Monday, February 05, 2007

RR Miami Marathon

Race Report
Jan 28/07
Miami Marathon
Miami, FL
4:08:37 – 6 AG

I signed up for this marathon one year ago for two reasons:
1) the race offered a 50% discount for the first 200 entrants to register
2) I finished in the same time of 3:33 in the two previous times I ran this race and wanted to go back in 2007 to break 3:30!

Unfortunately as race time approached I knew that goal #2 had no chance of happening because of the medical problems and injuries I suffered the last few months. After the disaster at Disney three weeks earlier where my left calf had cramped and locked up I had been undergoing medical tests and treatments. Although I had recovered enough to run a few speed workouts I had no confidence the leg would hold up in another marathon. There were many contentious discussions between Maddog and me about what the race strategy should be! I wanted to run smart and slow to test the leg and help my confidence by completing 26 miles without problems. Maddog wanted to go all out from the start to see how close we could get to 3:30!

The Sports Manager decided to go along to meet some friends from NYC and we planned to stop in Naples on the way home for a reunion with some friends and summer neighbors from the Ponds in CO. We enjoyed a nice pasta dinner with Edson and some friends from NYC. Both Edson and I complained about our injuries going into the race.

Sun was M –day. When I left our hotel in SoBe (South Beach) at 4:30 am it was drizzling and 68 F! By the time I had parked the car in downtown Miami at 5am it was pouring buckets and 70 F! It was raining so hard as I walked to the start line that I refused to stand in the lines at the Port-o Johns to take care of last-minutes duties. The weather became the deciding factor in the race strategy. I saw no sense in trying to kill myself in that crappy weather trying to run 3:30.

I lined up with 11,000 other nuts in the pouring rain. We were drenched and our shoes and socks were soaked! I lined up about 200 ft from the start line since there was no need for a fast start. It took me almost 4 minutes to reach the start line after the ‘official’ start – on time at 6:10 am. I started my watch to read ‘chip’ time. It continued to pour as we ran across the Macarthur Causeway to SoBe. I passed mile 1 in 12:45 (9:12 chip time). It stopped raining as we approached mile 2 but then the steam and humidity started to rise off the black asphalt. It was going to get ugly!

I continued to run slow and easy and enjoy the great views back in the pack. I passed 6 miles in SoBe in 53:33. At 8 miles I had to make a full-service pit stop to take care of those duties I missed before the start. Normally I wouldn’t do that but time was not a concern in this race. I continued to cruise smooth and easy – no problems with the legs other than a bit of tightness now and then in the calves. I passed the Half in 1:58:34. During the next mile I felt tired but then realized I wasn’t tired – I was feeling lazy and sluggish because of the slow/boring pace! So I lowered the pace to 8:30s and that felt much better. As I approached mile 17 in 2:31:51 I was feeling great and thought about lowering the pace some more but decided to hold that pace till 20 miles and then ‘race’ the last 10 Km. As I was congratulating myself and patting myself on the back for running so smart and feeling so good – WHAM! Without warning the left calf cramped and locked up in an instant! I was very disgusted and frustrated – but not surprised. I knew enough to stop immediately and spent a few minutes stretching and massaging the calf in an effort to get it to release. No luck! It would not release but I was able to reduce the excruciating pain enough to begin walking.

I considered dropping out of the race but had already passed the ‘no return’ line. Before 16 miles I would consider dropping out but after that point I would never quit or drop out unless it was a life-threatening situation or I could cause more serious damage to an injury. Thus I was forced to begin a long and painful 9-mile walk/crawl to the finish line.
I quickly determined that if I walked/limped/jogged no faster than a 12-min pace that I could manage the pain to a tolerable level. Maddog was extremely upset and embarrassed as we limped the next 4 miles. You see – he had his name on the race bib and everyone was shouting/cheering “C’mon Maddog – you can do it” “Pick up the pace”!

“Eat shit and die” was what he wanted to shout back as he hobbled along like a snail! It was humiliating! Around 21 miles the calf relaxed enough that I was able to keep jogging and lower the pace to a blazing 10-min. I continued to hold this pace with only minor/tolerable pain except for a few times when the calf started to lock up again. I struggled to the finish line in 4:08:37. I collected my finisher’s medal and soon as I stopped the calf locked up again so I limped straight back to the car and drove back to the hotel. I later learned that this pathetically slow time was good enough for 6th place/41 runners in my Age Group. The weather was a bigger negative factor than realized since my previous times of 3:33 would have won this year?
A long hot soak with self-massage finally got the calf muscle to release but then it was very sore and tight from the trauma. I could barely walk as we explored SoBe and applied a few cocktails for medicinal purposes. After several drinks and wine for dinner the leg did feel better?

On Mon we drove home with a stop in Naples to enjoy lunch with our friends.
On Tue morning I was back at the doctor’s office. I told him that I am sick and tired of being sick and tired and I requested a vascular test to check arterial circulation. I want to rule out all possible physiological reasons before I start exploring biomechanical reasons for all the problems/injuries. Haven’t got the official results back yet but the tech indicated that there are no clots/restrictions in the arteries so I have now confirmed that there are no circulatory problems.

Have an appointment with physical therapist to work on my strained back and will get him to work on my calf and check my biomechanics. I must have changed my gait or stride unknowingly? Or there are problems I am not aware of?

Stay tuned!

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