Friday, April 25, 2008

2008 Boston Marathon RR part III: Introspection

See 2008 Boston Marathon RR part I: Pre-race
See 2008 Boston Marathon RR part II: The Thon

Subtitle: “My White Whale”

I have spent the last 2 marathons searching for him. In Chicago ’07, he bite me and took out my calve muscles. He didn’t appear at Disney. Or Boston. I may be doomed to search the world marathons for my salvation.

Where is he? I need my revenge. I have to slay this beast before I can return to normal marathoning.

I have adjusted, tinkered, hydrated, studied, stretched, rehydrated, realigned my running form, modified nutrition, re-rehydrated, practiced voodoo, and done the hippy-hippy shake. My calves! My calves! Why have you forsaken me??

I don’t get it. My calves are pretty attractive too if I do say so myself. A nice blend of manly muscle tone, light hair covering, and the perfect amount of vein protrusion. Anything you could want in a calve.

The thing that gets me is this:

- I ran a 19 & 20 mile training run in similar weather conditions as Boston at almost a similar pace with no cramping whatsoever in the weeks prior.
- On those training runs, I probably only drank 8-10 ounces of water total.
- I have NEVER experienced cramping in any sport or activity EXCEPT in my last 3 marathons!!!!

So, what is going on? I hydrated very well. I took Tylenol (which I never did previously) and I ran at a comfortably hard – but not overexerted – pace.

Cramps at 15-16 miles? WTF? I ran at least that distance 6-7 times in preparing for each of the last three marathons without any problems. The only thing I have done differently on race day is stop for a quick walking break.

Somewhere in the Newton Hills, I had this epiphany: I have started cramping up within a mile after taking a walking break. I first stopped to walk a bit in Chicago ’07 at 14 miles. By 15, cramps! In Disney, I stopped for a quick walk at 18.5 miles. By 20, cramps! In Boston, I stopped just after 15 miles. By 16, cramps!

I never stop running in training.

I never stopped to walk in my first 2 marathons predating this problem.

Am I destroying my race by thinking I’m doing the “smart” thing to stop and walk to recharge? Maybe I’m a shark.* If I stop moving, I die.

Whatever. I’m going to continue introspecting the hell out of this situation until I find my white whale. Then Queequeg and I can go all harpoony all over its ass.

In a completely unrelated matter, I’m going to go back to wearing shoes in my marathons. I did that in the first 2 but haven’t since. My feet get too calloused if I don’t wear them.


Boston, by Bullet Points

  • Nice city. Clean. Well groomed.
  • Everyone wears a Boston Red Sox hat. Everyone. I'm not kidding.
  • Has anyone seen a Dunkin' Donuts? (1:2 block ratio)
  • How 'bout a CVS pharmacy?? (4.5:1 block ratio)
  • Best dressed panhandlers I've seen to date in a city. Some dressed better than me.
  • Managed the entire city over 4 days using only 1 cab ride. (Hooray for the "T"!)
  • Despite being a "big" city, it feels so much smaller than Chicago.
  • The race spectators are tremendously enthusiastic. You can tell they love this event.

Conclusions, by Dashed Lines

- I am thrilled to participate and complete this event. Make no mistake about that.
- However, I am very annoyed at my finish time. Real pissed….like ridiculing orphans pissed. **
- The course was a bit tougher than I thought it’d be. I’ll modify my training for it the next time.
- There will be a next time.
- This experience has only motivated me to refocus, regroup, re energize, re-----,*** my efforts towards the marathon. I think I’ve been coasting a bit. I need to get back to Boston now to set my time right.

For now though, it is a couple of weeks off. No running at all. I’ve done 3.5 marathons in 6 months and 4.5 in 11 months. I’ve been on a training schedule of some kind now for over a year. It’s time to relax. Run without purpose for awhile. And then dive right into more training. I see you Mr. 5k PR Time. I’m coming for you this summer!

Thanks, by Regular Paragraph Formatting

I want to send a huge thanks out to all the well wishers and supporters that have posted comments here or just stalked the site, left, and thought ‘what a loser’. I appreciate that very much. Not the people who called me a loser, of course. You’re assholes. The others, though, are very much appreciated.


We didn’t get many of the race itself believe it or not. Here’s the ones where I’m not looking like a real jagoff.

Steers LDP permanent tattoos. Regret!

Crossing the finish!

Growing increasingly lobster red post-race back at hotel.

* Mrs. Nitmos thinks I'm more of a cuddly little monkey but that's neither here nor there.
** I wouldn't ridicule an orphan. That's mean. I might kick an orphans puppy though.
*** I really felt like a I needed a 4th "re" word here but couldn't come up with one. Fill one in for yourself.

Next week: Back to our regularly scheduled shenanigans. Don't think I wasn't serious about that upcoming Mr. Roper post.


KimsRunning said...

Wonderful report Nitmos! I loved it!! I'm so glad you liked Boston too. If you feel like another marathon, pop on down to the Space Coast marathon on November 30th. I'll race ya!!!!

Kristina Pinto said...

Do you ever wear anything other than that red shirt when you run? It's in your avatar and your Boston pic. Thank God for the free blue one to diversify your shirt drawer.

See you in Boston next year; I'll be cheering from the curb, drinking something that is decidedly not Gatorade.

Nitmos said...

Ha! Funny story. Red shirt is SUPPOSED to be easily identifiable for Mrs. Nitmos at the race. However, everyone in Boston apparently wears red shirts. So, no good. I'll have to switch to hot pink next time.

Kaeti said...

Congrats! It's been a blast reading about your Boston hijinks.

Anonymous said...


Pay no attention to kristina. I wear the same singlet to every race and when I was in high school I wore the same cotton t-shirt to track practice every day my junior year (without washing it). I guess dumb HS kids can get away with that.

I can't beleive mrs. Nitmos wrote on your arms. If I asked mrs. tange to do that, she would probably tell me that it was a stupid idea, then draw a handlebar mustache on my face (most likely between my mouth and nose).

enjoy your non marathon training lifestyle.


nwgdc said...

how about "re-fridgerated?" as in, a beer. for a job well done. congrats again. hope to see you there next year!

Vanilla said...

Boy that cramping thing is a puzzler. Wait a second... you don't think it could be the... I mean is it possible that... nah, it couldn't be the walk breaks... could it??

Also, hot pink is definitely the color for you.

Pokey said...

We are worlds apart in our running abilities, but in the total same boat when it comes to cramping!

I've hobbled thru three half marys in the past 6 months due to leg cramps....and I soooo feel your pain! And I dont even run fast!!! UGH! ;)

So I feel your pain....but you have to make sure to give yourself credit for the FANTASTIC accomplishment!

Great race report and CONGRATS!!!

Danielle in Iowa said...

Congrats on gittin her done despite ramp calves!

And I heart the T!

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

Well, if it looks like a walk-break and it quacks like a are probably stoned...walk-breaks don't quack.

Anyway...sounds like you are on to something. No walk breaks for you.

Marathon Maritza said...

Congratulations on your finish!!!

I know it wasn't the time you hoped for but do as real runners do - suck it up and kick this course's ass next time!

(Loved your recap!)

Marcy said...

Killer race report. Loved it! ;D ;D

You might be on to something with the hot pink. It would do well clashing with your new lobster colored face :P

Scott said...

Instead of walking, try skipping while doing that Weeeeee... thing you did at the beginning of Boston. Prevents cramps every time! :-)

Great blog by the way...

L*I*S*A said...

I for one think red is the perfect color for the Steers LDP. Ole!

The Laminator said...

Hey Nitmos...great report. I hear your frustrations about cramping. I had a bad case of them in my first 2 marathons and finally beat it during the last one. My advice would be to try the "No Walking" technique in the last half. Just a thought. Still, I think you have to be proud of the fact that you ran and finished a race that many runners dream about but never have a chance to participate. So be proud...You're a Boston Marathoner!

MizFit said...

why do I adore your blog so..when Im not a runner?!
the 8th wonder of the world methinks.

sRod said...

So the whole running without sheos bit flew right over my head. Can you add some detail to that??

Oh, and the walking bit: I was thinking the same thing when I read your last post. Once I start walking it's just bad news from there. I don't get the cramps, though, instead I get walker's brain (which is far worse than runner's brain).

SLB said...

Just got through all three posts, great write up.

The cramping thing is real puzzler, are you taking any gels, elcrolytes or sports drink or just the water? The walk break connection is tenuous but there though. Maybe you're tenser on race day than training day and that plays a part?

So many questions...anyway well done for gutting through it.

Enjoy your downtime, I am!

RazZDoodle said...

I think all of your runs should be 3 parters. Heh.

What is this Moby Dick you speak of? Is it a porn flick?

L*I*S*A said...

I am afraid of seeing you go all harpoony on anyone's ass.

Lily on the Road said...

Great report lllloooveee it!

Congrats on a great race, cramping and all!

Enjoy your down time, chillax, have a couple of colds ones AND no puppy kicking, not allowed LOL....


Run For Life said...

Wooohooo for finishing Boston! Great race report. Next time you'll show those cramps who's boss.

Mir said...

You always have great reports--I love the multi-part epics. This one was no exception. I hope you get that cramping issue figured out. You now have the perfect set-up for your next Boston Marathon report: unfinished business, revenge, whatever. You'll get it next time out!

Frayed Laces said...

Pah, what a loser! Cramps? You're going to let measly cramps get you down? You're an embarrassment to the field of running--

(Thought you could use a change from all those supportive comments everyone else left)

Anyways, you should be proud of getting the chance to go to Boston and finishing despite all the pain, blah blah blah.... I understand how frustrating it is to have a sub-optimal marathon experience, and I do hope you figure out the problem. Interestingly I have noticed the same thing about walk breaks, which is why I just can't do them. I'm sure there is some physiological mechanism behind it; if you figure it out please share!

The 311 Boys Mom said...

ok, I just told you I dind't see the medal & I do see it now. Sorry about that!

I always start at the top & go down, I need to start at the bottom & go UP!!!!

VERY nice!

Eric Gervase said...

Boston 09... sweet. Can't wait to see you put Beardsley in a headlock.

Agreed... 5k PRs here we come.

Topher said...

I'm looking forward to the Mr. Roper post. Nice job on the 'thon! And I had to laugh at the picture of Paul Revere's house. When I went to Boston, I walked there from downtown because someone told me it was "just down the street." Then I got there and found out you had to PAY to go in. My pictures of the outside don't have a Mercedes in them if you want a copy. With your sweet Photoshop skills, you should be able to get me out of the shot, though. Unless, of course, you think my ugly mug adds something special.

jen said...

Somewhat belated congrats on your Boston Marathon finish. I loved your recap and could picture all the sights and stuff you described. I'm sorry your race was again ruined (sort of) by cramps.. that must be so frusterating. It could be the walk break, but have you considered your salt intake? Sorry if you mentioned that and I missed it. Anyway, congrats on another great marathon finish. I'm glad you let yourself enjoy the experience despite your cramping/slower-than-expected finish. Enjoy your recovery! :)