Saturday, April 25, 2009

Race Report!

First Half Marathon: 4/25/09

This race gets the prize of the best distance race I’ve run since my comeback. The trip was fantabulous, the race was the most fun, and it was the best I’ve ever felt mentally and physically [from my strength to my lack of pain*]. I loved it!
*Disclaimer: I woosed out and didn’t really start working until well past halfway, which could contribute to my “feeling so good”

It didn’t start out as a big deal. I’m on a 10K training program and just getting back into things with training since my full blown break over the holidays.
This is the first race I’ve run coming off <70mpw training—just getting into the 40’s the last couple weeks.
I was excited because I got to “travel.” This lovely little club dealio not only has given me a fantastic coach and friends on the team like I never expected, but they also pay for my races…and in this case, food and accommodations! Combine that with the way the treat me and take care of me and I feel like I’m an elite!

Anyhow, as the week went on I went from being nervous about my “unpreparadness” to run this distance to a bit of excitement about the fact that for once I wasn’t hurting. I felt fresher every day, energized, strong, and pain free. I ran Bayshore still in tricky territory from the stress fracture I’d had through half my training cycle. I ran CRIM severely overtrained and anemic. My iron is still low and my legs are tricky territory, but overall I have not felt this solid, powerful, and just plain healthy since before college!

I had to wonder—what would happen having trained less but faster, and healthier + stronger? Would I do better, or did I need to wait until my training builds up a bit more to really reap the benefits of a healthy body?

Today’s race showed me that something’s going right this year…
…and that God has blessed me more than words can describe as my legs once again become the wings of my soul! :)

Miles 1-3 =Frustration!
There were a lot, lot, lot more people than expected. I’ve never had so much pushing, shoving, tripping at the start of a distance event. 900-something women and who knows how many men. Of course I was at the back. This not only meant over a minute before I crossed the start, but it was at least 2 miles worth of not only slow running, but a lot of wasted energy jumping around everyone!

Miles 4-6 =cruising and wondering
I just plain had no idea how I should feel. Churn my legs a bit, or would I crash? Run easy and pick it up the second half? I have to confess, with painful memories of CRIM still strong, I aired more on the latter—woosy—option. L I decided I’d “cruise” and see how I was doing halfway.

Miles 6-7 =Hot, but more energy?
I ditched my tshirt at mile 2. Having not run in above 60 degress this year, the 70-80 degree race was getting to me a bit. Still, the energy seemed to be coming, not running out. At miles 6-7 I realized I felt more energized than I had at the start. Feeling like whimp, I decided to pick it up. Then I got nervous and went back to cruise mode….whimp!

Mile 8 on =ok, time to pick things up!
Alright, still not even winded at mile 8 and all I could think was I guarantee Kara Goucher doesn’t feel like this at mile 8, or anything close. I mean come on—it’s one thing to not be in the kind of shape for the kind of running I dream of doing, but to not even be on that level of effort? That’s ridiculous. Here’s where I tried to pick it up. I knew I could run 5 miles sub-7, and I knew I didn’t want to have another 10 mile run left in my legs at the finish!
I got a little feisty with the competition too. Having started at the back, I’d been running by people all along, but those last 5 miles I turned my focus from one woman too the next. In the back of my mind I hoped there just might be a chance I’d place…

Miles Something = Hills!
A lot of rolling hills, which I took surprisingly better with the new nature of my training. The toughest part was actually going down. The second steep drop especially—I could just feel my legs slamming as much as I wanted to “ride the hill.” And I have a feeling the thick/lactic acid feeling that kicked in at miles 11-12 was from that…as will be any DOMS I get tomorrow!

Miles 11-12 –Finally hurting!
Now I knew I was pushing it. I still went back and forth between really “running” and just trying to pick up the pace, but I did focus on moving my legs faster. Especially as the heat got to me and the nausea set in. I kept thinking “my stomach doesn’t have to do a thing, just keep the legs moving.” This was actually the sickest I’ve ever gotten in a race. The marathon took more out of me physically, but I wasn’t this sick, dry heaving and what not. The only thing I can think is that I was less acclimatized to the heat here, because it was definitely not the hardest race I’ve run.

Finishing Hard
Despite having taken a while to get going, I did satisfy myself with giving it everything at the end. My legs were very much just about to go as I churned through the finish line. It was pretty exciting because they announced my name coming down the chute—that’s never happened to me before. I was kinda mad that some women still came in ahead of me, but I hoped my time was an improvement and maybe a start of actually getting competitive with my running again.

I was about to keel or hurl at the finish, but after a few minute of walking around felt capable of jogging again. The toughest part was drinking and eating. I’ve frequently gotten quesy and had my appetite surpressed after a race or hard long run, but not this extreme for this long. It literally took me hours to get half a water bottle down, and I definitely didn’t keep any food down within a half hour of the race, or even an hour for that matter. Normally I make this happen no matter what, but this time I literally couldn’t. I only hope that my usual make-up eating can compensate somewhat so I don’t totally jinx my recovery and future performance, though I know I missed the primetime for glycogen replenishment. :(

The coach and team were amazing yet again. Seriously, I’ve never been treated like this. I felt so special! Haha it’s so cheesy I know, but true. The coach walked me around, got my Gatorade and coat [which I couldn’t even think of wearing!], figured out when and what I could stop for food, and helped me analyze the race, the competition, and where to go from there. On the half hour back to the hotel we discussed what this race indicated in terms of my ideal training. I feel like he understands my goals, my dreams—the fact that I really do want to be a top level runner, and that is what motivates me perhaps more than my “love for running” to overtrain like I did last summer. I mean I had a lot of people tell me that, but I felt like they didn’t get it, the way I’d trained and run in the past, the way I wanted to be. It’s not like I just want to stay in shape or be capable of a marathon—I live to run and want that running life at the top.

But my coach understands that, and he was talking to me about finding what your body responds to best. About elites who run 2:30’s off 70-80mpw, despite most of their peers running 100+. Plus, having been a 2:30 marathoner himself, he’s done it all from 120mpw training to over training to finding that ideal balance. AND his big “thing” as a coach is to work with individuals to help them find what they need…just my style, being such a complicated individual myself!
I don’t know what kind of mileage my future holds, but I do know that I can only run at the level I want to from the kind of training that I respond to best.
It’s not about compromising my running goals to “stay healthy.” It’s about seeing what type of training can best get me to those goals.

The team just cracks me up. They all ran the 5K and think just running “farther” makes you this great runner. They kept asking me stuff like if I was going to go to the Olympics and whatnot! Seriouly, too. Definitely gave me a confidence boost, and a big change from being the gimpy one chasing from behind!

The fact that they not only “put up with me” the whole entire trip, but seemed to like me and want to be my friend was so cool too. I admit, one of the guys compared me to “the squirrel” on some move that just wouldn’t stop bouncing around. He said “then give her her morning coffee and it’s like when the squirrel gets that can of pop and goes haywire!” hmm…complemenet or insult? I wasn’t sure, but I sure didn’t get the feeling anyone was annoyed with me, though they did threaten to make me run laps around the hotel at midnight!
It was like I felt that “runner connection” that makes me feel so at home, so me, plus the feeling that I am accepted as me, and maybe even liked? I dunno, but it was a cyclic effect to making me thrive this weekend in ways that far surpass even a normal good day. :)

Overall this whole experience was undescribable, and while I kept thinking of everything I wanted to write about, I just can’t find the right or enough words to explain it. Between the trip, the people, and the race—it far surpassed the “cool traveling race” I was so excited for!

And my dreams are alive and rarin’ stronger than ever…I can’t wait to move on!

1st Place Female Age Division
5th Place Female Overall

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I wanna come back to blog land!

I didn't mean to evaporate....I've still been reading blogs and wanting to participate, but I was a bit unsure where to go with mine. I really want to restructure my blog a bit, rather than on and off rambling.

I thought about starting a new blog on wordpress or something, like a lot of others have, but I really like my layout and what I've started here. I just want to be able to post in a more structured fasion, and maybe have some themes.

I'd like to kindof make this my blogging otu of the "days in the life of my Olympic training center" as I like to call it. :)
Themes like daily eats, training, daily life, and pondering posts.

So I'm asking you--my fellow bloggers who have this thing down so much better:
-Is there a way to have posts categorized by themes?
-Any suggestions [and specifically how! I'm a dunce at figuring out technology] to how I could restructure this?

so this is my hello!!! ...and... help!!!