Murphy’s Marathon

Cool 3D medal from the Santa Rosa Marathon

This past weekend I ran the Santa Rosa Marathon. This was Murphy’s Marathon for me. Just about everything that could go wrong went wrong on the this race day. It started out with me waking up late because I did not hear my alarm. I’m in the habit of setting my alarm on silent so that I don’t wake my wife when I get up for work. In my haste to get to bed in the hotel it didn’t click in my brain that I actually needed to wake up my wife so she could drive me to the start of my race! Getting up late meant that I ate about 45 minutes later than I wanted to. Instead of having two whole hours to digest my breakfast, I only had an hour and fifteen minutes. I got to the start line in time, took my gel, and found my pace group. I was looking to qualify for Boston that day and I felt really good. Right after the first mile my pace group took a wrong turn. It only added about 200 yards to our race so it was not a big deal. What was a big deal was the throng of people from the pace groups that were ahead of us, screaming past on the narrow trail we were on, trying to get back on pace. They also went off course and added close to a mile to their race. It made for a pretty congested first few miles.


I was still on pace and feeling really good. This kept going until about mile 14 when I started to feel some twinges of muscle cramps. Around this time my gut was telling me it was not happy. By mile 18 it was screaming and I had to spend a good five minutes in a portajohn. After those five minutes my body was no longer ready to run (tip: don’t sit down for five minutes in the middle of a marathon) and the cramps came on in full force. After another 8 miles of walking and shuffling I came in almost an hour after I’d planned. I probably could have ran 20 minutes faster but by mile 20 I had mentally checked out. To top things off there was something wrong with the timing mats out on the course so my wife did not get any updates on my progress past mile 8. She was on the verge of freaking out when I did not finish when I told her I would.


Here’s the good things from this race:
  • I ran my best half marathon in the first half of the race
  • I beat my marathon time from my previous bout with cramps by about 10 minutes
  • The race was sponsored by DeLoach Vineyards and I got a bottle of wine for running (two actually because I signed up at the CIM expo last year).


The thing for me is to analyze my race, see where I need to adjust my training, and come back faster next time. Right now I am focused on figuring out how to beat these cramps. Two marathons. Two bouts of cramps at mile 18. I am reading a lot of research on this and am intrigued by HotShot, but not yet willing to plop down $6 a piece for 1.7 oz of spicy cramp relief. I will be experimenting with my own concoctions in the next training cycle.


What challenges do you face after a hard/disappointing race?

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