Saturday, April 24, 2010

Recipe for success is spelled s-t-e-a-k.

5:45 AM, alarm goes off. I whack the snooze button (which was the plan when I set the alarm) to buy myself 10 more minutes. Whoever decided that races need to start at 7:30 must be that really annoying over-achiever who's like "I'm gonna run 20 miles before work, then take the kids swimming afterwards, then work on my racing scrapbook before I go to bed." Then there's me, who hasn't seen pre-dawn hours since Alexis was 3 months old, and gets really annoyed if asked to do anything before getting to watch Dr. Phil and downing a mug of coffee.

My tummy felt a little off. Was I actually nervous? Yup. This wasn't part of the plan, so I tentatively ate half a bowl of cheerios and took a few sips of some coffee/energy beverage Zac left in the fridge. I just didn't have an appetite for a big meal or real coffee. I figured that ribeye sandwiches (with arugula, roasted red pepper, and brie) the night before would have provided me with sufficient calories anyway.

I got to downtown Greer with 30 minutes to get my chip, hit the restrooms, and warm up. This was a pretty small race so I had more than enough time and didn't feel rushed at all, which is good because I was still kind of waking up.

Gun goes off late and without warning, and we were off. I'd put into practice what I've learned in previous races and decided to start out right up near the front. This saved me from having to go out hard to get out of the bottleneck that occurs at the beginning of almost any race. I hit "play" on my iPod but forgot to start my watch until about 30 seconds into the race. Whoops.

Miles 1-6 were really easy. I'd checked the elevation chart for the course and thought we'd be encountering some tough rolling hills, but all the inclines and declines were really gradual. But I couldn't help but think of the irony of holding an "Earth Day" run that goes by an airport. Hello jet fuel.

At some point during the race my earbuds started crapping out on me and I had to fiddle with them in the little armpouch I was wearing. My car key fell out, and a fellow runner was kind enough to scoop it up and slow down to hand it back to me. Thank you, fellow runner!

Back to the race- miles 7-11 were mostly uphill, but again, with very low (maybe 1%) grades. My competitive streak kind of kicked in when I heard other runners huffing and puffing and starting to try to speed up. I was feeling great so I just kicked it up a gear. I'm like that on the highway too, sometimes. I'm just not a fan of being passed.

Before I knew it, we were at mile 12. I was kind of surprised. I still have a lot of songs on my playlist I hadn't gotten to listen to yet! So I skipped forward to Green Day's "21 Guns" which powered me through the last mile. I almost got emotional, thinking about how lucky I am to have such a strong, healthy baby and to be strong and healthy enough myself to go out and do a half-marathon.

I crossed the finish line in about 1:45, and I'll find out my official chip time by the end of today. I was REALLY surprised by this. I think it was the ribeye and brie. Training may have had a hand in today's result too, but I think good food is a MUST. (NY-style pizza tonight, by the way. Oh, and BEER. Lots of beer.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"License and registration, please. Is that... whipped cream?"

When I was an intern at our local sports club, I did a big project and presentation for the gym-goers all about pre- and post- workout nutrition. Complete with a colored brochure, a myth / fact sheet, and a smoothie recipe even the club's nutritionist asked me for. Clearly, I ought to know how to do right by my body after a long run.

Cut to me sitting in my car before unbuckling the child and unloading the groceries, spraying whipped cream into my mouth because it's the only thing keeping me from passing out and blaring the horn with my forehead.

Somewhere between being a know-it-all student trainer and becoming a mom, sports nutrition has gone out the window. Instead, I'm stealing yogurt melts from my child, snacking on pop-tarts, and upending Reddi-Whip into my mouth. Anything for a calorie.

I've been doing a little better at dinnertime, though. It's easy enough to eat well, or not crappy, when there are Lean Cuisines out there, but I've actually been taking the time to prepare meals and I can definitely tell my energy levels and muscle recovery are improving. Granted, dinner is at 9:00PM (and accompanied by a large glass of wine), after everyone and everything else has eaten and settled down for the evening, but cooking food for myself kind of feels like giving myself a hug.

Still, it's obvious that I've got to do better. The only thing that kept me from pouring the whipped cream down the hatch while still en route back to the house was the fact that I didn't want other drivers thinking I was huffing with a child in the car. I also didn't want to accidentally huff with my child in the car.

And they warn about the dangers of texting and driving...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

just spending a little more time inside my own head, as usual

I don't have much to report / bitch / make meaningless observations about, but I thought it'd be interesting to share how I talked myself through my 10-miler today, since I conventiently left the ipod at home.

Miles 1-3 (all uphill) : This is the easy part. This is a cakewalk. This is nothing. Don't go out too fast. Your legs feel good but don't get too excited or you'll regret it going into mile 4.

Miles 4-6 : Wow, it's hot. My lungs hurt. Damn this pollen. I can feel it sticking to the roof of my mouth. I wonder if this is affecting my O2 uptake or whatever. Should I have turned down this road? Well it's rush-hour so there will be a lot of witnesses if anyone tries to mug me. Good luck to them if they do... they'd get my phone and my car key, and I'd make it to a phone before they'd find my car...

Miles 6-8: More than halfway there! Don't think I'll have to cut this run short after all. Wish I'd brought a water bottle. Oh! The water fountains are on in the park! *gulp gulp gulp*

Miles 8-9: Downhill, finally. Relax. Breathe. You got this. Keep it steady- two more big hills to go.

Mile 9: You fuckin' got this. You're not the fastest. May never be the fastest. But you're here, doing this right now, and that's pretty friggin' awesome. This hill is nothing. This heat is nothing. Just crest this hill and cruise on home.

Mile 10: Water!!!

I think having finally broken my double-digit barrier has given me another much-needed confidence boost with my running. Also, I really enjoy the excuse to chug a bottle of chocolate milk as my recovery drink. Pretty soon I'll have earned back the right... no, the privelege, to indulge in post-run ice baths.

Eighteen days 'til my 1/2 marathon. Still not planning on really racing it, but I know I'll be running it with confidence. And hopefully, at 7:30 in the morning, in much cooler temps. And also, with less pollen. Because that was really gross today.