The Day Before - June 17th

In an effort to capture as many details as I can (SO many things went right, I want to make sure I can replicate them!), I'll break this into a few blog posts over the course of the next week. Helps me just to focus on one portion of the race at a time -- and also cuts the amount of time I'm writing each night as well :)

The day before the race was a little chaotic. We awoke at 7 am, wanting to get up to Grandma's as quickly as we could to beat construction delays. On the agenda: pick up cousin who is coming to cheer, grab his two bikes and strap them to our car (which didn't fit the bike rack perfectly, good thing Nate is fairly handy and could rig it so I felt somewhat safe), drive to Hinkley to drop off the dog at a kennel, and then arrive in Duluth.

On the car ride, my right calf cramped up pretty badly. Oddly enough, just 3 or 4 days earlier my left calf had done the exact same thing, same location. (Do I need to change my diet that last week?) It's the inside portion of the calf (sorry, I am a finance person and don't know much medical terminology). I was SO worried. I felt SO good, except for that part of the calf. It was a complete brick, and I knew that the left one had taken a little over 2 days before it worked again. I didn't know whether to knead it & embrace that pain because it would help or if I should leave it & my body would try to heal it faster that way.

Ug. Anyway, we got up to the elite check-in and grabbed my packet and info. I ate quite a bit -- big bagel (splurged on peanut butter because I thought my muscles would appreciate the protein), sandwich and a half (just jelly), and a banana. YUMMM, all-carb days :). We decided to use the water bottles they had there instead of what I had brought (which were the screw on caps). I was sort of flustered, trying to keep the bottles and Gu's straight during the switch -- too many things happening at once. I ended up pouring one of the water bottles all over my packet, at which point Nate graciously offered to finish switching the bottles :). He's so good.

Anyway, I took everything out of the soaked packet and put it into another bag. I specifically looked (as did Leighton, my cousin) that there wasn't anything left in the wet bags before we threw them. (Noted only because of what I find later...)

We then go to the convention center for Nate's packet. I sit on the ground & wait. Meanwhile, my mind suddently goes to my packet... I don't think I ever saw a chip in there? Hmm. I dump everything out & search. Sure enough, no chip.

We truck back to the elite building. They set me up with someone over in the convention center who will create a new packet. Ug. So, we truck BACK to the convention center. I ran, only because running is easier for me than walking (I don't typically walk much in a day). They had everything waiting, so it wasn't too bad of an ordeal - just a lot of back and forth. I noticed that the second packet also had pins, which the first didn't.

[Obviously, I could have thrown the first chip away, but I thought over what happened, and I REALLY don't think there was one in there] [Not that it matters, anyway :)]

I was also able to get a quick 10 minute massage, focusing on the right calf. The guy that worked on me touched it and immediately said "Hmmm..." and talked to me a while about contingency plans for the race tomorrow. He said that he's seen quite a few people try to run through cramps like this & it usually causes permanent damage. Great. Way to boost my confidence. But, it was good he said something... guess it hadn't occurred to me that I might need to have a plan in place if it got really bad.

We then headed out for a short run. I did another 9 minutes, and we tried to piece together the end of the race as best as we could. I also threw in 2 striders, just for good measure. I felt great. Now if only this stupid calf would loosen up...

Finally, 3.5 hours later, we finally were able to leave Duluth and head up to the cabin. Wow. Hopefully that was the end of the chaos.

We ate once we got to the cabin (whole wheat pasta with just a little parmesean at about 5:30pm), and then I happily took a 1.5 hour nap. The rest of the evening was spent laughing at my cousin, brother, and husband who were plotting out their cheering strategy (bro and cousin to bike from the start, husband to finish his half marathon and grab a bike at the finish and bike up to meet me), heating my calf, drinking lots of liquids, and talking with family. Good times :)

Bed at about 10:00, maybe 10:30.

(this is probably entirely boring to everyone reading, so I apologize... I use this to look back & learn what to do/what not to do for future races :).

Nichole Porath

Nichole is a blogger, elite level runner, and coach. She ran professionally for Brooks for two years after qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. During that time she founded TNC endurance, where she coaches and motivationally speaks to organizations large and small. This blog details her rise to national-level racing, and continues to follow her as she gets back into racing after starting a family. Read on, friends!

3 comments:

  1. my first thought when you mention calf cramping is low hydration. Last week was humid and even if you're not a big sweater (as I'm not) you still lose a lot of fluids. You almost need to double your water when the humidity or dew point is high. Also take a gander at this months' Runners World and there's a helpful article about foods good for maintaining hydration. Last year I had serious issues with the heat and getting dehydrated so I have to be more aware of the foods and fluids I'm taking in so I can keep on quality training. But hey the massage therapists "Hmmm" was nothing to cause you issues, and neither was the lost chip. Just goes to show you continue performing like a champ under stress and confusion. Impressive!

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  2. Actually, Willie... I bet you're right! Last week I reacted to the heat really badly, in part because I don't sweat much so tend to overheat quickly, but probably mostly because I hadn't been drinking much the entire weekend & before the weekday runs. Dumb (I know better!).
    Even though I had upped my liquids since, I'm sure I hadn't quite caught up.

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  3. Hydration is the first thing to consider with cramping, but another possibility is that some people get cramping when they carboload (and considering that you store water with carbs, the two might be connected).

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