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.