Friday, October 31, 2008

NYC marathon Expo and morning run today

I picked up my bib for the NYC marathon yesterday. Making the deadline was a race in itself as I made it just 3minutes before close. It was a lot of fun. I always found it fascinating to see so many ultra-fit people in their causal dresses (as opposed to running dresses in races). The expo almost feels like a mall in some alternate world where everybody is in tiptop shape all the time. 

Anyway, I picked up my 4hr pace ribbon just like the last two times. Its become a tradition now. Perhaps third time is the charm and its finally time to make it into the 3hr club. I was pretty sure I will break 4hr till today morning. I had the most painful barefoot moment today though it didn't last long and no damage done.

I ran in relatively chilly morning feeling good about it after the nice run I had couple of days back in similar temperatures in wet conditions. All went okay till the last mile when I decided to do a small stretch of hill run up really fast. But by the time I finished the quarter mile cat hill stretch, the whole sole of the feet started hurting really badly. It really felt like they were on fire. Interestingly enough, the pain started pretty abruptly and well AFTER I had slowed down at top. 

I am guessing that the fast run pumped in warm blood into desensitized neural receptors in the soles and got confused and started screaming in pain. Moving to soft grass surface opposite the MET museum didn't really help the situation so it wasn't the surface. I had never felt anything like this before. I was forced to take it easy and stop running for couple of minutes for the pain to dissipate which has never happened before. The rest of the run back was fine.

I am pretty sure this was an extreme case of needle-like pain we experience if we wash very cold hands in hot water. The blood rushes to skin which has been devoid of blood for a while and every "breakthrough" causes sharp pain. The foot just happens to have substantially higher density of such pain receptors than normal skin. So when I ran fast, the circulation suddenly got a jump start. 

Good news is I am positive that there was no injury associated with this issue and within about 5minutes, everything was back to normal. Just like cramps, it was painful while it lasted but soon you cant feel anything but dull pain. But lesson learnt is

* Need to do lots of research on human skin's response to cold and how compatible is it to running related blood circulation.
* Expect the unexpected even after 700mi+ barefoot training miles. 
* Brand new type of pain which I had never experienced before. There are theories out there the first interpretation of any "sensation" not recognized by brain is pain and/or tickle. eg. if a blind person gets sight, he feels pain even if the light is not bright.
I am now concerned about my negative spilt strategy. I am tempted to run fast initially to get circulation going and keeping it up for rest of the race. This would be disastrous for the "glycogen reserves" but it may be worth the shot. Besides, it is always fun to enjoy manhattan crowd going slow in second half if I do end up slowing down. Here are my racing strategies:

Scientific strategy: Run first half in 2hrs evenly and depending on HR averages, speed up progressively in second half.
Evil alternative (aka "&$%# it" alternative): Just like staten island half, start at 8:30 pace and hang in there as long as possible. Then once in manhattan, slow down/take a breaks/wear shoes/sneak into subways/take nap at my apartment on the course and jump back after couple of beers...feels good to just think about it.

BF in NY for 724mi

1 comment:

Running Log said...

Good luck tomorrow! As for race strategies I find that the second half is usually much harder for me to run compared to the first so I try to get as much out of the first half as I can. So far it's working out and I'm working on getting my time down to a 2:20 from a 2:30-2:40.

Good luck again!