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I learnt a big lesson today...

Posted Feb 21 2009 12:00am
I should have known there was a problem last night. In the middle of the night I woke up and it felt like my achilles was tight. I just chalked it up to swimming two days in a row after a layoff. This morning I woke up early to do my long run. I was looking forward to the warm weather, but that early in the morning, it's not that warm in Florida, it was 7 C. It was luck that I brought a sweat shirt.

The morning started great. Before I left on my run I went to get a bagel and the girl gave me an extra bagel and a wink. Then I started the run and I ran by a farmers field and a cow was watching me, which is a good omen, it happens to me at home. Then about 3 miles into the run, my thighs cramped right up and I mean CRAMPED. It was the feeling you get when you finish a marathon. I couldn't believe it. I can't remember the last time my legs cramped. They didn't even cramp anywhere near as bad as that during the Ironman. I started debating if I should turn around or not, I was afraid I might be risking injury. But with the half marathon next week I felt I needed to keep going.

As I ran I started wondering WHY am I'm cramping. Then I realized that I had only had about a liter and a half of water since I left on Wednesday. Which was after I rode my bike for an hour, swam twice and did some weights. I realized I was in MAJOR dehydration mode. About 8 miles into the run I stopped at a convenience store and bought two one liter bottles of water. I drank one before I started running again and saved the other for the rest of the run. After stopping to get the water, it was really tough to start running again. My legs were stiff, but I preserved. After I drank the water, and for the first time during the run, I started to sweat. I ended up doing 13.1 miles and actually ran at a pretty good pace with all things considered. I did an 8:04 per mile pace without my heart rate exceeding 140 bpm. For the rest of the day my legs were spent, it was tough even going down stairs. 

During lunch I met a guy named Ron Hundley from Signature Printing in Norfolk Virginia. Ron is a runner and even helps coach new runners as part of a fundraising program for Leukemia. Some of the people he coaches may be very over weight or old and who have a dream of doing a half marathon or full marathon, even if they have to walk it. Some of his stories about people he coached were touching. He started running three years ago at age 53 and evolved from a 2:30 half marathon to a 3:45 marathon. Currently he's recovering from an Achilles injury but hopes to be back training by March 1st. It's amazing that no matter where you are from, the feeling of camaraderie you have with perfect strangers who run or do triathlons is instant. After the keynote I thought it would be great to get a photo with Joe Theisman, but after meeting Ron, I much prefer getting a photo with him. He's a just a regular guy making a difference in this world, not only raising money but helping other's build confidence and self esteem.

Long run - 1:45:43 / 13.1 miles / 8:04 pace / max 140 bpm.
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