I've been running for awhile now, and although I've had my share of occasional runner's ailments such as blisters, black toenails, chafing, and even a stress fracture; until today I've never experienced the agony of cramping muscles during a run. Today's run was a planned 20 miler to get ready for my 50K a month from now. I incorporated walks into my running, the first two hours I walked one minute out of every 15, and the second two hours I walked one minute out of every 10. Things were going very well, even with the walking breaks I was averaging 11:30 to 11:45 minute miles. Then I got to mile 17. It started feeling like my left hamstring was tightening up a bit, but not enough for me to alter my stride, it felt more like a sore muscle after weight lifting. A mile later, wham! I couldn't run on it any more, it felt like my hamstring was knotted up into a ball and I was reduced to walking the last 2 miles of my 20 mile "run". I've read about other runners cramping up, but for some reason I've been lucky enough to avoid it.
Why did this happen? My theory is that I didn't get enough salt/electrolytes. Previously on runs longer than 3 hours I take a salt thingy from Wendy's halfway into my run. This time I forgot to bring a salt thingy and figured that I would be getting enough sodium from my Powerade and the pretzels I ate. Obviously not. Well, at least I learned a lesson, make sure I have salt thingys along for my long runs.
One good bit of news, tho. Looks like I have conquered my blister problem. My feet really sweat and I've always gotten blisters on runs longer than 15 miles. Today I had no blisters, no hot spots, heck not even any warm spots. For my feet, the solution is a two-pronged approach, magic Foot Potion and Drymax sox.
Next weeks long run is 15 miles, then the week after that the long run is 24 miles or 5 hours, whichever comes first. Less than four weeks until my 50K!
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