What Came Before…
The story of this race starts in January of 2012. After not really being able to budge my running fitness for an entire year, I decided to try a mileage based approach. I worked my up to between 40-50 miles a week in the winter and tried to hold it. My biking suffered, I didn’t swim, and my running got just a very little bit better, but mostly I was flat.
When we ran St. Pats in March of 2012 I had loads of base, but I paced myself for a slight PR and totally blew up. I was really frustrated; running is just the sport I don’t really get.
After a mediumish season of doing half ironman distance I decided to hire Mike Ricci from D3 Multisports to coach me and things started turning around. My proving ground would be the Indy Monumental Marathon, and my goal was a sub 4 hour run. Before meeting Mike, I’d either get slow mile based approaches, like above, or I’d get so much speed work, so hard, I’d just blow up and be wiped. Mike really helped me balance the “work” with the “easy” and set me on a path that allowed me to improve quite a bit in the 8 weeks or so that I had between my last Tri and my Marathon.
Unfortunately for me, I injured my right calf in July when I got a severe cramp on a hot day, and that injury was brought center stage with my new found speed. With about three weeks left, when it was time to taper, I was really hurt. I couldn’t run without pain and cramping in my right calf.
With massage, stretching, and foam rolling, I ran through it and made it to taper. My hope was that it would heal as I rested. I knew I’d be flat on race day, but it was what I had to work with.
But then it got worse. Two days before the run I was doing an easy 2 miler and my calf cramped. I hobbled home. That was it; I wasn’t going to be able to run. My second DNS of the year…
Defeated, I loaded up the car for Indy. Lana was healthy and planning a great run and I wasn’t going to miss that at least.
The night before the race, I made the decision that I would run until I couldn’t. I was pain free, and it was a well-supported race with plenty of medical folks, so why not?
I also had a dedicated ‘pace’ team. Seth and Logan were going to be running with me. Logan was taking the first 6 miles, and Seth would be doing the last 20.
The plan was a negative split, starting at about 9:30, and finishing around 8:50/
The Logan Miles
The first 6 miles, I took it pretty easy peasy as planned. Lana took off and was way ahead of me, gone. About one mile in Logan and I both jumped as Mark ran up behind us and grabbed my ass. He went on to pace his wife to a PR half.
Logan was disturbingly cheery. He was talking about how great the race was going to be, how my injured calf was going to hold out…the whole deal. My guess is that Seth slipped him some SSRIs in his morning coffee.
The run was going well, my calf was holding out. My legs were heavy, and the pace was harder than it should have been, but that’s what three weeks of over tapering/resting will do.
The Seth Miles
At mile 6 Seth jumped in and relieved Logan of his duties. Things were pretty easy and uneventful, for at least the first 15 miles. My legs were still heavy. Seth talked. And talked. And talked.
Starting at about mile 18 things started getting a little more serious. My calf was starting to cramp just a little, and I’d feel occasional shots of ‘electricity’ through my leg. I made it a point to relax the best I could. Seth suggested I work to not fire that muscle and just run around it. My negative split wasn’t really happening, but I was still on target to finish sub 4.
At about mile 20, Seth started telling me a story about floating in the water in this lake, and how it was kind of this surreal experience, comparing it to a scene in Battlestar Galactica where Baltar was experiencing something similar.
And then he was talking about the movie Gattaca, where inferior Vincent triumps over the genetically perfect Anton because of desire and passion. You want to know how I did it? This is how I did it, Anton: I never saved anything for the swim back. Two hours after the race, that thought was extremely inspiring, however 22 miles in I mostly thought Seth talked to much… J
At mile 26, finish line in sight, I couldn’t hold off the injury any more. So that was it, it held together just long enough. My right calf cramped completely, just a few feet from the finish. I put my foot down, and put my weight on it, forcing my calf to release. It hurt. It hurt alot. Seth was visibly ready to push me over the finish, and I stumbled over the line just a few minutes ahead of 4 hours.
On the way back to the hotel I almost fell over in the grass of the capital as my calf just totally gave out. It locked up and wouldn’t release and I was in a lot of pain. I was getting rained on, and was starting to shiver. For the first time that day I was getting sort of scared. After about 10 minutes on my back, thankfully it released and I made it back to the hotel.
The best part of any big race is the celebration afterwards. This was one of the best. We went out to a Brazilian steak house, ate EVERYTHING, and drank an awesome bottle of Malbec. Then there was ice cream, and more drinks. It was a great time!
The next morning we woke up and I registered for IMFL 2013. Then we went to a Colts game for the afternoon.
It took me around 2 weeks to run again. After that, it took about 6 more weeks of being very patient with the calf to finally clear that injury.