Saturday was the Striders 30K Race up in Eden / Huntsville. It was the last race in a series that prepares runners for the Ogden Marathon. It was also only my 2nd race since my Ironman in November, 2011. The first race was the Striders 1/2 marathon 3 weeks ago. I truly did not race 1 race of any kind last year. I can't even completely describe why. But... I do know that I enjoy making exercise goals and like the "racing" atmosphere. I know that it is helpful for me in maintaining my weight, feeling better, and it really helps me enjoy my life more.
My brother Steven called me back in November and said he wanted me to register for the Ogden Marathon with him. I wasn't sure, but when Steven asks me then... I have to do it. I had a training plan set out from my Runners World book that officially began in January. I was hoping to run from November to January, but I just never could quite get motivated. January 20th rolled around, and it was supposed to be my first long run. I was supposed to be up to a 10 mile long run for the "Intermediate" plan. Nope, not happening. So, I decided to move down my plan and follow the "Beginner" plan. That plan starts with a long run of 6 miles. The beginner plan kept me motivated and was easy enough that I didn't feel awful. So, I've been following it ever since.
I have had the best training experience ever, which I will have to describe in more detail in another post. I feel great. I feel strong. I have lost 15 pounds (at least) since January, and I am so excited for the Ogden Full in 3 weeks.
We'll start with Friday.
I have such a difficult time with nutrition, and I have been really working hard on this the last month. I have been reading a few different books that have really helped. Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald and Ironman Weight Management for Triathletes. Both of these books have been extremely helpful in helping me understand why I over~eat or under~eat and if / when I am.
So, Friday I was trying to eat the right foods for Saturday's race. I think it worked. I had my normal morning meal which recently has been: Proper nutrition for morning exercise (water, Sustained Energy, Sport Beans)
Breakfast/ Morning Snack: 2 of my "Green Shakes".
Lunch: Chicken and Green Beans (Trying to add more carbs but not happening yet)
***My stomach hurt after eating this. Felt like fiber pains or constipation pains. I was a little nervous.
Afternoon Snack: I wasn't very hungry, but I made a strawberry shake
Dinner: Pasta / Lean Sausage / 1 slice white bread
After: The last 2 races for "dessert" I've eaten a pack of Sport Beans.
I have been having a difficult time sleeping lately, so I woke up about 3:00 and drank a Slim Fast, and I ate about 6-8 Frosted Mini Wheats.
Woke up again about 4:50 and made some hot apple cider. I have also been sipping on a Low~Carb Monster before my races. This seems to have worked out fine. I mix my Sustained Energy and drink about 1/4-1/2 a bottle of this before the race also.
5:45 Randy and I left for the race.
I sip my monster, apple cider, and about 6:45 start eating a pack of Sport Beans. I like to eat 1 pack about 30-45 minutes before my race.
7:00 Arrive at the race. It is cold. Temps. were about 25-30 degrees. I was so happy that there was NO wind and NO rain. I still almost wanted to wear my jacket, because I was a little cold. I am so glad that I decided against this. I go to the bathroom 2 times before the race starts, and then find my way to the start line. I decided to wear my head band, gloves, visor, compression socks, and I have happily been wearing my race-belt fueled with 4 small bottles of Sustained Energy. I also carry 4 packages of Sport beans in 2 separate snack sized Ziploc bags. My Garmin was a little loose. My race belt with my race # bugged me a little bit also. I debated whether or not to wear head phones too. I did not, and I am glad that I did not. I also have loved my new Saucony Mirage II shoes size 10. I actually bought another pair.
Mile 1 (8:12 / Mile) I have been happily negative splitting my last few long runs, so I am much more confident about starting out a little slow and even slower than what feels comfortable. Mile 1 felt great! I was questioning whether I should have brought headphones.
Miles 2-8 (8:07-8:14) Still feeling really good. I like my fuel belt. People stop at the aid stations, but I don't have to so I pass a lot of people. I wonder if they will pass me back. A few do, but most actually don't because we were all going the same pace.
Another reason I like my fuel belt and not having to stop at the aid stations: I don't lose my pace at all. If I stop at an aid station, my Garmin is a little off and it's a little difficult to find the pace I was at. I don't want to go too fast.
Also, I really like my Sport Beans. I can grab a handful, and I almost suck on the them. I chew them a little but can leave them in my mouth. I like the flavor, but I mostly like that it feels like a slow absorption so that I am constantly getting energy. I know this is probably all mental, but HEY... it works for me.
Mile 9 (7:57) Here's where my running changes a bit... This course was a loop course. There really wasn't much uphill at all. Miles 7-8 felt a little uphill, but they were flat and maybe just a little into a breeze, but when we hit mile 9 we hit almost the turnaround and headed back a little. I decided to increase my pace. I was a little worried that it was too early, but it felt natural.
Miles 10-16 (7:47-8:00) I am still feeling really good. I am a little surprised. This is now on the same course that I ran the 1/2 marathon 3 weeks earlier, and it seemed like there were a few spots that were difficult through here. BUT... nope I truly still feel great.
Here is where other runners sparked my interest. I do NOT like to talk on the course at all. I will be friendly smile and answer a question, but I am NOT a talker. I think it's fine if some people do like to talk if that works for them, but I simply am not a talker.
I was running basically even with a lady (pink lady) and had another lady slightly ahead of me (black pants lady) that had maintained her slight lead. HONESTLY.... I really did NOT care about my placement at this race. I truly was only competing with myself and trying to gain some experience for my Ogden marathon in 3 weeks. This is the course that the Ogden Marathon is on.
So, I continued at my pace and pink lady was even with me. She made a comment to me that I should go pull in black pants lady. I said, "Oh no, I just go at my own pace. This race is just practice for the Ogden Marathon." I don't even remember if / what else she said, but it reminded me how other people think during a race. How certain things are motivating to others. I think the best race philosophy I have ever had is just run my OWN race. If I pass people, I pass them, but I go as hard and as fast as I can go and truly don't worry too much about the outcome.
Interestingly enough, after pink lady said this... she began to fade a little. I think she was encouraging me to pick up my pace and go after black pants so it wasn't so obvious that she was fading.
I think about mile 12 there was an aid station and black pants stopped, and I kept going and... I never saw her again.
From actually about mile 15-finish... I was absolutely running my own race. I couldn't see anyone ahead of me, and couldn't feel anyone behind me. It was interesting.
Mile 17-18.6 (7:34-7:45) I was still feeling pretty strong. Running along at a slightly faster pace. With about 1 mile to go, two men passed me. I was a little worried about this thinking... Am I going slow? I knew I wasn't, and they did encourage me to push a little harder toward the finish.
I had been paying attention to the time and I knew I would finish under 2:30:00 which was very exciting to me. I knew I could finish in 2:32:00 from previous long runs.
I finished in 2:28:48 Just under 8:00 / mile I think about 7:59
I was thrilled with this. Randy was at the finish line...I got my banana and tried out the recovery shake and wandered a bit. I was anxious to hurry and get home, so that we could get some Saturday household stuff done. I walked by to see if they had the results up before we left, and they had results up just until my name.
Results: 9th overall female / 2nd in my age division
Yay! I was happy with this. I definitely don't consider myself a runner, so this was nice. It was a great race, and I am so excited for the Ogden marathon. My two previous marathons: Napa Valley 2009 and the marathon part of Ironman Cozumel 2010 were AWFUL! So, I am hoping for a great marathon. I want to run under 3:40:00 and qualify for the Boston marathon.
I am also very excited to be "racing" again. I like setting goals for myself both physically and mentally and this gives me a chance to prove how hard I've worked toward them.
Count~Down... 19 days.