I feel slightly discombobulated during this training cycle. I’ve been getting 99% of my runs in, as planned, but the 1% remaining is throwing me for a loop. Between nutrition, weather, and a crazy muscle cramp in my quad this week, I’m realizing I need to buckle down and focus my efforts to ensure I have a solid training cycle. But before we get into that, I had the privilege of volunteering at the Burning River Endurance Runs over the weekend and I want to tell you all about it.
Volunteering at Burning River + A Crazy Muscle Cramp [Marine Corps Marathon Training: Week 5]
Burning River Endurance Runs
Burning River, for those of you unfamiliar, is a 100 and 50 mile endurance race and includes 4- and 8-person relay options. Volunteering for this race was a really great experience. Not only did I get to give back to the running community, but I got to hang out with friends, meet new people, and help fill water bottles, make turkey sandwiches, and nutella pitas. Plus, I got to see some friends run through the aid station which was really awesome. It was great to be able to cheer them on and help them through before tackling the next leg.
Our aid station was at mile 26 which means the halfway point for the 50 milers, while the hundred milers were just getting started. We were also a relay checkpoint which was cool because as the relay runners came in their teams would get the next runner all jazzed up. The theme of our station was Michael Jackson. We had fedoras, white gloves, and Michael Jackson hits pumping through the speaker the whole time.The best part of working an ultra event is that instead of just handing out cups of water, you actually get to interact with runners and make them smile. It’s definitely more rewarding than your typical road race where racers are in and out so fast they can’t even mutter a “thank you.”
You should always thank the volunteers and aid station works. It’s just good mojo.
Aside from volunteering over the weekend, I did have a fairly productive week of workouts as well. Check it out:
Tuesday — 6.07 miles
I love hillz for breakfast, y’all! My pupster and I went out for a few easy miles to warm-up. The week before I slacked on a very moderately graded hill. This time I picked the steep one. It was a little daunting. I’ve run it before during a normal easy run, but repeats are a different beast. I looped Trixie’s leash on a stake and she had the honor of watching me run back and forth 10 times. It took her a minute to figure out that she was stationary, but then she sniffed around and chilled while I did some work. Then we ran back home. Overall a very fun morning!
Wednesday — 8.05 miles
Wednesday was my 6 at 6 morning with some friends. We had a nice run and then I ran two more miles with my husband and Trixie on the trails. We had a blast. I hope we get to make running together more of a thing. More on that HERE!
Thursday — 12.03 miles
If there’s one word to describe Thursday it would be “awful.” I try not to complain about running because I’m very grateful I’m able to run and that I actually like running. But wow was this one tough. I woke up super early to meet some friends at 6 am and had every intention of running all 12 at the same time. Unfortunately at the end of the 6 miles I was spent. Like, legit spent. I had zero drive and no energy. I also had a chiropractic appointment coming up, so I opted to go home and take a rest. After my appointment, I finished up my run.Unfortunately for me, I’ve been doing a terrible job with fueling and hydrating during the last few weeks. My schedule has been all over the place so it’s been hard to pinpoint when I need to eat and how much. Truthfully, I need to get back into a normal routine. It will be easier to gauge my caloric needs for the types of running on my plan. But splitting up my run was tough. I darn near hit the wall again! I was very hot, dehydrated, and probably missing a lot of much-needed calories. Yikes.
Friday — strength training
I thought I would be a good little runner and do my strength training. Silly me. Because what should happen but I get a massive muscle cramp? I did almost an entire strength set, including my lunges (side, front, and back). After I finished, I went into a squat and my right quad cramped up something fierce. It was a sensation I’ve never felt before. It was tight, it hurt, and it wouldn’t stop. I had to massage it out and it finally loosened up enough so I could go get something to drink. Realizing I could possibly be low on electrolytes, I mixed up some SOS Rehydrate and drank it down. I finished my workout sans lunges and squats. But yowza, that cramp was crazy.
Saturday — Burning River + 1.77 miles
Speaking of the muscle cramp from hell… Thankfully the aid station at Burning River I volunteered for was captained by my sports medicine doctor. When I woke up on Saturday morning and could barely move my leg, I knew the first thing I had to ask her was if I had seriously injured myself. It didn’t feel like I pulled anything at the time, and when I described what happened to her she said something similar happened to her during soccer several years ago. She mentioned it could be sore for up to a week (groan) and to roll it and rest. #facepalm
When I’ve experienced DOMS before, I can usually run through it. Meaning, my muscles experiencing DOMS don’t hurt during running — usually not at all. I figured I had such a fun time volunteering, and still had to get 5 miles in for the day, that Trixie and I could hit the trails and they’d be nice and easy. Wrong. So wrong. My gait was completely compromised and it was hot. I tried to get to 3 miles but I had to call it under 2. I was disappointed but it was definitely not worth making something worse.
Sunday — 2.17 cycling miles
I was still experiencing some pretty intense DOMS on Sunday so I chose to cycle alongside my 5K runner instead of running. A couple miles was not worth the agony!
Looking back on my week in retrospect, I suspect I was a little under the weather and didn’t quite realize it. I did have some GI issues throughout the week as well as some unexplained fatigue. I can’t help but wonder if my GI issues and fatigue contributed to being low on electrolytes and possibly to the quad cramp. My runs were almost comically hard for me last week, too, which is somewhat out of character for me.
Now I’m pondering what this week will look like. I’m irritated the whole weird cramp thing happened. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I’ve heard everything to “muscle strain” to “you need more magnesium.” I personally think I was probably a little low on salt (hence the SOS) and it definitely didn’t feel like a strain. But we’ll see how this week shakes out. I’ve got hills and tempo running, plus a long run — all of which I was oddly looking forward to! Fingers crossed the DOMS clears up quickly.
TALK TO ME!
Have you ever had a muscle cramp so much you had to knead it out?
What do you do to alleviate DOMS?
Any plans on running Burning River? Or any 50-100 milers for that matter?
Have you volunteered at a race?
This post contains affiliate links.