Monday, October 14, 2013

Perfect 10 Miler Cramp Free Race Report

This was the first Perfect 10 Miler to take place in Mercer, NJ. It was an all female race that covers the odd distance of ten miles. Not a 10k, not a half marathon - 10 miles. A bunch of my Moms In Motion friends decided they were doing this race so I decided to join them since I never put a half on my fall race schedule.

Moms getting ready to run! 

I got up at 5 AM and got lost getting down there but I made it. I had to shuttle from my car to the starting line and it was very easy. Plenty of buses and a very quick ride.

Once at the starting line the Moms all met up and we got ready to start. It was a chilly-ish morning and I was ready to go.  I had no real "race" time in mind. My aim was to try to run an 11 minute mile average and hopefully keep those freakin' cramps away!

I didn't wear my garmin. I haven't been training with one and have gotten pretty comfortable with running based on feel.

Moms in Motion coach Dana
She finish in 1:17 / 7'47 pace!! 
We start running. Now what was slightly annoying about this race is it was really, really congested at the start. No corrals or waves. If I had wanted to run faster I was kind of out of luck. But the first mile felt good otherwise.

Lots of congestion trying to run
Nike does update me in my ear every mile of where I'm at. After the first mile I was at 10'44. That's a good first mile for me. I typically 'warm' up at around 11'10 or so. I was feeling good.

My second and third mile felt good too - 10'41 and 10'18. Great! Now in half marathons I'd be panicking that this was too fast and I could cramp by the end but with only ten miles (and some cramping prevention measures taken) I decided that my new goal would be to run the entire race some where between 10'30 - 10'45 pace.  I mean, why not? I had trained for this. I have been running shorter distances quicker. Why limit myself to 11 min mile? If I had to walk at the end because of some cramping well, it wouldn't be the first time, so I decided to give it a shot. The pace felt good the whole way through - challenging but not ridiculous.

I slowed a little bit on a couple of hills and there were a few places in the run where the congestion was so tight that I was forced to slow down because I couldn't get around people in front of me.

The miles went quickly. I felt great.  After 7 miles my calves and hamstrings were getting tight but that's to be expected - tight is fine! I continued to believe this would be my race and the cramps wouldn't come.

They didn't. :)

I am just about to cross the finish line- All smiles!

I finished the race in 1:46:57 a 10'42 pace.  I think I would've been in the 10'30s if I didn't get stuck behind congestion in certain places but that's OK. I couldn't have been happier.

And nice bling!! 

It was a fun race and a great race. The best I've run in a race in a long time.  I really liked the distance too. It felt good. Also kudos to the race for a well-run event. More than enough port-o potties (never had to really wait for one - even right before the race) and the shuttles were right there at the end and quickly took us back to our car. For the amount of people at the race I was on the road in seconds with no delays.

If you follow my blog you are pretty well aware of the cramping issues I've faced.  It all started with the Hollywood Half I did in 2012 and went downhill from there. I haven't really raced as hard as I wanted since because I've been trying to keep that cramping at bay.

Even my Irongirl Triathlon I faced cramping.

I've tried switching up nutrition, adding magnesium capsules, salt sticks, and figured if I just ran more that would help but it hadn't really helped that much.

Then I saw this video at Runner's World and it clicked. It suggested to be really hydrated (I was always half-assed on this) add strength training and some stretching/flexibility.

I took it seriously.

The last few weeks I've been drinking about 12 glasses of water a day on average and on a bad day maybe 8. That's a lot for me since I used to average maybe 2 - 4 glasses a day.

I also have added strength training, consistent foam rolling and dynamic stretches before every run - plus a proper cool down.

Well wouldn't you know it, it seems to be working! During the race I did make sure to take in a salt tab or two as well as a gel - I do sweat a lot and get a very salt-caked face so I figure that making sure I keep my electrolytes up couldn't hurt either.

I got tight during the race but the cramps pretty much stayed away.

It's a great feeling to be looking forward to racing and being able to hope for the best rather than fearing the worst.




Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

I said it once and I'll say it again, "Yay, Jen!" So happy you found "the case cracker!"

Run with Jess said...

Yah! Great job! Congestion stinks - looks like they need a wider roadway for the start. Your team had sharp outfits (I love matching!) and the medal is great too.

Michael said...

Great for you that you had an awesome race and cramp free! I love the shirts you guys have. Those are super cute!

Scott said...

I am so glad to hear that you had a great race. I am still trying to reach the, "hope for the best instead of fear for the worst" in my my life in general. Good job...and I am going to follow your lead on the water..12 glasses a day it is.

Colleen said...

Awesome job on the race and I'm so glad to hear you found the secret to fixing your cramping issues. Success!

nikki said...

you are an awesome runner, jen!!!

Julie said...

Congratulations on no cramping!!!

Hope your future races are just a nice!! :-)

Unknown said...

Thanks everyone!! This race was so good for me because mentally I've been fearing races and this good experience helps me so much!