Saturday was another long training run. Not from my favorite location as the roads are very lacking in structure, and…..hills. However, it was on the books. Ten miles. Since October of last year I have not been able to make it much past 6miles before having fairly to very severe calf cramps. So the longer my mileage climbed, the longer I would have to walk back to the start. It is pretty defeating. So Saturday I was just thinking how long 4 miles seems when you walk.
However, I prepared as much as possible. Electrolyte water on board since the evening before, good breakfast, some good rolling and stretching before, K Tape placed, compression leg sleeves on, electrolyte capsules taken. My thoughts, “Here we go…..”.
I have been working on strengthening my hamstrings so that they can start to take some of the work off of the calves. I have the proper shoes, with good insoles. With everything else I was getting more and more into the thought process that half marathons were not going to be a future possibility for me. The only item left to try was to change my running style.
Now, I am not…..NOT a fast runner. And I describe my running style as more of a shuffle. My knees to not lift much, and I am always thinking about my Good Form Running lessons that I have taken so many times. “Lean forward…..let the lean help to drive you forward.” However, the lack of proper use of my hamstrings was weighing on my calves. So, time to refocus. Pick up the knees, drive them forward. That along with the lean……well, we will see.
So, I made it to the turn around point. Five miles down. I had made the decision that if I cramped on this run I was going to forgo half marathon races. I made sure to bring the proper amount of nutrition. And while I was going slower than normal, I was remaining focused on upping my knee height. I felt like I was running strangely, a reminder of band camp and having to “high-knee” march. I also did not feel like I was taking long enough strides. However, one step at a time.
Mile six came and went with no real issue. Mile seven. Mile eight brought one quick little twinge. I immediately took it to a walk. At the last aid station I made sure to stretch out a little. Time to continue. Mile nine. All good. The last mile I slowed to a nice pace to “cool down”. I even cried a little. Tears of joy. Is it possible? Could the right combination of everything have finally come into sight?
Ten miles. Technically the longest I was able to do in a training run (or any run,. for that matter), where I did not have to walk the last half distance to the end. Technically, the longest run I was able to complete while sticking to my interval plan at a 90% rate (sometimes you just need to “rest” through a “work” time). And technically, the best run I have had at that distance ever. Recovery was even easier.
So, fingers crossed as I move forward. But for now, half-marathon distances are still ON the table.