DNF – WTF!

April 10th, 2014 Posted by News No Comment yet

This is going to be fun writing about the Manchester marathon  – I managed to run just 3 miles before I had to stop. My first ever DNF (Did Not Finish) and I cannot describe how angry I was. But upon reflection this is only training and what doesn’t kill me will make me stronger and I have learnt a hell of a lot from the experience – and that’s the key to continual performance improvement.

This was my first ever fresh legged marathon. I’ve run ultra marathons up to 100k before with no real run training and just my rowing fitness to get me through. So this was my first proper running test since I started training for Ironman and as everyone knows running is an important part of the Ironman race.

Over the past six months I’ve coached myself into some pretty decent running shape on just 3 or maybe 4 runs a week. Out of all the disciplines in Ironman, running is where I’ve made the biggest gains and continue to progress. I’ve just kept it simple and use my rowing philosophy of training for running. So anyway, all the training markers for me were to run under 3 hours comfortably with my real goal being 2h 40s ish. I would have been happy with this time at this stage of the year especially as I’m relatively new to running. So I was going into the Manchester marathon confident I would post a great time. I got to the start in good shape – no injuries, well rested, full of energy and no concerns at all.

The guns fires and we are off.

I settle straight away into my pace – 3.57 mins per km  – and start to slowly pull away from the 3 hour pacer and with what looked like a good group of runners. I was even being smart and using them to shield me from a slight head wind.

Then slowly I noticed my right quad started getting tighter and tighter. Oh shit. I very briefly stopped to try and stretch it off and then ran again……But it got worse and then suddenly it was like I had been shot in the leg! So again I stopped and tried to stretch it out and I saw the 3 hour pacer coming with about 50 runners. So I thought I could maybe run with them for a while, bring my pace down and run it off. Then I could kick and get a decent time.

But it was pointless and my quad just got worse. So as hard as it was I had to make a decision – the Manchester marathon wasn’t an important race to me, it was nothing more than a training run and I didn’t want to do more damage to my quad and try to limp or walk a marathon. So as hard as it was I decided to pull out. Don’t get me wrong I was pissed off and angry as I said at the start of this blog. The spectators close by must have heard every swear word in the English language but as I was a cockney in Manchester I don’t think they could understand me :). But seriously I was not a happy camper as I’ve run hundreds of kilometers over the previous months with no issues.  Then I travel half way around the country and can’t even run 3 mile. The thing that got me the most was watching people just run past me – I hate this more than I can express – but on reflection I know what I can do and have faith in my own ability.

The proof is in the pudding in July at Ironman UK – that’s what matters. That’s the event I’m training for and I now know what caused the problem so I have time to address this before the real race. From talking to my Physio at London rowing club it looks like I have a grade one strain which in the context of injuries isn’t too bad. Basically my gluteus was tight which meant my quads were over activated and went into spasm.

When I woke up in the morning my quad felt okay and the human body never ceases to amaze me as the day before I could hardly walk! So with a little rest from running and a bit more on the ergo and in the boat, I will be able to fit a marathon into my training. I do still want to get an idea of my run fitness before Ironman UK to make any final training calculations – so onwards and upwards.

Thanks for taking the time to read and let me know if you have any questions.

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