Home > 1/2 Marathon, Rock 'N' Roll > The San Diego Half: My Anniversary Run and the Worst Cramp Yet

The San Diego Half: My Anniversary Run and the Worst Cramp Yet

San Diego is my anniversary run. After the LA marathon 2007, we did a lot of 5k’s and 10k’s but it wasn’t until the San Diego half that I started getting back into more serious running. Well, not really all that serious, we have a lot of fun when we do them. I ran this one last year and I was planning for about two months to try and do as well as I can. I knew with the La Jolla half that I got a 2:33 which was an hour better than my first half time. I honestly had no time to train since April. I was studying constantly for my science finals, specifically my physics final. At one point, I stayed in our university library for two straight weeks studying. The San Diego half was two weeks after. I worked out every day I could after but it wasn’t enough to get my muscles ready.

I don’t remember as much about this run as I do for other runs but I remember a few things. I remember that it took me over a half an hour to go 0.2 miles on the freeway to get to the airport parking lot. Thought I was going to be late for the run but I was there 30 minutes early. My advice is that if you’re running reasonably late, don’t worry, let people through on the freeway, still be cordial because the buses (especially for the Rock n Roll Series) will run later than they say. Of course, they’re not going to tell you that. You’re not guaranteed a spot on the bus but they usually run pretty late. If you’re running extremely late then you might want to tailgate the car in front of you.

The course was pretty much the same if not the same as last year but I really just don’t remember. I remember that there was a humongous downhill that’s at least a mile down. I hauled to the base of it, I must have been going at an 8:00 or 9:00 pace. I know that I was making pretty okay time and that even when I would walk part of the mile I was still maintaining a 12:00 pace.

And now for the part that is mostly a blur. I made it to the 12 mile marker. My right calf had been contracting a little but it wasn’t anything that I was too worried about. A few hundred yards in the muscles pushed in and I tripped over myself, smashed my hands into the pavement and laid in the middle of the course with a huge cramp. Runners were running by, one of them said, “Oh, cramps are the worst…” Two people helped me off the course and I asked them not too until my cramping stopped. If runners help you off the course they’re compromising their times and I’m really thankful I had two people help me up to the sidewalk.

Someone from the medical team came running to me to see if I was okay. I liked him a lot, he was a trooper, just going with the flow. Asked if I was okay, he knew I needed potassium quick. He found a GU on the ground, “It’s not opened if you want it.” “Yeah, I’ll take it.” I waited for the EMTs to assess me, what year is it, where are you, who’s the president. “Are you gonna finish this thing?” “Hell, yeah.” They helped me up and I was on my way. Every step I took I had to stretch my right calf at the same time. If I didn’t stretch it for two steps it would get a huge aura for cramping again. On the finishing video you can actually see me limping across the finish line. Maybe I’ll upload it, it’s kind of funny now.

I walked over to medical, had them wrap my legs in ice and I guess I didn’t calm down from the finish because I started hyperventilating, getting light headed, seeing starts, almost out of body experience. So, I laid down for a while, took a Tylenol, and limped my way to the car.

I laugh now but it could have been really serious. I saw another runner who almost went to the hospital for an electrolyte imbalance, they called it off last minute. I’ve noticed on different runs that its the same part of my calf every time. I’d love to say that I learned my lesson after that but I didn’t really learn until the AFC half marathon the importance of protein, electrolytes, and water before the run. I knew that something was wrong and something I was doing had to change but I didn’t understand it until a few days ago.

Despite the injury, I still finished with my second best time (2:38:59) and I estimated I would have had under a 2:20 with how long the last mile took. The splits they gave after the race for the 5k and 10k confirmed that it could have been that if I kept it up for the last mile. They did a much better job with the bus transport to the airport this time. I heard that some babies got sick from being in the heat last time, for us it was a two hour wait in the boiling summer sun after the run. This time it was 10 minutes, much more manageable. It was hard getting on that bus though. Driving home wasn’t that bad either but my leg was on edge for a week.

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