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Monday, November 14, 2016

Ouch. Middendorf's Manchac 10 miler

Hey, guess what you SHOULDN'T do? Run a ten mile race on a hamstring strain!

Or so I found out. I had a late night out on Friday (we were at a wedding, and were driving a neighbor who wanted to stay out SO late!), but I dragged myself out of bed at six and put on my nearly-500-miles Kinvaras. This pair isn't falling apart like my last pair did, which barely made 400 miles, but they're worn where my bunion rubs.
A little sock showing...
My hamstring was strained from Tuesday's speed work with a much taller friend, but I'd been taping it and running with minimal discomfort. On Thursday I did five miles with 3 at potential race pace, and it handled the speed just fine, so I figured the ten mile race would be no big deal. I did tape it, but only used one strip of KT tape instead of two for some reason.
Middendorf's, famous for thin fried catfish
We got to the race with enough time to pick up our bibs, use the bathroom, and do a short warm-up. When the national anthem played, it warmed my heart to hear all the voices around me. Everyone sang! And that was comforting after all the political vitriol I'd heard all week. At the last minute, I decided to re-tie my right shoe, which felt loose. Mistake!

This race is a straight out-and-back, with a bridge right at the beginning and the end. I started out feeling nice and chipper, but very shortly in, the front of my right calf was killing me - super tight and painful. Every step hurt. I knew from experience that I'd tied my shoe too tightly, but I didn't want to stop. However, it kept getting worse. I wondered if spending all night standing in heels was a compounding factor, of if my hurt hamstring was placing more burden on my calves. Finally, at mile four, I stopped and retied my shoe. Curse my careful triple knots and tucked-in loops! I lost 20+ seconds, but the pain was immediately better after that. And I started to enjoy myself. My calf felt better, my hamstring was ok, and some Gatorade at the aid stations perked me up considerably. I wasn't exactly hung-over, but the electrolytes were welcome (plus I hadn't eaten that morning). I was easily holding 6:50 with the exception of stupid shoe-tie mile, but I remembered why it was easy when I turned around: this course always has a really strong tailwind on the way out and headwind on the way back. I struggled in the wind, but then gave up and just enjoyed the run. There was no one to draft off of (small race) and I was certain to be third female; the first two were far ahead and the next girl was a good three minutes behind me. My miles slowed to 7:10, 7:06, 7:04, and then -

Coming down the bridge
 Then my hamstring quit. SNAP! It stopped working! I couldn't use it at all. It was all popping and sharp pain. I stopped, carefully stretched, massaged, and tried jogging - nope. I walked a little, rubbed it some more, and finally was able to cobble together a straight-legged jog to the finish. Misery. My last two miles were in the 7:40 range, and frankly I'm impressed I could manage that. I finished in 1:12, and left too soon to collect my glass mug award.
Near the finish, stride looking normal somehow! 
So that really, really sucked. I turned a mild strain into a much worse one, and delayed recovery a lot. I can't exactly straighten that leg now, and I'm kicking myself for running the race. I did enjoy the catfish breakfast at Middendorf's right after, though. And that brings me to an interesting observation: my stomach was fine after this race. Was it the empty stomach? I didn't eat breakfast and didn't take any gels. Was it correct hydration? Was it the fact that my last two miles were much slower, indicating that I should consider a longer cool down (or really, any cool-down) post-race? I will have to experiment and find out! But not for a few more weeks, thanks to my hamstring foolishness!


  1. How unfair. You work so hard. Hope this doesn't set you back too much.

  2. I hope your hamstring heals quickly. I'm impressed with your pace for those final miles considering the state of your hamstring!

  3. you amaze me how you push through these types of things. I would have walked, fearing that I would do serious damage....
    Great race...especially with the injury....
    Go Girl !