A Half-Marathon [First] Recap and More ...

A Half-Marathon [First] Recap and More ...

Post by N. Sukum » Tue, 10 Jun 1997 04:00:00


I completed [my first] a half-marathon yesterday morning [Club
North Shore H-M in Highland Park] and the experience was all
that I expected and more. Even though the last couple of
miles of the race was less than thrilling, I am already
looking-forward to the next one.

Would like to hear the experience of others who have gone on
to run marathons after a half-marathon (esp. 2+ hr runners): am
considering the Chicago marathon in the Fall of 1997. Goal
is to be able to complete it without injury (4:30 would be a
very optimistic time). Have heard of the CARA clinic for marathons
- any opinions vis-a-vis its pros and cons? On a related note,
here are some more queries in the same vein:

(1) Can I get back to my old running schedule right away or
    should I wait until next week?

(2) How much gap should one typically give between two races?
    Can I run a race next month for instance (10K or 20K)?

(3) I do have Galloway's book on running. How do I best
    adapt it to my current schedule for a marathon, and
    when should I start on the program?

Have enjoyed reading many of the postings on r.r. Thanks go to
Doug Freese for his many running tips and suggestions via e-mail.

Thanks in advance.

P.S.: A recap (for what it's worth) of the half-marathon and the days
      leading to the same follows.


                  A Half-Marathon to Remember

                         N. Sukumar

                        June 8, 1997


The thought of running a marathon someday did pique my imagination
and interest last year.  I have all along been fairly enthusiastic
about running (my limitations notwithstanding), but have seemingly
never laid out a plan to ever run in a long-distance race. Last
August I set the ball rolling (so to speak) by making running a
regular part of my regimen, and trying to keep up to it every

A marathon is a rather daunting task for someone (like me) with
little experience. In order to gauge my ability, and more importantly
the physical and mental demands of such a high-endurance race, I
thought a half-marathon to start with would be a step in the right
direction.  To that end, I set plans for a half-marathon in Spring.
I was by the beginning of this year running around 21 miles (7 miles
x 3 days) per week at 9-10 min/mile pace; once or twice a month, I
also did a 10+ mile run. A nagging calf injury set the clock back in
April, which sent me into physical therapy for a month: a combination
of probably excessive running and bad form (heel strike was absent)
proved to be my undoing. I got back to cautious running around a month
and a half ago, and within 3-4 weeks, I was back to running close to
my old weekly mileage. I had missed the Lake County Half Marathon in
April due to the injury, and the Club North Shore Half Marathon on
June 8 did loom even larger. Even though I wasn't sure if I was `in
shape' to run the race so soon after an injury, I did not want to
miss what was probably going to be the last half-marathon during
this spring/summer in this area. I decided to go ahead with the June
8 race: the mind-set being just to run (and not race) in order to
complete the half-marathon sans any injury.

The Tuesday before the race, I ran a 9 miler (my maximum distance
after the injury) at a comfortable pace, and on Saturday, the day
before the race, I went for a 2 mile jog in the morning.  Had a heavy
lunch (no pasta or spaghetti though) and very little food thereafter.
Did drink water at fairly regular intervals during the evening/night.
I slept at 11pm, with plans to wake-up at 6am. It wasn't to be so! Was
wide awake at 2:30am and sleep was a forgotten concept.  I got out
of bed at 5am, and was all set by 6:30am. A friend dropped me off at
Wolter's field (the start/finish point) in Highland Park. I stretched
out, drank water and Gatorade, and felt pretty good with no signs of
any aches and pains. There were around 750 runners: the first time
that I was amidst so many runners.  The temperature was around 60
degrees with very high humidity (94%).

The gun went off at 8:00am sharp. The route was pretty nice: early
part of the race took us through residential neighborhoods with
rolling hills along the way, followed by a stretch along the Greenbay
trail, before getting back on the road. Was warned about the steep
hill at mile 9. I ran at a comfortable initial pace (mile 1 at 9:52,
mile 2 at 19:00), and was at mile 6 at 56:05. I did manage to engage
in some talk with the odd runner for a few minutes on couple of
occasions. The rolling hills (although not very steep) were something
I had never experienced during my regular runs in Evanston (very flat
terrain). Nevertheless, I seemed to feel very comfortable and was
not unduly exerting myself at the pace that I had set. Did make it a
point to drink water at all stops (2.5 miles apart); a pity that
Gatorade (my preference) was not available at the stops. All the
volunteers were great, and some even put-in a word or two of
encouragement from time to time.

The turning point (in more ways than one) awaited me at mile 9. At
Fort Sheridan, a steep descent with the breath-taking sight of Lake
Michigan in the backdrop appeared to be the panacea for all pain. It
turned out to be a short-lived joy: the descent was immediately
followed by a sharp turn which brought one face-to-face with the
dreaded hill at mile 9. It was only a 150-200m ascent over a steep
incline (50-60 degrees I would estimate); however, the timing could
not have been worse. Many runners chose to just walk-up the hill,
while I slowly ran up. I reached the top of the hill and realized
that `walking up might have been the better part of valor': my thighs
and hamstring seem to have tightened all of a sudden. I continued on
at a slightly slower pace as the discomfort seemed to increase. Made
it to mile 11 at the 1:46 mark, and I was all but drained out, both
in terms of energy, as well as with the pain in my thighs. I thought
I had ample time on my hands to complete 2.1 miles before the 2:15
target, and hence decided to walk it out, lest I should end-up on the
injured list! Started to walk which in itself was a none-too happy
prospect: could barely move with every step for my thighs seemed to
be numb with pain. Walked for the most part, and when I could hear
the announcer blaring out names on the microphone, I realized the end
wasn't far. Managed to jog through the last 400m or so to end-up at
2:13:42.4! All the agonizing pain over the last couple of miles had
transformed into sheer exhilaration - a feeling that is hard to
express in words. Apart from the fatigue and strain of the run, I was
very thirsty and hungry - had couple of bananas, an apple, and four
glasses of Gatorade, which brought me back to earth. Even though
I most likely finished in the bottom 5-10% of all runners, the
satisfaction is no less, which is in stark contrast to defeats in
other sports which are a lot more demoralizing. Relaxed for half an
hour before taking a one mile walk to the Metra train station, and
was soon homeward bound to Evanston. All in all a very gratifying day
which culminated with a sense of accomplishment . . . . and hope
that this was just the first of many such experiences.
N. Sukumar                             Home Phone: (708)491-1522
Theoretical & Applied Mechanics        Work Phone: (708)467-3154

WWW: http://pubweb.acns.nwu.edu/~suku/home.html ** GO BLAZERS **


A Half-Marathon [First] Recap and More ...

Post by -Mayo,H. » Wed, 11 Jun 1997 04:00:00

>Would like to hear the experience of others who have gone on
>to run marathons after a half-marathon (esp. 2+ hr runners): am
>considering the Chicago marathon in the Fall of 1997. Goal
>is to be able to complete it without injury (4:30 would be a
>very optimistic time). Have heard of the CARA clinic for marathons

I have been a member of the CARA Marathon program for the previous
two years. I think there are some very good benefits for those who
have not run a marathon before. You have the support of training on
a weekly basis with a group of runners whose abilities match your
own. You will make many friends, and the experience of training with
a peer group is much better than running alone. Also, there are
several seminars that provide very good information for runners.
These seminars cover such topics as picking proper shoes, training
diet, and injury prevention.  There are a few negatives. The major
complaints seem to be about group leaders who pace their various groups
too fast. My feeling is that the schedule is a bit short, starting in
late June, and adding too much mileage without adequate rest weeks.
Even with a 20 mile per week starting base, I notice that most people
seem to be very tired on the last few long runs. However, I don't
think this should discourage you from participating.  I feel the
positives far outweigh the negatives.

                                         Larry Mayo


A Half-Marathon [First] Recap and More ...

Post by Mike Tenne » Wed, 11 Jun 1997 04:00:00


Thanks for the race report. Congratulations on your first HM.

If you can get your mileage up a bit, you could do Chicago at 4:30 or
so. Just don't try to bump your mileage too fast.

A couple of observations:

1) How come the 9 mile run the week of the HM?  That's pretty risky
and counter to most training schedules. Sounds like you were uneasy
about your mileage. That's a bit too close to race day to do a long

2) Look closely at your race hydration. The leg cramping (and being
very thirsty after) and lack of energy point towards dehydration. Are
you sure you drank enough?  You may be more susceptible to the effects
than you think and need to take the extra effort to drink more.

3) Take it easy this week. If your legs are sore, just jog easily for
a few miles. Wait for the weekend to get back to normal. If you
recover correctly, you'll come back stronger.

4) A 10K next month is a piece of cake. Go for it.

Mike "TriBop" Tennent
WebRunner Running Page
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