Thursday, November 20, 2008

No more long races in racing flats!

I have run my last half marathon - in racing flats. By the end of last Sunday's race, I realized that my calves had taken quite a beating. Taking several days off running seemed like the prudent thing to do, and that is what I did. Until today (Thursday). Tried to go out for a short run but pretty much had to abandon the attempt after 4 miles, ambling back on increasingly tight and painful calves. This is not DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) or some benign muscle pain that disappears once you're warmed up. No I'm afraid I know this feeling only too well: it is the type (and location) of calf strain which presages a full-blown calf pull. Why do I know? Painful and unpleasant memory of two prior injuries - pulled calf muscles following just days (in one instance weeks) after the Houston Marathon.

I had nothing planned for tomorrow (Friday being my 'scheduled' rest day) and will likely take the entire weekend off. There is really no reason for me to be over-stressing my legs now. December 15 is when I start training for Boston; until then there's a lot happening with some social commitments, Thanksgiving and an early December trip to Southern Africa. Starting to get excited about that. It will be good to see my mother and family again, albeit very briefly. So until mid December running will have to play second fiddle in my life.

The bottom line on using the racing flats in the recent half marathon? Yes I am paying the price now, but it was definitely worth it. As it turned out, I just barely made my goal time by 4 seconds and everything else being equal, I would have missed it with regular running shoes. Why? Because conventional wisdom has it that racing flats can improve one's pace by about 4 to 5 seconds or so per mile. Which is all I needed.


Burger said...

At about 175 lbs and with an over-pronation problem, I'm hardly the ideal candidate for racing flats. But it sure looks like it slid you just under that mark. Hope it was worth it and this is just temporary!

johnking said...

What flats were you using? I hate after races because my calves are so stiff I can barely stretch them. Since you're Vegan, whats the main dish for Thanksgiving?

Amy said...

I guess those flats would be okay for a shorter distance?

Bert said...

JK, good question. I hate fake substitutes like 'Tofurky'. I think I will go with something like this stuffed butternut squash. It ain't turkey but it is stuffed... This is from the 'In a Vegetarian Kitchen' blog. I will use fresh herbs though. And I will replace the whole wheat bread with pre-cooked wheat berries. It will add a nice crunchy texture and even more taste than bread. After all, wholewheat bread is made from wheat berries...

Serves: 8

Even those of us who have given up turkey welcome a Thanksgiving dish that has been "stuffed." This satisfying dish makes a handsome centerpiece for the holiday meal.

* 4 medium-small butternut squashes (about 1 pound each)
* 3/4 cup raw wild rice, rinsed
* 1 tablespoon light olive oil
* 1 heaping cup chopped red onion
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 2 1/2 cups firmly packed torn whole wheat bread
* 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
* 1/2 teaspoon each: dried sage, dried thyme
* 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, or to taste
* 1 cup fresh orange juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Halve the squashes and scoop out seeds and fibers. Place them cut side up in shallow baking dishes and cover tightly with covers or more foil. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife but still firm.

In the meantime, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the wild rice, reduce to a simmer, then cover and cook until the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until golden.

In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked wild rice with the sautéed onion and the remaining ingredients. When the squashes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the pulp, leaving firm shells about 1/2 inch thick. Chop the pulp and stir it into the rice mixture. Stuff the squashes, place in foil-lined baking dishes, and cover.

Before serving, place the squashes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or just until well heated through.