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Cramping My Style

If you haven't gone outside yet today, do so now.  It's beautiful out, sunny and already 40 degrees.  I was actually really hot during New York Road Runner's Haiti fundraiser race.

10,000 people showed up in Central Park for the 4 mile run this morning, and others joined in virtually through a partnership with MapMyRun.  The event raised $400,000.  It was pretty impressive, especially considering that NYRR put the whole thing together in 18 days. 

The race started out great for me, but I cramped up (again?) during mile three, and mile four was ridiculously painful.  I slowed down a lot at the end.  Luckily, I had started off strong, so my per minute pace was 8:45, my best yet.  I credit Bon Jovi's I'll Be There For You with getting me across the finish line at a decent clip.

The whole cramp thing has me a tad nervous for the half marathon.  It's one thing to grit through the last mile, and quite another to grit through the last nine.  So, I googled.  I can sum up the world's wisdom on the subject as follows:

  • Hydrate in the days before the race, but don't drink too much right before.
  • Don't eat right before the race (2ish hrs), and avoid protein, fat and other hard to digest foods in your pre-race meals.
  • Make sure you're getting enough potassium.
  • Stretch before you run, particularly your sides.
  • Breath deeply, in through your nose, out through your mouth.
  • If you cramp on right, exhale as your left foot hits the ground.
  • Massage the crampy area and bend forward to relieve the pain.
  • Slow down.

Anything to add?  Let me know.  I'm crossing my fingers for a cramp-free long run tomorrow!  I'll keep you posted.

-Gym Belle-

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