April 23, 2011

Cleveland 10-Miler Recap

I woke to my alarm at 6:45, already second guessing several of the decisions I'd made yesterday. I should have woken up earlier, so I'd have time to drink my coffee and let it have its way with me. Never mind that I went to bed after midnight, and I never sleep well the night before a race.

My hips ached, which didn't bode well. At least that meant they weren't tight.

I'd planned to wear a jacket, expecting rain, but decided while loading the car it would be too warm. I didn't want to struggle with jacket and camelback mid-run. I opted for a long-sleeved summer underarmor and my race shirt. I also opted for no socks, knowing all my tech socks drive me nuts after about 4 miles. Coffee and AB&J sandwich in hand, I pulled out of my parking spot only 3 minutes late.

I timed my arrival perfectly. There was plenty of parking (though I'm sure later arrivals had some difficulty). I chickened out at the last minute when I realized I had 3 Gu in my camelback from my last long run, and left my homemade fuel in the car. I got my iPod organized, and headed out.
I crossed a field dotted with seagulls to visit the porta-potties
then followed the snaking line of runners up the hill to the start

Everyone wanted a picture of this guy. He was in Vibrams, btw.
I wandered around, deciding even the underarmor was too much for a muggy 60 degrees. I shucked it and tucked it into a pocket of my camelback. I stretched. I wandered. I stretched some more. I saw a few people I recognized, but didn't go up to say hello. When everyone started lining up, I moved toward the back of the crowd.

Considering my last 2 long runs, I had no real goal for the race. I didn't even start thinking about goals until I passed the starting line and knew how I felt. I was mostly comfortable, which means my hydration and stretching strategy worked. I realized a 2 hour race was unreasonable, so settled on the same goal I'd had for the Towpath 5-miler April 3, and for that wonderful 11-miler April 2. Just keep running. Walk through water stops. Walk to Gu. Otherwise, just keep running.

I went out too fast, because I always do. I knew it, and tried to slow down a little once we got up out of the park. I was aware of my hips/IT, but they weren't really painful. I saw a woman running on the balls of her feet, her heals not even touching the ground, and was certain she would pay for that later. A woman my mother's age passed me, powerwalking at an astonishing speed. A man and his maybe-5-year-old son went by, talking about how far they would run. I was just managing my race, focusing on breathing, on looking up, on relaxing, on pushing my elbows back instead of my hands forward.

Just before the I hit the 3rd mile the leader passed me, coming the other direction. I felt bad for him, as the lead vehicle was a big SUV instead of a bicycle. That guy did amazing, breathing fumes and still running something like a 5:45 pace.
I saw these guys after the turnaround at mile 4. Check out Spudd.com
I carried my own water, but looked for sports drink at every water stop. Mile 4 was the first stop with Gatorade. I dumped a cup of water over my head and took 2 Gatorade. I was glad I'd shed the extra layer, as the sun came out and heated the muggy air.

Things started getting difficult just before mile 6. I took a walk break and decided to Gu. I Gu every 3 miles, and was surprised to find I was actually only a couple minutes early. This worked out well as they had a water stop at mile 6. I walked the water stop and set out again.

I was getting tired and my hips were starting to complain a bit more loudly. Changing my gait helped some, but when my GPS announced mile 7 I slowed to a walk. 30 seconds later I was running again. I'd really wanted to only walk for Gu and water. Mile 8 had a water stop and I took 2 more sports drinks.

I took another walk break in the 9th mile, thumbing pressure points on my hip and leg, trying to relax the problem areas. The last mile started with a switchback downhill back into the park. I took what I thought was the final turn, looked up, and saw the hill I'd climbed to get to the start. This was somewhat disheartening and ultimately misleading. Just before hill the course turned off, went round a picnic area, and ended where I'd visited the porta-potties before the start.

2:11:32. It could have been better, but not by much.

I immediately got in line for a massage, which may or may not have been a good idea. I stood in line for an hour, and probably would feel better right now had I just gone home and iced. When I did get home I had some errands to run, so instead of icing I used the Bio Freeze sample from the massage booth. I don't know if it's better than an ice bath, but I'm feeling pretty ok right now.

I ate both packets of my banana/almond butter/jelly concoction on the way home. It was yummy, and less sticky sweet than Gu. I'm back to wondering what the best fuel strategy is. I've heard some people water their Gu down so it's not so sticky sweet. I've heard some people add Gatorade to this and sip it every few minutes, all the way through a race. This is supposed to help maintain a steady energy level, instead of the up and down of fueling every 3-4 miles. I might try that on my next long run.

1 comment:

Chris said...

congratz! now u finish all u gotta do is work on speed.

and what is "Gu?"