Thursday, October 25, 2012

Olympic Dreams Dashed

I have been non-stop exercising and my eating has been perfect since the half-marathon.  LIES.  ALL lies.  I haven't been to the gym once and I've been eating like a bear stocking up for winter.  Work has been busier than usual and I've used that, plus needing rest from the half-marathon as an excuse to not exercise.  I have no explanation for the eating.  That's not true either.  I'm blaming that on stress.  We've had some childcare issues lately, nothing horrible, just unexpected change that's had me stressed out.  Let's blame my eating on that, shall we? 

But this is all going to change today.  I am getting my little butt in gear and snapping myself out of this lazy spell.  No more dinner rolls with butter at 10pm, no more doubling up on sugar-coated cereal at breakfast, no more going back for seconds at dinner when I'm not even hungry anymore.  Stop.  No...go.  Go, let's get moving Michelle!

On to the upcoming triathlon.  I was reading over the course description last night and I came to the conclusion that I'm not ready for the Olympic distance.  Oh sure, I could do it.  I have no doubt about that.  But I don't think I'd enjoy it.  And I'm not in this to suffer, I'm in this to have fun!  The thing that really got my attention was the bike.  I remember last year at the sprint that the bike route was tough with all the up-and-down on the hills.  For the Olympic distance I'd have to do that same route - THREE TIMES.  Nope, does not sound fun.  At least not with zero training.  So I emailed the organizers to see about switching to the sprint distance.  And if I sign up for the Olympic distance next year I will not sign up for a 1/2 marathon two weeks prior and I will follow a training plan.  Let's just hope the organizers let me switch. 

Ok, can we switch topics and talk about Halloween candy?  I am taking the NOT ONE PIECE approach this year.  It's worked wonders for me in the past and truth be told, it's the easier way to go.  I just say no 100% of the time and then there's no debating with myself, giving in, regret or mistakes.  Beck says that a lot of our temptation related stress comes from the decision making part - but once we make the firm decision the stress goes away.  I have not always found this to be true but it's true a lot of the time. And I know it was true when I did zero Halloween candy a few years ago.  And I need less stress so that's the plan.  So far, so good.

Tomorrow is weigh-in Friday.  I expect to be up by around 2 pounds.  Hopefully not more.  I've been eating like crazy and not exercising so that should come as no surprise to anyone.  The good thing is, I know how to reverse it and I'm starting today.   And finally - are you watching the World Series?  I hope so because that's my hometown team - the SF Giants - kicking ass!  Go Giants!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Livermore Grape Stomp Half-Marathon Race Report

Woo-hoo!  I exceeded even my most hopeful expectations!  But let's start at the beginning.

Rise and shine runners!  I was up early, but not early enough.  We had a communication snafu and I thought I had more time to get ready.  Good thing I'd packed my bag the night before so all I had to do was grab some coffee, dump some cereal and milk in a big cup, and scoot out the door.  I was doing the race with a couple mommy friends, Laurie and Deb.  Laurie and I have been doing a bunch of events together this year but this was my first event with Deb.  I ate my cereal on the way and we chatted about our hopes for the race.  I'd set an ideal average pace of 11:00 minute miles, for a roughly 2 hours, 24 minute finish time.

We arrived at the race venue with plenty of time to get our race packets, pee, etc.  Man, it was COLD out there, in the mid 50's I'd guess.  Good thing I had sweats on over my running clothes!  The forecast for the day was low 70's and cloudy - running weather doesn't get much better than that.  We got all our stuff done and then stood around waiting for the race to start. 

Deb, Laurie and I pre-race
Unfortunately there were some organizational issues and the start time was delayed by 30 minutes.  Brrrr!!!  I started walking to warm up.  My stomach started growling a bit so I had a Power Bar Energy Blast from one of the vendors.  Yuck, the lemon was just as bad as the raspberry I've had in the past. 

Finally it was time to start.  We lined up and took off!  A lot of the race is run on a paved trail and the first half-mile or so was pretty crowded.  The pace was fine for me but I could see people that wanted to run faster were having a hard time.  It thinned out by the second mile.  And by then I felt like I needed to pee again.  Oh no!  I figured I'd have to take a break and lamented what that would do to my official time.  I also got a few moments of stomach cramps and started to worry this race wasn't going to go well.  And I kept checking my Garmin and seeing that I was running too fast.  I wanted to stay right around that 11:00 minute mile mark but kept drifting down to 10:30.  I tried to make myself slow down but it was hard.  I told myself that if I got to the 8 mile mark and still wanted to run at 10:30 then I could but for now, I needed to pace myself. 

Pace for miles 1, 2 and 3
As you can see I was not doing a great job of staying at the 11:00 pace.  We turned around at the 3 mile mark and I immediately realized why - we'd been running on a very slight downgrade, between .5 - 1%.

Now running on a slight incline, my pace slowed down accordingly.

Pace for miles 4, 5 and 6.
Now I was checking my Garmin to make sure I stayed under 11:00 minute miles.  Until now I hadn't had any Shot Bloks but I was starting to feel fatigued.  I'd brought 6 Shot Bloks so I made a plan to eat one at every mile interval starting at mile 7.  We continued on the low grade incline until just before mile 8, when we hit the hilly portion of the route. 

I pushed myself up those hills, focusing on my quads and fighting to stay under 11:00 minute miles. It didn't help that the wind was blowing in our faces. I missed the 8 mile Shot Blok, I think I was too focused on conquering the hill.  But I had one at each mile interval from mile 9 until the end.  And the need to pee had gone away so maybe it was just a nervous bladder (ha!  I love that term).

As you can see, I was successful in keeping my pace up.  We hit mile 9 and I started to let myself go.  Only 4 miles remaining and I was feeling pretty good.  By mile 10 we were all done with the hills, the wind was now at our backs, and I really let myself run!

I was passing people left and right.  After being passed by a million people in the early stages of the race it felt good to do some passing.  I passed a couple of guys and they tried to rally but couldn't stay with me.  It's not that I was running fast, but these were all people who'd run a similar race to me so far - and I guess they didn't have the energy left that I did at this point in the run.  In any case, it was fun!

Look at that mile 11 - 10:09!  That's because it included that big downhill and I was running all-out on those downhills.  Running fast downhill is hard on the knees, but there was a nice sandy ground next to the paved trail so I ran on that to ease the impact.  By mile 12 I was still feeling good - pushing myself, working hard, but feeling confident I had it in me to finish strong.  So I told myself to GO, GO, GO and not look back.  Are you ready to see my pace for the final mile?

9:31 baby!!  I kept picking people to catch and then running them down.  As I was nearing the finish line there was a guy just ahead of me.  I ran my heart out and passed him just before the finish line.  What fun!  I almost dropped to the ground but managed to keep myself upright.  Wowee - an incredible race!  We forgot to take post-run pictures altogether but here's a medal shot.

The finish medal is a wine stopper.  Fun!

I was high for at least the next hour after that.  But my stomach was not.  I signed up for a massage, ate some banana and a mini-muffin and then spent some time in the bathroom.  Back outside and waiting for my massage I started freezing my butt off.  But the massage was worth the wait.  She jiggled, stretched and kneaded my muscles into a soft state of relaxation.  Best post-run massage ever - thank you Lupe from the National Holistic Institute!  After that we hit the road for breakfast. 

I had a humongous breakfast!  An omelet, hash browns, toast and a pancake!  Needless to say I hardly ate for the rest of the day.  Ok, here's some final info - as if you need more numbers!  Here's a link to the full Garmin stats.

Official chip time:  2:17:56.  (Beat my goal time by 6 minutes!)
51 out of 77 for Women 40-49
292 out of 426 overall

overall pace, elevation and heart rate

I'm signing up for the Kaiser Half in February.  This is going to be a tough one to beat, but you know I'm going to try!  Today, Monday, will be an easy gym visit.  I have to have a quick turn-around, the Marin Olympic distance Triathlon is now less than two weeks away!!