By: Ronald Giorgione
I ran cross-country and track throughout high school, but stopped competing when I went to culinary school. I ran on occasion for stress relief and general fitness, never really getting back into the racing realm.
Ten years later, in 2014, I was 80 pounds heavier and depressed. Life took the wheel and I realized I needed to take it back. I was able to drop the majority of my excess weight at Barry’s Bootcamp and then got inspired to run a half marathon. With no training, just pure determination, I completed my first 13.1-mile race. I ran that race with two good friends, whose passion for running kept me going and I eventually completed two more half marathons.
I never considered running a full marathon until I experienced Boston, hearing the announcer call my friend Natalie’s name and seeing her cross the finish line fueled my dream to qualify and run Boston myself.
Four months later, I ran the Santa Rosa Marathon with Natalie. At miles 17 and 18, both my interior quads seized and I was at a standstill. I finished the race, walking and lightly jogging across the line. When I finished, I knew I could do better so I signed up for the Ojai Mountains to Beach. I followed a strict training plan and cut an hour off my time. I kept popping salt tablets to avoid the cramping. And here I was 27 minutes away from a BQ.
At the beginning of my training, I entered to run both Chicago and NYC marathons, not thinking I would get into both! After I ran Ojai, I got right into training for Chicago. I wanted another solution to the salt tablets, so I tried using HOTSHOT on my long runs. Taking HOTSHOT right at the threshold of my previous limits for cramping, I was amazed by how quickly the spicy shot took effect.
I ran Chicago with three bottles, taking one just before the start. I took one at mile 17, where I am prone to feel my legs cramp, and another at mile 20. I felt great and was pacing myself for a 3:30 pace knowing that I had to run NYC four short weeks later. Then mile 22, I opened my stride as I was going downhill and bam! Legs seized and I had to walk the rest.
I had only four weeks to figure out a solution, so I spoke with the HOTSHOT reps and devised to take a spray bottle and fill it with four HOTSHOTs, marking a line for each one. I knew going into NYC that I wasn’t going to PR; it had been a long year and I put my body through more than I thought possible.
Running with HOTSHOT in the spray bottle, I was able to take it when I needed allowing myself to push through all the doubt of running the million plus hills of NYC. I crossed the finish line almost 30 minutes faster than Chicago. I felt great — beaten down and tired, but great!
The dream of Boston is still alive and I know that HOTSHOT will be a part of achieving that goal.
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