Sunday, May 3, 2009

OC Half Marathon 1:27:22

My regular blog readers are probably wondering how the right calf felt today. Well, the best thing I did for it over the past week was to NOT run. I did run on Thursday for 5 miles but after that did nothing but stretch, massage, and ice. By Saturday night it was feeling fairly good but I had no idea how it would feel once I started running.

Clay drove Dale, Neil, and I down to Newport Beach on Saturday afternoon and we went right over to the Orange County Marathon expo. It was the last few hours of the expo and ended up being a great time to go if you were interested in buying merchandise because everything was 50% off. It was not a great time to go if you were picking up your race shirts because all they had left was XL shirts. I figured this was not going to be a super fast race so I wasn't interested in buying an OC marathon mug, towel, or poster. I did get some coolmax socks and a headband for Andi.

We got to bed early in our hotel room which was right down by the starting line. The race started at 6:30 so I was up around 5:30 and heading down just after 6:00am. Clay was running with Dale, who was running the full marathon, and had a goal of sub 3:20. The marathoners ran with the halfers until about 12 miles. Neil was hoping to break 1:20 for the half. We met up with Dave (55-59 age group) who was shooting for a sub 1:30 half. I decided to start with Dave and see how I felt. If the calf cooperated then I could pace him and he might win his age group.

The temp was in the mid 50s at the start and it was deceivingly humid. Why is humidity such a silent killer? Not only do you sweat a ton leading to a dehydration, but if there is little wind like today then there is no way to cool you down, your core temperature rises quickly, and the body starts to shut down for fear that you will do permanent harm. The amazing human body has its own emergeny stop switch.

I let Dave go for the first mile so I could test out my right calf. It felt surprisingly great so I caught back up with him and said, "Let's go!" We cruised down the PCH and I told him we were ahead of schedule. I felt a little "twinge" in the right calf at about 2.5 miles but it didn't cramp and didn't get any worse so I continued with Dave. We already had about a 2-3 minute cushion by 6 miles (I think our 10k split was around 42 min) and Dave started to fade. I didn't realize he had been walking around Disneyland the day before. He told me to take off and so I did and settled into a nice pace around 6:20ish. There was a steep short hill at mile 9 and I was able to shorten my stride and push off more mid foot to avoid stressing my calves. My right calf finally started to tighten on a longer gradual hill between mile 11 and 12. I gutted out the last 2 miles with a nice closing mile of 6:14 and a total time of 1:27:22 (6:40 pace) good enough for 33rd place and 9th in my age group. I was able to get an ice pack from the med tent afterward but had no way of holding in on so I sat down and placed it under my leg for a few minutes.

As a physical therapist, I tend to watch everyone else run during these longer races. Today for some reason I saw a ton of supinators or underpronators. It is much more common to have the opposite problem. The supinator has a very high arch, rigid and tight foot and ankle, and runs on the outside of their foot. This can lead to 5th metatarsal fractures, plantar fasciitis, and joint pain from inadequite shock absorption (the reason for normal pronation). They require a neutral cushion shoe to help absorb as much ground reaction force as possible. They typically require new shoes more often as they wear out the later side of their shoes quickly. See video. And another here.

My mile splits today were 6:58, 6:35, 6:21, 6:48, 6:53, 6:46, 6:36, 6:22, 6:23, 6:29, 6:21, 6:48, 6:14. I was pleased with the time considering the amount of training and the recovery from my right calf strain. I was happy to be under 1:30.

I have 6 months now to build up my training enough to be able to maintain that pace for twice the distance. The goal is 2:55 at the California International Marathon on December 6th.

Neil ended up running a break through race in 1:19:05. Dave faded to 1:36 but was still good enough for 2nd in his age group. Had he ran under 1:30 he would have won his age group.

Clay helped pace Dale to a 1:40 half as Clay came through in 1:40:45.

Dale had a rough second half which included high humidity, heat, a freeway overpass late in the race, and two gnarly blisters (one on each arch) leading to a bloody shoe. Check them out here. He ended up 3:38:25.

Other local participants included Chuck Fieland who ran the full marathon in 3:17 at 50 years young, good enough for 2nd in his age group. Congratulations Chuck! A great time on a tough day.

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