As many of you know, today (17th February, 2008) we ran the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon.
Similar to last year, I ran the first half reasonably well, completing the first 21km in about 2 hours and 15 minutes. I felt there may be a blister in my left foot and my left angle was hurting. Other than that I was OK.
The cramps started about at about 26km. similar to last year. I did a lot more stretching this year, both in training and just before the race. But it didn’t seen to help. I tried to walk it off. But as soon as I started running again, the cramps would come back, in the calfs as well as the thighs.
It was so frustrating that I wanted to quit and jump on the bus many times. What stopped me was that thought that there was still time, and it would seem cowardly to quit while there was still a chance to finish it. But deep down I knew the cramps would not go away. So I continued to walk and limp the rest of the way.
At one point, I put my leg on a ledge to rub some ointments on it. Big mistake! Sharp pains shot through it as the calf muscles cramped up as they were shortened. From that point on I tried not to bend my knee too much.
When I turned into the streets of Causeway Bay, there were lots of people on the street, and more people cheering for us stragglers. More importantly, I saw that there was a chance to finish before the 5hr 30min time limit. But I had to speed up to do that. So I literally gritted my teeth, tried to block the pain from my mind, and ran/limped through the last km. Many times I had to keep my knee straight to prevent the cramps from starting again. That must have looked weird. I finally arrived at the finishing line in Victoria Park in about 5 hrs 25 minutes, about the same as last year.
I knew it was foolhardy to run this year. It is just too much punishment for my old body. So my dear friends, if I should try to run again next year, please stop me!