I suppose that all adventures must have their moments of crisis. For me that was last week when I managed to tweak my hamstring. Nothing serious. No dramatic popping sound and searing pain. Just a niggle and the feeling that something was definitely not right. With only two weeks to go until the marathon, this was definitely a worry.
I tried running two days later and realized that there was still discomfort and I was risking worsening the situation. So I took 4 days off from running and hopped on the bike trainer instead. I also did a fair bit of yoga and some core exercises, so probably no harm in missing those days. After the rest days I felt better. Yesterday I went out for the scheduled 13 mile run and it seemed pretty good. The hamstring was tight, so I felt a little unsure about whether I should be running or not. But there was no pain — just some discomfort and a little soreness.
Today I found a youtube video on releasing hamstring knots with a tennis ball and I think it’s really made a difference. We’ll see tomorrow when I head out on an easy run.
Anyways, there is no point worrying about it now because I’m going. I booked my ferry ticket over from Hong Kong so I’m ‘all-in’ to use a gambling term. The goal is sub 2:55. My PR, which I set this year in April, is 2:56.
For anyone who is interested, here is the race strategy:
- The goal pace is 6:40 per mile, but I will aim to run the first 15 or 20k a bit slower. I believe that the first part of the race warrants a conservative pace because of the bridge (over and back) and the first half could be more exposed to wind. I will try my best to stay within 5 or 10 seconds of the pace and not go any faster no matter how good I might feel. My garmin watch is set to give mile splits so I will punch myself in the face if I see anything below 6:35.
- If there is some wind I will try to tuck in with some runners but only if they are running close to my goal pace. I won’t get sucked into a fast group and end up bonking in the second half.
- If my hamstring starts to become an issue, I will make an intelligent decision to pull back to a slow pace and just finish. This is the true test of running experience and I’m mentally prepared to throw in the towel. There is always Tokyo marathon at the end of February!
- If I’m still feeling good at mile 20 I’ll try to run faster and see what happens. But until I see that 20 mile mark I will hold back.
So that’s it. After the race I’m going to head back to the hotel, have a nap, then hit the town. Regardless of anything, it’s going to be Portuguese food with rosé wine at A Lorcha for dinner! If things go well, I might even head into one of the casinos and spin the wheel…