Sunday, February 28, 2010

Race report - Hyannis Marathon

I hope you are not looking for inspiration in my race report - it is not going to be here. This report is going to be laced with emotion and disappointment. I implore you not to ask me not to beat myself up - you would all do it if you had a bad result as well.

I will start with the ugly. My ending time was 5:06 - my worst marathon yet. I crossed the halfway point at 2:11, eight minutes slower than Hartford, but four minutes faster than Hyannis last year. It started to fall apart at mile 15. I felt a cramp coming on and stretched it out. My fuel was good and my hydration was good - cramping due to other reasons. At this point I was able to keep running - my head was clear and I felt energetic so this was not a classic bonk.

At mile 20 my legs were so sore that I could not keep running. Walking hurt as well - I don't ever remember feeling pain like this before. I tried to start running again and my legs immediately cramped - all from the knees down - both front and back. I have never cramped in the front (outside of the shins) before. I walked mile 20. At this point if someone offered me a ride back to the finish I would have taken it. Right around mile 21 a woman passed me and I asked if she minded if I tried to run with her. She said no. Apparently she was having the same problem as me, perhaps not quite as bad. I told her that for the first time ever in an event I was thinking about a DNF. She told me that she felt like crap as well and that this was her first marathon and she was going to finish it if she had to crawl over the line. Then she looked me in the eye and said you're going to finish too! I knew I couldn't quit now. I could not find her at the finish, but owe her enormous gratitude for getting me through to the end.

I had to walk mile 24 and somehow found the gumption to run the last 1.2 miles.

I immediately jumped in my car as I was late to check out at my hotel. When I got out of the car at the hotel I could barely walk. My knees were killing me. I hobbled my way into the hotel and got in the elevator. The pain was so bad at this point that I could barely stand. I got to my room and shut and deadbolted the door (I was already late to checkout - did not want the cleaning crew to come in on me). I started the shower and then sat on the bed for a few minutes dreading having to stand up again. I eventually got up and got in the shower - the warm water felt good; however it was hard to stand up in the shower. After I got out of the shower I sat down unable to even dry off. It was here that the wave of depression hit. I started to cry (yes, I said it). The thought of how the hell am I ever going to finish an Ironman after this dismal result hit me like a brick. This was just a stopping point on the way. It was supposed to give me confidence, not take it away from me!

I pulled myself together and slowly got dressed. I knew I had to get out of there, but was not able to move quickly.

One of the nicest things about this was that when I checked out I asked if there was going to be an extra charge for checking out late. The lady said no, don't worry about it. I was very thankful for this.

Now any of you saying Holy Shit! this crossfit stuff doesn't work - I can tell you to just stop! I don't blame the training, there is something else going on that I need to resolve.

I am stronger and faster than I have ever been (at least in the last five years - the power of raw youth is long gone). Look at what Jane and Dan are doing and you will know that this protocol is very powerful.

Anyone who has been reading for a while knows that running is my nemesis. Has been forever. I did a running workshop and discovered that I was running totally wrong - heal striker, broken at the hip, and other problems.

After talking to Max it sounds like I corrected some of my bad habits and picked up others on the way. I no longer strike with the heel, rather I land on the ball of my foot. Additionally, my foot is not supple. These two bad running form issues cause a jolt to go up my leg and it gets absorbed by my knees. Additionally, because my foot is not supple, the muscles in my calves and whatever that muscle is running up your shin is flexed instead of relaxed. Hence, the cramping (or so we think). Your body can handle bad form for a 5K and a 10K and can probably even withstand it for a half marathon, but you can't hide from bad form for a marathon.

Max gave me some running drills to do after the running workshop and I am embarrassed to say that I have not been doing them. I have been trying to correct my running by simply concentrating on my form while doing my running workouts.

Yes, I am beating myself up. No I will not stop at least for a couple of days. I need to wallow in my despair for a couple of days. Here's the thing - if it did not bother me so much that would mean I didn't care.

Now here's the question. What am I going to do about this? I am going to incorporate running drills in twice a week. I am going to drill before my Crossfit WODs. It will be a good warm-up before the WODs anyway. Is it going to be easy with my current workload? No, but I am going to do it because I have to! As soon as my busy season is over I will do another running workshop and then another one after that. I am going to beat this!

Sorry for the long post. If you didn't get to this point I don't blame you. I am going to need to refer back to this post frequently because I never want to feel like this again.


  1. MARTIN, learn from your experience, however it goes, at least is something you did and you can learn from. No matter what the result was, you ran a marathon a now you have more experience than before.

    in the other hand I would push the pedal to the metal, meaning train harder.

    Also get the POSE DVD and drills, also if you can get the CHI RUNNING BOOK, it's fun and easy.

    And as a last suggestion, if you want I can give you a place in Watertown, which they can take a look of your soles and see if you may have a problem there.

    ALso a good chiropractor could be a good permanent solution, most of the insurances companies cover it.

    Best wishes for you!

  2. Martin - I won't tell you to stop beating yourself up as I know that this would be pointless, however, as Ariel has said you take this as a learning experience.

    Having said that it looks like you already know what the issues are and have strategies planned to deal with them.

    Also if you put in place all the things you have said your Ironman run should never be as painful as this run was

  3. Martin

    I can't stop you from beating yourself up, but you are the less then 1% of the total world population training hard & doing a marathon when what most people do for activity their whole life. You sucked it up, overcome the physical & mental pain & finished. You should be very proud of that accomplishment. You also have to keep in mind, we are all doing Crossfit WOD's that we have never experienced before so your body is trying to adjust to these challenging WOD's. Oh & by the way you also have been swimming, biking & running. Keep focused, listen to your body & listen to Max. Take care of yourself, recover & learn from your experience. You are going to have a great IM!!

  4. First of all, very nice to meet you finally! Second of all, YOU ARE A MARATHONER!! Don't ever forget that.

    I could never do what you accomplished yesterday and you should be proud for perservering, even if it doesn't feel like it now. You are a role model to someone like me and as your teammate, I'm very proud of you.

  5. Hey Martin,

    Think about how far you've come. Do you remember when you quit in the middle of a 5K on the treadmill because you hated the treadmill? You were worried about finishing your IM then. I would tell you that after reading your post, I am more motivated than ever. You persevered through a really difficult day. It is easy when things go well, but we all can see what you are made of, by your finishing yesterday. You can be upset with the result, but should be proud of your fortitude.

  6. Thank you for your kind comments. I suspect that that I will get over the physical pain before I am over the mental anguish, but I will get over it. Max pointed out something very important - it is better to learn about these problems now when we still have time to work on them rather than learn about them July 25th.

    I am very thankful for this community that has been created - reading the comments has been uplifting.

  7. You are mentally 1000 times stronger today than you were a day ago. The long races are 80% mental, 20% physical - go ahead and beat yourself up - I would do the same thing, but like everyone else said, this is a learning! Take what ever it is that your body wanted you to learn yesterday and apply it.

  8. hey martin.

    ughhh.. I have been there on the emotional side and physical side of what you are going through. You hang in there as there are upsets.defeats. victories in everything we do. Stay positive and move forward.