|Okay, so this is not a "humble pie." |
My homemade egg tarts: jumbo & standard.
I did a 22-mile training run in preparation for LA Marathon 2011. Now, I've done many 20-milers in preparation for my (about-to-be-8) marathons, and they have had various outcomes. But if those really, really long runs have one thing in common, it is that they are nothing to take lightly. Any way you slice it, 20 miles is just a long @$$ way.
However, I DID start taking them lightly, I guess. For my last marathon, I maxed out at 21.55 miles for my longest run. I would have rounded it out to the next whole mile, but I had misplanned and reached my house before I got there. I felt accomplished, as I had very little cramping and felt like I could have easily finished it.
So when I set out to run 22 miles for my longest run this cycle, I didn't think much of it. Okay, I take that back. I had to push my run ahead two days due to forecasted rain (no WAY I'm doing that much running in the rain unless it's a race). And it was just over two-weeks post-bad cold. But like all other things, it was now or never, and I don't accept "never" unless I really can't help it. So on a workday, I embarked at 6 AM for my longest training run to date.
Why 22 miles now? I am not too sure. I guess I often feel ill-prepared during a marathon for these parts. I ALWAYS get leg cramps and attributed those to a lack of training. These leg cramps, once you get to that point, pretty much cripple you for the rest of your race. And let's not forget about the time when I tried pushing through the cramp twinges and ended up cramping my calf muscles in front of a bunch of people. So if adding a little more could push back the cramps at all, adding more is totally desirable. Plus, I have heard of even first-timers (friends training w/Team in Training and even those SRLA kids) doing 22 or more as their longest run.
So the run itself was pretty uneventful. Had 3 gels and 2 salt packets; for those who don't know, I down actual salt packets from restaurants to ward off cramping, usually starting at Mile 10 and then another about an hour later. I was VERY drained toward the end (I would say after 16 miles), and the miles after 20 were truly no-man's land because the way back to my car was hilly and trail-ish. Around 20.5, in a particularly uphill portion, I walked for a minute because I was exhausted, but soon, I was running again.
And then came mile 21.45 (close to my previous max). Out of nowhere, the cramps came. On BOTH legs (unusual because it's usually just the right one). I had to walk the next .35 miles and even then, I cramped along and was just hoping not to get a full-on seized-leg cramp. I was able to run the last .2 miles back to my car.
This is when the drama happened.