September 12, 2010

Well that sucked...

#84/89 in the Female 40-44 bracket - Overall #912/939 (includes walkers) - Time 3:07:21

My bucket list has, for the longest time, included "running a 10K."  I did that earlier this year, then did it again.  Last month I ran 10 miles.  Today I ran my first half marathon, and I learned a lot.  

10 miles does not equal 13.1 miles.  The Energizer Bunny, who has been running and racing for years, told me if I did 8 I could do 10.  This turned out to be difficult but true (I almost stopped at mile 9, but pushed through for a 2:03:30 finish).  I've heard you're not supposed to run farther than 20-22 miles when training for a marathon.  I didn't plan to go into this with only 10 miles under my belt, though.  I was supposed to run 13 last weekend, but face-planted at about the 8th mile.  I hyperextended my fingers (the middle finger still hurts), and landed on my left knee and hip (which do not still hurt).  I shook it off, assured the many helpful passers-by I was fine, continued on the 10 mile mark, then walked the remaining 3 miles.  I was OK with that, in part because I hurt, and in part because I figured 10 was OK in the same way 8 or 20 are OK.  It would be difficult, but I would finish.  

It was difficult.  I finished, but I would not call today OK.  Here's what I did wrong:

Didn't taper well.  10 miles last Saturday.  3 Monday, but I think I walked more than ran that one.  3.5 Tuesday evening.  I barely even walked Wednesday through yesterday.  Lesson:  Run at least 1-2 miles every day the week before a race, just to stay loose.  

Went to bed after 11:00 last night, which made me tired this morning. Not that I've been sleeping well anyway, and not that I slept well last night.  Just, an earlier bedtime would have given me the chance for more sleep.  Is it a lesson if I already know what I should do?

Forgot to eat my bananas.  One package of instant oatmeal, 2 hours before race time, just wasn't enough.  The bananas probably wouldn't have been enough either, but it would have helped.  Lesson:  bring a banana for 30-40 minutes before the race starts.  Maybe that will help eliminate the STARVING feeling I get around the 10 mile marker.

Forgot to take my allergy meds.  I had them in the car, reminded myself last night to take them, and this morning forgot.  I've been mouth-breathing this entire rag-weed season, and I haven't figured out how to get a good deep breath that way.  I end up with air in my stomach, which can get uncomfortable on a long run.  I was expelling that air during the last half of the race - luckily the pack had long since passed me, so no one had to witness this.

Forgot my Superman.  He usually runs with me, but had to work out of town this weekend.  He paces me and encourages me just by keeping on when I get all "I wanna quit." Could have used him today!

Changed the energy food I brought.  The body can convert about 100 calories an hour.  If you don't give it something to burn, it starts converting fat to energy.  For weight loss this is great.  For racing, not so much.  The conversion is slow, and doesn't supply energy as fast as runners need.  I've been using little 80-100 calorie packages of fruit snacks, combined with Gatorade on my long runs, but decided Shot Blocks would be easier to carry. I've used them on long bike rides, so figured my stomach could handle them (GI issues are common in runners, and energy drinks/gels can often be the culprit).  I was wrong.  I had a Shot Block just before the start, because I was concerned breakfast had been so early.  By the end of the first mile my stomach was cramping, and it never really did settle down.  I kept eating them, because I needed the energy.  Somewhere between the 6th and 7th mile I puked, and my stomach settled a little.  Taking the blocks with a lot of water helped, too. Luckily I had my camelback. If the water stops were the only water available, I would have been in trouble. Lesson:  Stick to the fruit snacks - maybe in larger packages.  I can get electrolytes from the Gatorade they hand out.  Maybe that will eliminate the 10-mile starving, too.  

I'm not sure why my calves started cramping, but I was miserable by the 9th mile.  I think it was the amount of uphill we traversed (along with poor tapering).  I was under the impression this race was all downhill!  I had to walk.  I apparently had to cry.  Then I shuffled back into something resembling a running gate.  Then I walked again.  I cried again.  I ran again.  I did this for the last 4 miles (I did stop crying eventually).  I "ran" the better part of the last mile, and got a medal for crossing the finish line. That and the bib (with date and official chip time written on it) will go in my growing stash of running accomplishments. Another first!   

I'm signed up for the Towpath Half Marathon on October 10.  I learned a lot from this one, and will carry that knowledge forward.  I expected to run a 2:40 or so, at a 12 minute mile pace, today.  On a really good day, maybe an 11 minute mile pace.  That didn't happen, but today did give me a baseline that makes a PR in my future almost certainly guaranteed.

1 comment:

Amy Boukair said...

I am supremely proud of you!!!!! Just the fact that you attempted, and started, let alone finished is a wonderful accomplishment you should be proud of too!

I know nothing about running, but isn't leg cramping a sign of dehydration? That's a problem with Gatorade vs. water, no? While Gatorade does have electrolytes, etc., it's also loaded with sodium. Like I said, I know nothing, so take that with the proverbial grain of salt.

Also - you need to friend my friend Bridget. She's a MAJOR fitness nut, and can probably give you some running tips. I can do the FB suggestion thing if you want.

Again, and I can't reiterate it enough - I AM PROUD OF YOU!!!! While it may not have gone how you wanted it to. YOU DID IT!!! which is obviously more than can be said for most people (myself included!).