On the morning of April 18th, 27,491 runners from all over the world lined up at the starting line of the Boston Marathon. With near perfect conditions — temperatures in the low ‘60s, no humidity, cheering crowds — there was nothing that would stand in the way of the athletes who dedicated months to training for this tremendous event. We met one of these incredible runners, Kassandra Marin, who crossed the finish line feeling better than she ever expected, and was able to enjoy the race without worrying about cramping up. Read her story here:
I’m Kassandra Marin, a 26-year-old mother to one, full-time employee and long distance runner. I grew up in Beverly, Massachusetts, running on the same high school tracks and cross-country courses as Olympian runner and #ITSTHENERVE ambassador Shalane Flanagan.
I went to college in Florida on an athletic scholarship, and started running the 10k and training for the marathon at NAIA nationals. One humid morning after a hard tempo run, I collapsed in the shower. I was dehydrated and overheated. When I came to, I was horrified to realize I was temporarily paralyzed; almost every muscle in my body was cramping. It was excruciating. From my toes, to my fingers, to my jaw – all muscles contracted as I lay in the fetal position, trying to pry my fingers open to dial my phone. I managed “please help” through a clenched jaw. After getting fluids at the hospital, the doctors warned me that my heart could have stopped, too. Since that day, I’ve been careful to stay hydrated and keep cool, but I still experienced some painful cramping in my hamstrings and calves during long runs or hard workouts.
I’ve been able to complete and win a handful of marathons since then, including the Bataan Death March, which entails carrying a 40lb rucksack 26.2 miles through the desert in New Mexico, but the fear of cramps has always been in the back of my mind. I try to be as proactive as possible in preventing them, but sometimes even when I’m well nourished and well rested they can strike at unpredictable moments.
I was a little skeptical when trying #ITSTHENERVE at first, but now I can’t imagine not having it in my arsenal. In addition to preventing painful leg cramps, I feel like a well-oiled machine when I take it before a run. I can keep my turnover and paces a bit faster when I use #ITSTHENERVE, and I have personally found it to be especially helpful on recovery runs the day after a very hard workout or long run. My muscles feel looser and I don’t need to worry about any painful cramping occurring when I might be 10+ miles away from home.
In addition to my training runs, I used #ITSTHENERVE during this year’s Boston Marathon. While I didn’t quite manage the PR I was hoping for, I definitely feel that I fared better than most runners on that hot and sunny Patriot’s Day. No cramps! I had the mindset of enjoying the run and giving out as many high-fives as possible and still managed to pull off a 3:15, only 3 minutes shy of my best time! I felt fully recovered after three days, and had so much fun; it was amazing to accept the embrace of the spirit of Boston without worrying if my legs would quit on me at mile 24. I can’t imagine training and competing without it.
Although I do enjoy racing and running hard, it’s much more fulfilling to share my love of running with those around me. I regularly run the trails on the Chattahoochee River with my dog, or walk with my 2 year old to show her how amazing nature is. Competing isn’t everything, but it sure is a lot easier with #ITSTHENERVE at my side!
By allowing your muscles and mind to get in the routine of cycling, you should get a better and more efficient response from your body when you really start to push yourself. Marty Munson, a triathlete coach and distance swimmer for the past 12 years, shares some of her go-to warmups and stretches here.
What kind of muscle cramps are treated with #ITSTHENERVE? Click here to find out.
6 Warm-ups and Exercises for Runners: We’ve assembled a list of six warm-ups and exercises that will help you be your best on race day.
Learn more about Boston’s Heartbreak Hill here.