Sunday, October 21, 2012

Race report...

Ok. Race is done...recovery food and drink consumed...Epsom salt bath taken...bling still it is time to decompress and write up my report.

My first half was not quite what I expected it to be. Maybe I was a bit too confident that I would be "okay" doing it...that it would hurt but I would get through it. Well, before we go too far, let me just say that I finished. Yes, I FINISHED MY FIRST HALF MARATHON! 

The morning started very early. I was up by 4:30 and preparing. I wanted to get up about 4:45 but I was awake already so I got up. Let the dogs out and ate my prerace meal of chicken and sweet potato so it would have a chance to be digested before the half started. Tim (yes, Tim was now able to come!) and I got on the road at 5:30 and pick up my good friend Kristin on the way. I had all my supplies for during the race (ultima replenisher and stinger fruit gels) and my postrace meal of squash soup and chicken. I was prepared for colder weather but that turned out not to be necessary as it was in the 60's by the time the race started.

We drove the hour plus to the reservoir that the race was at and waited. We got there just as the marathon was starting so I had about an hour to wait. We walked around a bit. I removed my sweats and got my water bottle and such ready. At the start line, we waited. The race actually started about 15 or 20 minutes late but soon enough we were off. The start was a little dicey as it was through a patch of grass that they had attempted to cover with gravel but it still had a lot of ruts. The crowds of people started and stopped a few times but we eventually reached the road.

I started out pretty well. There were some hills in the first few miles but they actually did not bother me. I stuck to my 0.9 mile run and 0.1 mile walk. I felt good. I was slow but I felt good and I ran when I needed to do so.

We continued down this dirt road for about three miles or so. Then we hit the asphalt for a bit over a mile. The asphalt didn't bother me. I just kept to my 0.9 mile run and 0.1 mile walk. I hydrated. I used the stingers. For the first four plus miles, I felt really good. About the five mile mark, I started to think that I wasn't going to make it. My mind started to tell me that I couldn't do it. People continued to pass me. It was about this time that the fastest finishers were making their way back. Maybe it had a bit to do with my mood but I kept moving. I knew that I could make it to the turnaround. I knew I had to make it to the turnaround. After the asphalt, we were back to the dirt roads. As I continued towards the turnaround, I started to meet the middle of the pack coming back...but I really wasn't that far behind. I really felt like I was going to make, maybe even surpass, the 3:30 finishing time I had hoped for. I know it is slow but it was my target.

I made it to the turnaround and refilled my water bottle. I kept running. There were plenty of walkers and walk/run participants that I passed as they approached the halfway mark. I kept running. It was about eight miles that my calves started to scream. I stopped and stretched for a bit. It helped. At the aid station at mile 9, I put another pack of ultima replenisher in my bottle and topped off the water. There was a small hill after mile 9. It was fine. Nothing I couldn't handle...or so I thought. At about mile 9.5, I hit a wall. I wish I could say it was a literal wall because that is how I felt. My inner thighs started to cramp, which is something I never experienced in training. I so wanted to finish but felt like I couldn't go another foot much less over 3 more miles. I stopped in my tracks. So many runners (by this time the marathoners were coming in on the same course) offered support, asked if I was okay, asked if I needed help, told me that it was okay to walk, etc. I felt so much support but all I could do was stay there bent over, crying. I couldn't even to an upright stance. I tried to walk but couldn't.

A support van stopped and asked if I was okay. I just burst into more tears and said I just wanted to finish. They suggested that I eat a banana and gave me some Gu. They made sure I still had water. I said I just wanted to keep moving and I was able to do so. I kept moving...but I was in pain for sure. I texted Tim and Kristin. They both were so supportive. They knew how much I wanted to finish, how hard I had trained. I started to think that even if I did finish, I wouldn't deserve the bling. I wouldn't have accomplished what I accomplish. I had trained so hard but it was unraveling.

I moved through the section on the asphalt, running a bit, walking a lot more than I thought I would. I made the turn on the road that led back to the reservoir and made it to the last aid station at about mile 11. I even ran a bit before as there was a race photographer there. He even made me smile a bit. After that aid station, I hit that wall again. My inner thighs were in so much pain. Some spectators asked if I was okay. One offered to walk with me for awhile. All I could do was cry. We walked for a bit. Finally I felt like I could make it. After all, it was less than 2 miles. I tried to run but it just caused my toes to curl up and my legs to scream. I walked. I walked. I walked. 

At about one mile left, the lady on the bike came by again and was very encouraging. It caused me to slow down, which in turn caused my inner thighs to tighten and was so painful. I didn't know how I was going to make it another mile....but I did. I used her bike to get me in an upright position. I started to walk again. I texted Tim and Kristin when I past the 12 mile mark. I warned them that I was walking so they knew it could still be awhile.

I hit the grass as the final stretch to the finish line I tried to run but it wasn't going to happen. I saw Tim and another friend, Heather, up ahead. I waved. They waved. I burst into tears when I was close enough to them to tell them how much I hurt. Tim walked with me a bit and said Kristin was ahead at the finish to take my photo. I decided I had to at least run across the finish, which I did. They announced my name on the PA. I got my bling. I hugged lots of people (yes, even sweaty, I hugged people...strangers even that had helped me on the route). I had finished. I had struggled but I had finished...and I deserved my bling. Photos were taken. I had some orange slices and more water. I stretched.

I finally had time to send photos and text other friends when we got into the car. One of my friends, who lives too far away, replied to my text where I indicated that I had struggled with the following words:

"I know the feeling well. I had the SAME thing happen during the marathon. For a long time, I felt kind of defeated about how much it hurt even though I had trained hard. But then I realized that it's an even greater accomplishment to truly struggle and STILL finish, then it is to just sail through it...."

While I have a great amount of respect for anyone that does sail through these events (and I know my friend does as well), these words just meant so much to me. I did struggle. I did have a hard time. BUT I FINISHED. I am so grateful for all the support I received today in so many ways. I appreciate everyone that:
  • has commented on my blog
  • has commented or like a FaceBook update
  • gave me a high five on the race course
  • encouraged me with a "you're doing great" as we passed on the race course
  • offered aid (four women in particular on the course and I never got their names) as I struggled to keep moving
  • emailed me encouragement
  • let me vent about how stupid/silly I was to think I could do this
  • reviewed my nutrition/fitness plans with me
  • came to the race to see me run and finish
  •  gave me hugs at the end even though I was sweaty and salty
  • AND so many other things that I am not thinking about right now.
Believe it or not, I am already thinking about doing another but not until May of next year. In the meantime, I am going to get back to the business of being strong. 

I don't know what my official final time was. It was less than four hours but it was close to four hours. By the way, after extrapolating my Garmin information and allowing for some slow down, I do think I could have finished in just about 3 hours and 15 minutes, even better than I was estimating. Also, Tim is thinking that the inner thigh issue may have had a lot to do with the uneven and the off camber terrain of the back roads. It is true that most of my training has been a bike path, although a bit of it was done on dirt roads, but he is probably right about the issue. I am going to work on that the next time I train.

My bling that I worked so hard for: 

Friday, October 19, 2012

The training is over

Yesterday was my last training run before the half marathon. It was a short run. I was a bit thankful because it was cold. I did feel a little sad about it. I guess I really do like the training part, the pushing me part of getting ready for an event. 

Since March of this year, I have moved more than 428.68 miles. Not all of this was running as I also use my Garmin for some of my walks (especially when doing hills) and not all of my runs were included as I often forget my Garmin for events. Beyond this, there were multiple stair climbing events and training that I did not use the Garmin.

I have used my Garmin for just under two years. My ever supportive husband bought it for me on my birthday in 2010. It made doing the C25K program so much easier than using my watch. Since late November of 2010, I have recorded 712.90 miles on the Garmin. So, that means more than half my miles have been since March of this year. I think I have pushed my progress a bit in 2012.

I have learned so much during these past few months. I have learned that I have tenacity. I presevere. I am strong. I am weak. I found out I needed help. I found out I needed support. I found both. I have added some great friends and advisors to my life. I have reconnected with people from the past that added to the support network. There have always been people in my life that supported me but I have learned to lean on them more. I have learned to share with them more. I have met some new people in the last year or so as well. These people have endeared themselves to me and have helped me shape a plan to move me towards a more healthy and fit life. I would like them all but I know I would miss someone and feel awful about it. Let me just say there are so many of you out there and I thank you.

I have also started to listen to my body. On the nutrition side, this has meant to change my diet to one that strengthens my body and avoid those things that cause it to falter. I have learned a lot about body inflammation. I have learned not to listen to the media, the diet world, etc but to depend on my body and how it is performing on certain foods. This has led me to a primal lifestyle. It led me to do some work with a great nutritionist. I am not perfect on this front but I am making progress. 

On the fitness side, I have learned to adore...these funny shaped things called kettlebells. I learned that I am strong and that I am quite capable of "keeping up" with others. I can push myself to new levels. Of course, I have also discovered a love for stair climbing and a like for running...okay maybe it is growing to be a love for running. In the past few weeks, I rediscovered a passion for boxing. However, I did have an ephinany this week. One that led me to start to understand the need both for the proper nutrition for workouts and for rest and recovery. My nutritionist is helping me to understand how to fuel my body for workouts. It is working. Many people have told me over and over again that I need to rest more; however, in my mind, if I wasn't working out, I was slacking off. But this past week as I hit the end of my half marathon training, I realized that I wasn't as physically strong as I had been earlier this year. I know now that I need to concentrate on getting some rest during the week and manage my workout schedule a little better. I am going to try to workout more on a given single day but also put in a couple full 24 hour rest periods each week.

On Sunday I will be adding another 13.1 miles to my total for 2012. I am excited. I am nervous. I am scared. I am going to do it. I can't wait to show off my bling. I can't wait to have a personal best (it is my first afterall). I look forward to Sunday when I can say 13.1 because I am only half crazy!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

So maybe I am not superwoman.

Such was the subject of an email I sent to a few of the people that have helped me move towards my fitness and health goals. It is hard for me to admit that I have hit a wall. If you have read my blog entries, you likely know that I am reaching the end of my training for the Boulder half marathon on Sunday. My last long run as I blogged about recently was this past Saturday. It was 11 miles. It was hard but I did it via a run/walk protocol. Sunday was a rest and ice day.

Then Monday I decided that I could do some hard workouts through Thursday of this week. I boxed in the morning and then I went to kettlebell class after work. While the workouts were okay, I didn't feel strong. I struggled through them. I think maybe my body was telling me that I needed to rest, that I was asking too much from it right now. I had a short run this morning, which I did but it wasn't get. Tonight I went to swim rather than go to yet another kettlebell class as I had planned. Swimming is great therapy for me. Think of it as my version of yoga. I am glad I did. I feel a bit more refreshed.

My body is tired. I need to think about rest and recovery. I need to make it more of a priority than I have in the past. So many people have told me this over the past few years but I think it is finally sinking in. I am still looking forward to the half marathon but I am also looking forward to go back to the business of building strength after it is done.

I am mentally tired. Someone once told me that she felt that for me, the training for an event was perhaps even more important than the actual event. It could be true. I am sort of feeling that post event letdown already. Strange since the event is still days away. I am going to work on this attitude about things.

I have learned a lot about training for events like this. I know now that I need to learn to manage my workouts in better the next time I train for a half marathon (that likely will be next May). I am realizing that taking rest/recovery days doesn't mean I'm slacking off. It means that I am listening to my body and understanding what I need to do in order to be stronger.

I am still doing well with my October goals. My Whole 30 has reached day 16 and I feel good about it. I am slowly getting through the one hundred pushup challenge. I haven't logged all my workouts but that's okay. My caffeine consumption was cut drastically from what it was in September. So things are going well there.

For the rest of the week, I am going to watch what I do so that I am not burnt out (physically or mentally) for Sunday. I am going to focus on enjoying the accomplishment. I can't wait to report how it went. I guarantee you that when I finish the 13.1 miles, there will be tears...of happiness, of relief, of pain....and maybe some day I will be Superwoman.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My last long run....until the 21st

On October 21st, I will be running a half marathon. What? A half Just a few weeks ago I ran a 10K for the first time. It was an emotional time for me. I blogged about it here. At the time, I was training for a half marathon in December; however, after reading reviews of that particular marathon and other issues (travel for work, etc.), I decided that this marathon would not be ideal. So, I looked for another one. I truly thought I would either do one in Michigan at the end of October or one in Kansas in November. 

I thought more and more about it and looked at my training schedule. Traveling just didn't make sense. It was a few weeks ago that I stumbled upon a local half marathon for the 21st of October. I thought about it for awhile. I reviewed my training plan. If I did this half, it would mean there was no slack in my training. It was going to be quite a challenge to try and do it. BUT there is nothing wrong with a little challenge. 

I signed up...then I regretted it. I kept training but struggled. I talked to someone who just finished her first half. She mentioned that she used the protocol that our nutritionist suggested of 9 minutes run and 1 minute walk. Lauren had suggested it to me in the past but in my mind, if I didn't run the whole thing, I couldn't say I ran a half. Well, the more I thought about it, the more I realized the key was to finish and have a starting point. Does it really matter if I have to walk parts of it? does not take anything away from the accomplishment of doing a half. So, I tried the protocol on my long run and had an epic fail. I was struggling...a lot.

I changed the protocol to something that made it easier for my mental preparation to handle. I did run 0.9 miles and walk 0.1 mile. I used it on my long run last week, which was to be 10 miles. I made it nine and walked the last mile. Even with the walking, it was quite an improvement over the prior week. 

Today was my last long run. I spoke with Lauren about the nutrition before, during and after the run. She made some great suggestions. I used them today on what was to be an 11 mile run. It worked. I was able to run all 11 segments of my 0.9 mile runs. I so wanted to give up after mile 5 but I didn't. In fact, I turned down a dirt path and saw some hills and decided to do the hills for the next 3 miles. By the time, mile 11 came around, I told myself that I would be okay if I quit running any time during that 0.9 mile segment. I didn't quit. I ran the whole thing and found a few more hills during that segment.

I am not going to say it was easy. It wasn't. I am not going to say it was miraculous. It wasn't. I just did what I need to do. I was happy to get home to my bath tub. Tonight my legs are sore. I have been working on recovery. I feel good about what I accomplished.

I am still nervous and scared about the half next week. I know it is not going to be easy. I am also a bit sad because Tim will not be there with me as he had previous commitments; however, it will be okay. I am sure I will be emotional about it. I was emotional today when I finished the 11 miles. 

I am just going to keep repeating to myself -- "It doesn't matter how slow you go. The important thing is finishing what you set up to accomplish." It got me through today. It will get me through next Sunday.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Where does the time go????

Hubby and I are still rocking our Whole 30. After a few days of blah, he is feeling great. Food has been good. I made a spaghetti squash type goulash the other day for lunches this week. It has been awesome to not have to think about what I am going to eat at work. Dinners have been lots of veggies and protein (asparagus and bison burgers, broccoli and ground beef, etc.). 

On the caffeine side, I am drinking coffee again but am able to keep it to one cup in the morning, which is way down from what I was consuming while I was on my break from work. So much better.

Workouts since I last blogged --

Saturday -- 5.46 run/walk training session and boxing
Sunday --5.05 hike through the hills
Monday -- 3.18 run/walk train session and kettlebells
Tuesday -- kickboxing
Wednesday --5.36 run/walk train session and kettlebells

The half marathon is getting closer and I am starting to freak out a bit but it will be good to go out and accomplish it. I love to meet goals and for me, this is a big one. It is not quite like the 10K as my goal to run the 10K was set just days before I actually ran it. This one I have been training for and looking forward to for some time. 

I just have to remember to keep putting one foot in front of the other and carry on.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Oct. 3rd, 4th and 5th

Things continue to go well. I just got a bit busy at work so the daily posts fell behind. Let me see what I remember about that past three days.

Oct. 3rd -- I remember squash soup with chicken, brussel sprouts and ground beef, and fish with asparagus for the three meals. I am sure there was an apple with almond butter in there too. No work out as it was a rest day although I did my pushup challenge. I also took a one mile walk with one of the pups.

Oct. 4th -- Beef broth definitely was consumed with some chicken as meal one. Broccoli and chicken for meal two and brussel sprouts and chicken for meal three. I ran/walked 3.52 miles (3 miles running) and took kettlebell class.

Oct. 5th -- Beef broth and a banana with almond butter was meal one. Meal two was at Jason's Deli -- salad bar with olive oil and vinegar for dressing (not a lot of protein choice so I still need to work this out). A cup of beef broth was a mid afternoon snack and then meal three was a Whole 30 compliant chili and sweet potatoes. I walked hills with a pup for 1.5 miles and then I went to another boxing class Friday evening.

I am going to try to keep up with the posting but am not going to stress about it as I don't need to add to stress in my life.

Hope your October is going well!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2nd

Day 2 of the Whole 30 went well. Food was the squash soup with chicken again, some mashed pumpkin and sweet potatoes with coconut oil as a pre workout snack, beef broth, apple with almond butter, and brussel sprouts with ground beef. 

No caffeine consumed yet again. I am not planning on totally eliminating it but it is working for now. I did have herbal tea and lots of water. 

Working out today was a 10 mile run/walk as part of my half marathon training. It wasn't easy but I did it. I also went to a boxing class today. SO much fun! 

Tomorrow I am back to work after a bit of time off. I am looking forward to getting back into a routine.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1

So, here goes the report on the goals. Today I complete Day 1 of the Whole 30. It went well. I had some butternut squash soup with shredded chicken for meal 1, zucchini with ground turkey and diced tomatoes for meal 2, and tuna with spinach and pickled ginger for meal 3. I also had an apple with almond butter for my pre workout snack. Meal 3 was post workout so no post workout snack necessary. 

I went out for a four mile walk today with one of our pups. While I won't always count walks as a workout, I will when they are lengthy or include lots of hills. Today's was long and included hills. Here is the elevation map of the walk.

I also did a hard kettlebell workout with kettlebells weighing from 25 pounds to 55 pounds. It was about 500 reps of various moves. I sweated a lot. It was great.

I had NO caffeine at all today. I drank a bit of herbal tea (licorice flavored) and lots of water.

October is going to be my month!