it hurt. Running it is worst but at least it will end sooner. After a few hours your mind plays tricks on you and you question whether or not you are going to make it to the finish line. Your feet hurt so much that if you accidentally step on a twig, you weep in pain. The only thing keeping your body moving forward is your brain. Someone on Twitter asked me why I even bother doing marathons if they are so brutal. I told her that I choose to run marathons because they are hard. I like the challenge and when it's all over, I feel a bit more victorious. I did get my medal so yeah, I kind of do :)

Despite my unfortunate encounter with leg spasms, I was still able to finish the race faster than almost 10 years ago. I think that is amazing. Considering I took a big break from running and racing and I weigh at least 15 pounds more now. Lol. My target goal was under 4 hours and I got it. If I was spasm-free, I may have been able to do it in 3:45 even (which was my secret wishful target goal - doh). Guess we will never know now. That was so hard that I don't think I will be doing any more marathons again. My bucket list is already complete in the marathon department!

Bucket List:

Run a marathon
Run a marathon after going through childbirth


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