Slow and Steady

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Ave Race Report

Ok, so my Sunday run was preceded by a perfect and much needed couple's weekend. I will post on this a little later so stay tune for my neurotic reflection on a well deserved relaxing weekend with my husband and feeling of guilt for "abandoning" my children for 2 1/2 days. Fun stuff ladies and gentleman, fun stuff indeed. Without further adieu, my race report:

Training: None.

Like actually none. 4 days before the run I walked 6 miles with a friend and ran 1 for a total of 7. This gave me the confidence I needed to know that if all else fails, I could finished by just walking the whole thing.

Saturday: Ran a whopping 1 mile just to test if my legs were working. It was a speed test type of mile as I chased my husband along a trail on the coastal cliffs of Northern CA...quite beautiful I must say. It was nice to let the nerves out with such a playful "workout". Please note my husband DOES NOT RUN so it was a real treat for me that he humored me with a leg loosener.

As in prior race reports you are likely waiting for my pre-race meal report of fried food and beer. Alas, I decided to try and eat like a normal person, sorry to disappoint. We hit an amazing pasta place recommended to us by a friend. It had perfectly made Calzones. Like they asked, "light, medium or heavy" on the sauce, the same question for cheese etc.. The food is perfectly made because the ingredients are great and they cater to the customer's requests. Ok, so this is what I had:

Plenty of water, half a pepperoni, olive, light sauce, heavy cheese Calzone, foccacia topped with walnut pesto and toasted parmesan cheese (1 slice was plenty). There was also the homemade bread in a basket (I had a couple slices). I take carbo-loading seriously folks. I drank half a quart of G2 Gatorade, this was back at the hotel. I tried to stay as close to not eating after 8:00 as possible, but vacation made it tough. Still I was done noshing at about 8:10.

Asleep by about 10:00. Kept waking up, probably nerves.

Race Day (Sunday):
Alarm went off at 5:00 am, hubby flew out of bed and into the shower, I of course jumped on my phone to Facebook about how I wanted to do nothing else by sleep and skip the run. My dilly dallying led us to be about 1/2 hr late. I got up, got dressed and loaded the car since we needed to check out before we left. My hubby slathered the perfect amount of peanut butter on my plain bagel that he toasted for me and we were off. I also drank the second half of my gatorade. I really focused my pre-run hydration. The 20K from March really had me shaking in my boots about another calf cramp extravaganza. Note it was a 2 hour drive from our hotel to the race start.

We arrived in plenty of time (7:55) for the 9:00 start. Because I didn't print race directions and GIANT Redwoods don't make for the best iPhone reception, we arrived on the opposite end of the "preferred" parking area. Fortunately for us, my mistake scored us prime, uber close parking to the race start and clean bathrooms to change in afterward! Point for the unprepared slacker.

I checked in, put my bib on, stood in line at the port-a-potty, ahem, took care of some necessary business and thanked the world for my amazing port-a-potty line Karma. 5 minute wait for me, about 15 minute waiting for the line that formed soon after.

Ok, so race start did not at all seem like it had 1,126 people standing in it, but it did. Good for me because at no point during the race did I feel alone, even though I was running ALONE. I debated on walking to start, get warmed up then run a couple miles and walk the rest. My hubby thought I should just run until I couldn't run, there would be plenty of time for walking if I NEEDED to. So I took his advice and ran 1 mile, 2 mile, 3 miles...WOW I was still running! I then thought to myself I need to stick to my fuel plan, where are the aid stations again???? Hmmm?

So my plan was to fuel at miles 5.2 and 10.3. What actually happened was the following:
  • Fueled with a Triberry GU at 3.5....dang it, too early.
  • Potty break at mile 5.2. 30 seconds to take care of business (I told you I focused on hydrating) and 3.5 minutes waiting in line. Kinda lame, but oh well I was RUNNING, not walking this thing so I was feeling pretty flexible with my time.
  • Ran, ran, ran and allowed myself to fast walk while drinking my water through the aid stations at 7.8 miles where I choked down another Triberry GU, 8.5 miles and 10.3 miles where I scored a mini-cliff bar for right after the race.
Ok so I am feeling awesome for running and when approaching mile 11 I started to feel a little hungry. I only packed 2 GU's thinking 1 at 5.2, 10.3 with real food at the finish would be plenty. I was wrong, or at least partially wrong for not sticking to the plan. Note for next time, pack double food just in case, GU doesn't weigh that much. Anyway, I went from slightly hungry to starving in about 200 yards. I didn't eat the mini Clif bar right way as I did not want to induce any gastric distress with only 2.1 miles left. Unfortunately it was risk gastric distress, or altogether completely bonk. I allowed myself to walk a little while I chomped down on half the mini bar. I did not pack water to wash it down with because this race was so well supported with 4 aid stations on the way out and the same on the way back. I mean really 8 aid stations for a 13.1 is pretty frick'n awesome. So here I am choking down my mini bar with no water and I immediately feel better. I begin to run. Here comes mile marker 12 and the amazing amount of confidence that I just RAN a half marathon (almost) floods me. Yes I know I walked a bit, but really not all that much. I'd guess way less than 1/2 mile up until this point.

Ahh yes, feeling good. Feeling G-- uh what I meant to say was good G-d, please don't cramp, please don't cramp!! My calves began their randsom request, walk now or we will take your whole body down. Now while I say I was feeling good on the run, that is not to say that my left knee didn't try and pull this randsom crap at like mile 8 and again at 10. This was my mantra in those situations "run through it or get comfortable with it" I said this a few times and in both cases about 100 yards later the threat retreated. I was afraid to be so bold with the calves. The calves and I met once before this year and I am sorry to admit the calves won. This time I tried to pre'emp them by hydrating the days before and fueling throughout the run. Was I brave enough to stick them with the mantra "run through it or get comfortable with it"? Well I tried and the threat was too imminent. With a slight climb in the last mile I had succumbed to walking. With less than 1.1 to go I felt like my mental toughness failed me, or had it?

At this point in the run I had a heart to heart with myself. What did I have to prove? Who did I have it to prove to? I just RAN, I'll say it again, RAN a run I completed expected to walk and try to finish in as close to 3 hours as possible. I DID exhibit mental toughness, I was accomplished and all I had to do was make it to the finish. My little pep talk was great and I was off and running again....200 yards later I was walking, wow this was going to hurt. The bad part about walking is that it is a slippery slope to walking more AND more importantly it gives the pain a chance to settle it. When did my knees starting hurting? Why are my hip flexors protesting? Uh oh, I feel like my left toes are going to Cramp...oh no and here comes the left calf muscle too! Ok so now I NEEDED to run or else I might not make it to the end. Walking is the devil, it tempts you into thinking you needed it just for a minute, just for a few strides and then sucks you in.

I was fortunate to have the bathroom line lady pass me and tell me to keep it up, that I was almost there. This got me another 50 yards or so before I had to walk again. Then the all blue outfit lady told me "we" could do it and we pushed each other a bit further before walking another 25 yards. Then the most beautiful sound you have ever heard echoed through the gorgeous giant redwoods...Traffic:) We were so close to the bridge where the start/finish was that  I knew I could finish it out. Sure the calves and toes all threatened to take my body hostage, but I had to risk it. As I approached the finishing shoots, say maybe 20 yards out I must have thought out loud, "oh gosh, I'm going to cramp" because the blue outfit lady said no your not, put her hand on my shoulder and encouraged me to finish. Wow, I love runner people. For an individual sport they are pretty TEAM oriented.

So there you have it. I finished. I RAN almost the whole thing save for a little less than a mile total of walking (I know it sounds like a lot more and let me tell you it felt like it too). My finishing time was 2 hours, 40 minutes and 7 seconds. According to the race results a 12:13 pace. I am pretty impressed with myself. This is only a 12 second increase per mile than my 10K back in January and I walked what felt like a ton AND had a potty break. This was rolling hills, January's 10K was absolutely and decidedly FLAT. I usually do not feel too hyped up about anything I do, but I was so proud of myself and happy that my hubby was there to support me I actually teared up at the finish.

Post race I had oranges, a granola bar and a bavarian pretzel. I had one bite of calzone left overs and tried to sleep in the car. There is nothing like a 5+ hour drive home to make you realize your hips and knee joints ache and nothing you do will make it stop. At least there was no muscle pain or cramping. No, the muscle pain waited to arrive until today. My quads are completely shredded and I am not sure what to do. Sitting, rising and any kind of steps are virtually tortuous.

Ok, so now that I know I can do a 1/2 sans training, what's next? Until the next ambitious attempt, get through it or get comfortable with it. (I'll edit this post with PICS as soon as their are uploaded, downloaded? whatever, as soon as I can)

Thankful Three:
1. For an amazingly supportive husband who drove 650 miles for my 13.1 mile event
2. For organic, sustainable and DELICIOUS vacation food
3. For Monday off from work to try and recover


Anonymous said...

Good job Sophia! Can't wait to get back to running :) By the way, this looks cool and I have a few friends using it for training and sports etc


Christi said...

Congratulations on a great race!! You suffered through and prevailed. I am very excited for you and can't wait to see what your next races hold for you!

Becky said...

This is great! Good job! I ran my first half last weekend, and I really relate to the cramping episodes. My foot went numb about halfway through and it's so hard to keep going. Good for you!! :)