I signed up for this race because the event I had originally wanted to try, the Swim for the Potomac at National Harbor, was one I couldn’t get to very easily. I was bummed, but not so much, because I wasn’t really sure I could survive a 3K swim in open water. (That’s about 1.8 miles. My longest OWS has been 1.2 miles. 50% more is no joke!!) I soon found out that Clarendon Day was on the same day, and Clarendon is the neighborhood right next to mine. I’d never done the Clarendon Day race, and I saw that there was a 5K option, a 10K option, and the option to do both. I opted for the double because… why not? I wasn’t planning on actually racing, just running in a race and, for the first time in a loooong time, not being in pain.
The 5K began at 8am, and the big draw for the event is that it’s a downhill race. Clarendon to Rosslyn. Some of the race also goes along Rte. 110, which feels like it’s slightly uphill, both ways (go figure). Even though I wasn’t fast, by normal standards, it was fast as compared to how I’ve been running lately. It was great to once again see sub-8:00 miles (though it didn’t last too long). At the end of the race, we each got a Metro card to take the Metro back up the hill (which was especially necessary for those of us doing the 10K at 9am). I happened to run into my friends Lindsey and Ryan at the end of the 5K, and then we all walked together to the Metro.
What was not so cool was the train we needed took thirteen minutes to arrive. 13! Time was of the essence for me. They weren’t doing the 10K, but I was. Thanks to the slow arrival of the train, the gun for the 10K went off five seconds after I got back to Clarendon. No rest for the weary!
We followed the same route, but went out farther on Rte. 110. About halfway, maybe even less, into the race. A familiar feeling returned. Uh oh. My calf started cramping up. Ugh. This hadn’t happened in weeks. I had been so happy, thinking it was gone for good. Nope. There are two possible reasons: 1) I had forgotten to take my magnesium supplement the previous day and so took it this morning, or 2) I had pushed myself and my calf couldn’t take that kind of pressure. So now I make sure to take this magnesium supplement EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. and to run very easily (translated: slowly).
I stopped momentarily to massage my calf, but then kept going. The discomfort never went away, and it sucked. Add to that, my left upper-side leg muscle was feeling weak (like it’s prone to doing… I don’t understand why), so now both legs were conspiring against me and making me go sloooooowly towards the finish line. It was a bit of torture. I finally made it, though. Once again at the finish line, I got a Metro card and, as it would happen, I only waited about a minute for the train at the Metro station. Too bad that with my crampy calf, I was about to only walk, not even jog.
I was afraid that the return of the calf cramp would put me out for several weeks again, but four days later, I carefully decided to go for a run. And…. it felt fine! I just had to remember to NOT push myself. And keep up the daily magnesium supplement. I did 6.6 miles that morning, and no more calf cramping. And then I did 11.6 this morning, also to no calf cramping. Hurray! But, like I said, I just had to accept going super-slow, and I guess I’m ok with that. Slow running with no pain is MUCH better than fast running with pain.
Here’s to my next race in a few weeks- the LA Rock & Roll Half Marathon!