Friday, August 19, 2011
2) "Get More From Your Workout- Downing coffee and toast between back-to-back workouts can keep you buzzing, a study from the Journal of Applied Physiology reports. Athletes who drank a caffeinated carbohydrate beverage after cycling had 66 percent more glycogen (an energy reserve) in their muscles than those who had a caffeine-free version. Replenishing glycogen helps you go farther and faster in your next session."
Read more about it here:
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Date: 8/12/11 - 8/13/11
Location: Rachel, NV near Area 51 - NV SR 375 the "Extraterrestrial Highway"
Race Coordinator: Calico Racing
Event: E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon, 51k, Half Marathon, 10k
Start Time: 12:30am
My Distance: Half Marathon
Weather: 60-70°F; dry (15% RH)
To quote Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: "Hold on to your hats and glasses because this here is the wildest ride in the wilderness!"
I've been putting off writing this race report because there is just so much to tell! Well, here goes.
Friday night and Saturday morning before the race were a more chaotic than I would have liked, but life happens. I described it in my last post, so I won't go into detail, here, other than to say I was tired and a little anxious about my lack of sleep affecting my race.
After the hectic morning I was hoping for a relaxing afternoon, but it turned into a whirlwind. I really wanted to try to get a nap or two in during the day on Saturday. I was able to eat breakfast around 10am and then get some work done before finally getting in a 30 minute nap just after noon. My wife was going to leave for a birthday party at 4:30pm and I was going to have an hour or so to get ready before heading to the Hard Rock Hotel to pick up my race packet and then hop on one of the buses for the two hour bus ride up to the race course.
My sister-in-law was borrowing the truck and was supposed to come by the house at 3:30 to get ready and ride to the party with my wife, but she had to deliver the cake to the party, so she needed the truck. I ended up riding with my wife to the party to get the truck when my SIL arrived with the cake. She was driving cautiously with the cake, so she was a little late and I didn't end up back to the house until 5:15. That gave me 45 minute less to get showered, packed, grab dinner, and get to the hotel. It was a little frantic, even with the "to bring" checklist I had made, but I managed to make it out the door by 6:15 and dropped by Subway for a foot-long roast beef sub and a bottle of water and ate it on the drive to the Hard Rock.
The one thing I had worried about was filling my Camelbak and keeping it cold. I didn't want to leave it in my truck for two hours and have it get hot. I filled it at the house with 16 oz of Powerade and 50 ounces of water (didn't quite fill up the full 70 ounces) and a bunch of ice cubes. I then put the pack in an insulated cooler with a couple blocks of blue ice and brought that along with me. I brought a couple of granola bars for the bus ride and put them in the cooler as well along with the remaining 16 ounces of Powerade.
I made it in to the pre-race expo at 7pm and there were no lines at the packet pick-up table which was awesome. After running around all day, I suddenly had over an hour to kill before the buses loaded at 8:30pm. A lot of runners were congregating in the halls of the Hard Rock. I bought a couple packs of m&m's for the race in the hotel's sundries shop. Since I had my truck, I took the opportunity to relax in my truck by myself.
At about 7:45 I changed into my racing clothes and packed my dry-clothes bag and made sure my camelbak was all set. At 8:15 I headed down and got in line for the buses.
At 8:30 the pack of runners surged into the parking lot and it was mass chaos getting on the buses with some people at the end frantically trying to find a bus with empty seats. Fortunately I made it towards the front of the pack and got on the bus of my choice. The buses were supposed to be marked as "chatty" or "quiet" and in front of two buses there was a volunteer yelling out that they were "chatty" buses, but none of the other buses had signs or volunteers. In the end it didn't really matter. There were people talking on our bus, and I talked with my seat mate for a while, but then I still managed to get a decent nap in.
Now, there are only two highways that leave Las Vegas, so it should've been pretty easy for the bus drivers to get on the right one, yet half of the buses - mine included - took the wrong one and got lost. Our bus went about 5 miles up the wrong freeway before turning around and making it back on the right one. On top of that, our drive was very tentative and nervous and making that same mistake again, so every time there was a highway sign, the bus would noticeably slow for the drive to check the directions and compare it to the sign before speeding up until we hit the next sign.
The buses should have all reached the marathon/51k start line by 11pm, but ours didn't end up arriving until 11:30, and at least one other bus didn't arrive until at least 10 or so minutes later.
I was planning on napping for most of the two hour bus ride, but the bus ride made me nervous, even tho I knew that since they were organized by the race director that the races wouldn't start without us. Nonetheless, it took me at least 30-45 minutes before I was able to shake it off and actually nap. I ate one of my granola bars and then dozed for a little less than an hour. I was a little groggy when I woke up and didn't want to be groggy for the race, so even tho we were still a little ways from the marathon/51k start line, i decided to stop napping and try to get myself fully awake. To that, I ate my other granola bar and then one of my packs of m&m's and washed them down with some of my leftover Powerade.
When we got to the marathon/51k start line (approx 20 miles east of the finish line and the tiny town of Rachel, NV), there was already a ton of people already milling about. They handed everyone a green glow necklace when they got off the bus which they "encouraged" everyone to wear during the race (I ended up seeing a lot of them strewn about the race course).
The first thing I noticed when I stepped off the bus was the cool air! It was definitely right around or just under 70 degrees! I could definitely feel the chill in the air and almost felt cold! It had been 104 in Las Vegas when we left and it was warm on the bus the whole trip up, despite the a/c being on full blast.
The only lights were from the buses and cars dropping off runners and the halogen lights at the start line. There, in the dark, there were portapotties and tables with Heed and water and hundreds of runners lined up all wearing headlamps and glow necklaces and costumes and various glowing objects. It was a sight to see! I skipped the portapottie and used the desert under the cover of darkness (a common sight, actually), grabbed a couple cups of water and Heed to get myself re-hydrated, and got a few faint pictures of the crowd with my cellphone camera.
Then, just before midnight, they herded all the 10kers and half marathoners back onto the buses. The 10kers were bused to town for an out-and-back run. At 12:10 am (Yes, A.M.!) they started the marathon and 51k. About 5 minutes later, the half marathon buses pulled out and slowly passed the line of marathon/51k runners before leaving them behind and dropping us off at the half marathon start line approx 7 miles west of the marathon start line. On the way I finished off my Powerade. It didn't feel quite as cold when we stepped off the bus this time. We milled about for 15 minutes (using the darkness for a final pre-race nervous pee - was funny looking at the line of glow necklaces of the runners along the berm along the highway all relieving themselves before the race) before they gathered everybody together for a race photo before the countdown to the start time began...
I was wearing my white racing shirt, silver shorts, my sweatband, a headlamp (required!), my glow necklace (strongly encouraged!), and my Camelbak which was packed with extra batteries, chapstick, my id, and pack of m&m's. My shorts didn't have pockets, and the pocket on the camelbak is on the very back, so I wasn't sure how I was going to reach the m&m's without stopping to walk and taking my Camelbak off. I decided I would wait and see if I needed them since I didn't want to carry them the whole way!
Then the countdown hit zero at 12:40pm... and we were off! A few seconds before the zero I started the GPS and imapmyrun on my cellphone (which got GPS reception, but no cell reception - after all, we were in the middle of nowhere) and then hit my watch as the race director shouted, "go!" It took me approx 20 seconds to reach the start line. The race was chip timed at the finish, but not at the start line, and the start line was not well marked, so I wasn't completely sure when I crossed the start line. I just guessed and hit the split button on my watch.
I ended up starting in the middle of the pack and it was much too slow for my liking. At first, everyone ran all over the road before the race director drove by and announced over their loudspeaker for everyone to stay on the south side of the road facing oncoming traffic. There was maybe 6 inches of pavement between the painted stripe on and the edge of the pavement, so it was next to impossible to not run on the highway without running in the dirt/gravel on the shoulder. I tried to pass people on the highway, but it was a mish-mash of speeds and people running together, so I ended up on the dirt shoulder for quite a ways until I got past most of the slower runners and the line started to stretch and thin out.
The first 6 miles of the race was an 800 foot climb. There was a poster with an FAQ inside the room during pre-race expo and one of the questions was "Are there any hills?" The answer was "Yes, just ONE! ;)" Gotta love running humor. Anyway, leading up to the race, I wasn't sure exactly how that hill would look, but being there I was VERY happy to see that it was a VERY gradually climb. I was ecstatic! The first couple miles seemed nearly flat with just a slight uphill. It was almost exactly the same grade as the slight uphills I run on near my house for most of my training runs. I thought to myself "I've got this!" I knew that hill gradually increased in grade closer to the summit, but since I could see the top of the hill off in the distance (it was a full moon, after all), I knew it couldn't get too much worse.
There had been storms that through during the day, so the mile markers for the first three miles had been blown down. I wasn't sure if they were for our race or the marathon/51k, so I didn't hit my watch for the first mile, but still glanced to see what my time was. It showed 10:26 which was a minute slower than what I wanted to be running, but with the slow runners at the beginning of the race, I wasn't really the surprised or concerned. I tried to speed up a little, but I knew I had sped up while passing the slower running, so I didn't want to speed up too much.
One of the hired ambulances drove along side the lead runners for the race and as I passed runners and continued on to the second mile I could see that it wasn't getting that far ahead of me. Many thoughts ran through my head. I couldn't be running THAT fast, could I? Maybe the best runners in this race just aren't all that fast? I took a chance and hit my watch at the first blown over sign at what I figured was the second mile mark. It said 19 minutes and something seconds, so I knew I had sped up from mile 1, so I was happy. I kept focusing on the next runner ahead of me, reeling them in, and then doing the same with the next runner and the next runner.
Not many runners were passing me and most of the ones that did, I caught further up the road either when they slowed down, or walked, or at the aid stations. I never had to stop at the aid stations since I had my Camelback. I felt REALLY good. In fact, I felt so good that I was nearly giddy. Could I run a PR in this race? Would I shatter my race PR? I was positively optimistic and already counting my chickens, so-to-speak.
Well, I wasn't feeling THAT great. The back of my right knee was a little sore from the uphill, but it never got that bad and I managed to ignore it. I was trying to drink from my Camelbak at every mile marker as I did during my training. However, I got a little too nervous about my hydration (since I didn't drink anything from 8pm until 11pm to make sure I didn't have to pee on the bus so I could nap) and drank a little too much and started to get a cramp a little after mile 3. I did some deep rhythmic double-breathing up most of the rest of the hill and I helped keep the cramp and bay and helped give me a good tempo to run with. I think it may actually have helped me regulate my oxygen intake better than usual, too.
Miles 4 through 6 were supposed to be the steepest of the hill and they were, but they weren't as steep as some highway overpasses I've run over. I kept pushing myself to try and keep or increase my speed. Starting at mile 4, the mile posts were all upright and thankfully I saw that the first post in the next group of signs was the one for the half marathon. I dutifully kept hitting the split button on my watch, but I didn't look down to see what my splits were. I didn't want to see them because I knew I would be running slower on the uphill and would then pick up speed for the 7 mile downhill.
When we neared the top of the hill, I looked back down and saw the line of headlamps and glow necklaces down the highway which was an AWESOME sight. I tried to take a couple photos with my cellphone camera, but they didn't turn out very well. Still, it was awesome to look at. I used the last mile to increase my speed with the motivation that the last stretch was the last hill before the finish.
There was an aid station at the top of the hill and after I passed it I wondered where the 6 mile marker was since it was supposed to be at the top. I never saw it and looked at my watch and it said 12:26 (or something there-about) and went ahead and hit the split button. That was annoying. I hoped I hadn't really been running that slow, but figured it was because I missed the mile sign.
As I hit the downhill, I lengthened my stride and told myself that it was all downhill from here. It was a great feeling. As I progressed down the hill, the weather was definitely a little cooler on this side. After all that work going uphill, the cooler air was a nice change. I had topped the hill with plenty of energy left and was running what I felt was a good pace. But that's when things went weird.
People started to pass me on the down hill. I knew I was running faster than I had been on the uphill. I wasn't sure why people were passing me and why they were passing me so fast! Surely they were all running too fast and would burn out since there were still SEVEN miles left to the finish. I still caught up to and passed a few runners, but it was the opposite of the uphill. More people were passing me than the number of people I was passing.
I hit my watch at the 7 mile mark, but when I looked at my time, it over 20 minutes. I was really confused. Did I hit stop instead of split the last time? I wasn't sure. When I hit it again at mile 8 it was still in the 20's. This time I KNEW hit the right button. Was my watch malfunctioning? Great, now I will have no idea what my time is. I decided it didn't matter. I told myself there was only 5 miles left and that was essential just one of my usual tempo training runs. I've got this.
Finally, when I hit the 9 mile mark, my watch showed an accurate time. However, it was 9:49! Crap! No wonder I'm being passed! I should be running no slower than 9:30 for my downhill miles - preferably closer to 9 flat. Ugh! And I only have 4 miles left to make up that time! That also would explain why I felt so great. I figured from experience that I should be starting to get tired and also getting sore knees around the 9-10 mile markers, but instead I felt like I still had plenty of energy and no soreness.
Well, right at that point I was bound and determined to make up for lost time. Over and over in my head I could hear ABSOLUTEZERo saying, "Finish. Leave Nothing!" Anytime I felt the least bit tired or slow, I heard him again in my head and I kept up the pace and pushed myself faster.
I finished mile 10 in 8:55 and thought to myself, "that's more like it." I told myself there was only a 5k left. I can do this.
I finished mile 11 in 8:44. Very nice. Just 2 miles left. "Finish. Leave Nothing!"
Halfway through mile 12 the road hit a rise and a slight uphill. Nothing significant, but definitely different from the slight downhill I had been running. That was painful, but I pushed myself to catch up to the runner in front of me to try to keep my pace from dropping. I had to look at my watch to see just how far I was from the mile marker. I finally finished mile 12 and I had slowed to 9:26. But, this was the last mile, so it was time finish. "Finish. Leave Nothing!"
I could see the lights from the tiny town of Rachel, NV off in the distance. It was hard to tell just how far away it was in the darkness. I checked my watch and saw "4:30", so I knew it couldn't be too far way.
Finally, I saw a glorious sight. I saw runners up ahead turning left which I knew was the finishing straight and the last 200ft of the race! I kept slowing picking up the pace to try and catch the runners ahead of me. I was nervous they would try to sprint with me to the finish line and I was running out of energy, but that was the point. "Finish. Leave Nothing!"
Just before the left turn I turned on the jets and used every last bit of energy and blew past all 5 runners ahead of me. None of them even flinched as I blew past. I love that feeling of sprinting to the finish line at such a pace that the other runners can't even react before I'm gone.
As I came up (rather quickly) to the finish line, I saw the finishing clock showing the time for the 10k. It read "1:34:.." I was afraid this meant that I hadn't broken 2 hours, but I couldn't really process it all in that short amount of time. I was focused on finishing. As I crossed the line, the automatic camera went off, taking my picture which momentarily surprised me. Then I slowed, stopped my watch, and then stopped to get my timing chip taken off. Then the race volunteer put the medal over my head and around my neck instead of handing it to me which I thought was awesome and I thanked him.
I checked my watch and it said "1:57:..." I thought there was no way that I ran that fast, especially after the times I saw that I was running at mile 9. I HOPED that it was right, but I was pretty certain that my watch time was messed up. I knew that the 3 races were supposed to be started at 30 minute intervals, so that would mean that I would have finished my race in approximately 2 hours 4 minutes. That would beat my fastest race time by 2 minutes for a PR, however, it would still be almost 2 minutes slower than the time I ran in the gym two weeks before my race - granted, the run in the gym was perfectly flat with no watch malfunctions and the ability to super micromanage my pace with 5.5 laps per mile. But, I just wasn't sure. I would have to wait until the official times were posted to see, and wow, that was super frustrating. But, I didn't want that to affect my race experience. After all, I was here for the experience, not to PR. That would just be a side benefit. If anything, I knew that I had finished before any of the marathoners had finished and that was really one of my biggest goals.
As an interesting side note, this was the first race that I actually ran the entire way. During the Las Vegas RNR Half I had to stop to walk at almost every water station whether I wanted to or not. During the Summerlin half, I stopped to walk every time I grabbed a drink at an aid station since it's difficult to run and drink at the same time. Since I wore my Camelbak, this time, I never needed to stop, so I actually ran the entire race. Even when I looked back and tried to take a picture, I kept running backwards.
Anyway, at this point it was 2:45am and I had just finished my race. I finished off everything I had left in my Camelbak and then had a couple of Heed and a cup of water. I wasn't sure I was hungry, but I didn't care. I got in line at the Little A'Le'Inn (Alien) for the race breakfast buffet. I was at least going to see if I could eat. There was still a two hour plus drive back to town ahead of me, so I really needed to eat, regardless of how I felt. I grabbed three small pancakes and some syrup, 2 pieces of sausage, an apple, and a cup of orange juice.
When I went back outside, I was cold. I grabbed the jacket I had strategically placed in my pick-up bag and then sat down to eat. I was very happy I had thought ahead to bring my jacket and I ended up wearing it all the back into town and even back to the house!
The food wasn't spectacular, but it was still good and it definitely hit the spot. Once I finished eating, I wandered around for a bit and took a few pictures and sent my wife some text messages before deciding to get on the next bus and head back home. I got on the bus around 3:30-ish and after the bus filled up we headed back to Las Vegas. As we pulled away and headed back the way we came, we passed the rest of the runners on the road and it was a cool sight to see row of headlamps coming down the hill into town.
Once we passed all the runners, we sped up and I leaned back and fell asleep and napped on/off until we were just entering town. I was groggy and tried to wake myself up knowing that I was going to need to drive home from the hotel once they dropped us off.
On a final note, the guy sitting next to me on the bus must've either been a serious triathlete, or a little different from me, since he had his legs shaved. But hey, I'm not judging. Just commenting...
When I finally got home, my wife met me outside and gave me a big hug and told me how proud of me she was. That was a great ending to an amazing experience. I would like to say I then went inside and slept like a baby, but... My wife needed to get in her training run, so I watched our baby while she ran her 5 miles. Finally, at 10:45, I got in a nice 2 hour nap. I would've slept longer, but there were things to do as there always is...
Sunday night I checked the race website and our times were up. My official time was 2:04:22, gun time and chip time (since there was not starting mat at the start line). If I subtract the time my watch said it took for me to get to the start line (20 seconds), then I really ran approximately 2:04:02. That definitely beats my official previous half marathon race PR (2:06:37) by 2:25. Even without subtracting those 20 seconds, I still had a race PR by over 2 minutes.
So, I'm excited that I beat my race PR, but disappointed that I ran slower than I did in my fastest 13.1 mile training run (2:02:40), even though - as I said before - it was done inside the gym on a short track that was perfectly flat and allowed me to micromanage my time. It's funny how our minds work, some times.
The best part of this race, though, was being so close to the front runners for so long. It took the better part of 4 miles for the lead ambulance to finally turn the corner and out of sight. With a little better watch maintenance, I could've kept up a faster pace down the hill and then who knows what my final time would've been!
My ultimate goal is to run a half marathon under 2 hours. I know I can do it. During my fast training run I felt like I had enough speed and energy to do it. I just need to put it all together during a race. I know it will happen one of these days!
Official Gun Time: 2:04:22
Unofficial Adjusted Time: 2:04:02
Official Pace: 9:30/mile
Overall Place: 75/344
Age Group (30-39): 18/45
Lining up in the dark
Is that a ufo?
Some of the "wild life"
Line of buses
This way to food! And a UFO
Full Moon just before sunrise on the bus back to LV
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Technically, tomorrow is race day since it starts at 30 minutes after midnight, but that's beside the point.
3 out of the last 4 nights our daughter has woken up in the middle of the night screaming and then refused to fall back asleep for two hours.
Tuesday night she was up at 2 and we finally got her to sleep at 4, and I promptly skipped my morning run so I could at could sleep until 6:15 instead of 5. Skipping my run wasn't a problem since this was taper week, anyway.
Wednesday night she slept through the night, but I went to bed at 11 and woke up at 5 to get in a 3 mile run.
Thursday night/Friday morning she woke up at 4 and we never got her back to sleep for more than 5 or 10 minutes until it was time to get up. Needless to say, I was very tired all day Friday.
So, last night I was hoping she would sleep through the night because I was exhausted and my eyes hurt and I needed really wanted/needed a good night's sleep before my race since the race is just after midnight tonight. I managed to get to bed before 10 and hoped for a full night sleep until 6, but it was not to be.
She woke up at 1:45 and refused to fall back asleep unless she was being held, and would wake up if put down in her crib. Then, after holding her for 30 minutes, my wife tried to put her into her bed at around 3:30am and she suddenly puked all over her bed and my wife. I had to jump out of bed to my wife's frantic yells and my baby's screams and go clean up and make sure everything was okay.
She didn't have a fever and seemed otherwise okay. After cleaning the crib and changing the sheets and scrubbing the floor and my wife, she was obviously very tired. She didn't throw up again at all, but would wake up anytime we tried to put her in her crib, so my wife ended up holding her the rest of the night until 6:30 this morning.
We got up and bathed her and ate breakfast, then called her pediatrician and took her in to Quick Care. Fortunately it was pretty empty and we go her in quick. Didn't have any infections, tho the doc said her throat was irritated from some nasal drainage and she had gas which might have been the reason she was fussy and waking up and refusing to be laid down.
On the way back to the house we dropped off a prescription for an antibiotic for the drainage. She fell asleep on the way to the pharmacy, so my wife dropped me off at home and is currently driving around our napping baby and picking up her prescription. Hopefully she gets in a good 2 hour nap (she has only be getting 20-30 minutes, twice a day thanks to whatever the problem is). Hopefully I have to time get myself a nap because I am also exhausted and would like to be at least somewhat rested come race time, tonight.
I'm hoping the rest of the day goes a lot smoother. I'm getting all my clothes and gear out and ready to go. We're required to wear reflective clothes and a headlamp. I've got a great pair of silver reflective shorts, but unfortunately they don't have any pockets and I would really like a pocket to carry my m&m's in. I may have to cobble something together so I don't have to either carry the bag the whole way, or stop and open the tiny pocket in the back of my camelbak every time I want an m&m. I don't have a fanny pack since I haven't owned one since the 80's.
Another thing. It's raining. Well, it's raining in the city, here. But, the storms are not quite reaching far enough north to hit the race course. But, it's definitely cooling things off in the city. It's only 90 when it has been in the low-mid 100's. The forecast temp for the race course (further north and higher altitude and at midnight) is 70 at the start and 60's at the finish. This rain could knock those temps down a little bit, but might not if it doesn't reach the course. Either way, I'm definitely putting a jacket in my post-race dry clothes bag!
Anyway, I've got some consulting work I have to get done, today. That may keep my mind sufficiently occupied until it's time to leave to pick up my packet and catch the bus to the start line. I'm praying this all goes smoothly because once I'm on the bus, there's no turning back!
My next update should some time Sunday morning/afternoon!
Thursday, August 11, 2011
As I have mentioned a time or two, my wife is training for the Las Vegas RNR Half Marathon in Dec (it's her turn since I ran it last year). At the same time, I am continuing to train for half marathons that I have already signed up for, and some future races I am hoping to train for. With our daughter being only 14 months old and still nursing and taking two naps a day, our schedules are pretty hectic.
I run first thing in the morning (4:45am) before I head off to work (I leave at 7:30am). My wife is trying to get all her workouts in by running at the gym at noon or in the evening, but that has been very difficult because of the summer heat, and trying to fit her trips to the gym in between our daughter’s naps and trips to the park, the grocery store, etc, etc. Between all her errands and the naps (especially the ones where she doesn’t want to fall asleep), my wife usually ends up running only 2, maybe 3 times a week; and gets to run the full 4 times only when we’re lucky (which has been rare).
So, my wife asked me last night if we could work out some sort of compromise that would allow her to run in the mornings so she can get in her full 4 days of running. After some discussion, we agreed that following my race this weekend we will work out our schedules so that until her race she will be able to run 4 days a week and I will reduce my running to 3 days a week.
I have to admit that I have already been thinking about the possibility of changing my running to 3 days a week to give myself an extra day of sleep and also to try to fit in some more strength training (but mostly the sleep). I am currently running between 20 and 30 miles per week and I don't want to lose my training after this race because I would like to train to run two halves in April of next year - on consecutive days - and possibly a marathon in March. So, if anything, I will also need to increase my mileage and still manage to make it to work on time! The hard part will be running any further than 5 miles, since I already have to get up at 4:45am. I will either need to get up earlier, or run faster! I would run twice a day, but I don’t have the time. If I did then we wouldn’t be having this problem in the first place.
I currently run 5 miles Mon, 3 miles Wed, 5 miles Thurs, 10+ on Sun.
If I run only 3 miles a week, I'm thinking I may need to up my 5 mile days to 6 miles, which will be difficult, but doable.
I think - at least in the short term - it will be a good thing because I could really use an extra day of more sleep and, if there's anything that could potentially derail my training at this point, it's lack of sleep. I just need to make sure I get in enough miles in. And since I have the luxury of time between now and the races I want to run, I should be able to switch back to 4 days a week in December if training 3 days a week for my races in March/April isn’t going to cut it. Running back-to-back days will definitely require some extra training to make sure my body can handle it and running 3 days a week may or may not be the best way to handle it.
Suggestions? Comments? Questions? Thanks!
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
So, my race is this weekend and I have already begun the process of psyching myself out.
No, that is not a typo. I am psyching myself out, not up.
This is, unfortunately, something I tend to do to myself too often. I did it when I was in high school and I'm doing it again, now.
Here's what happens. I train and train and train. I feel confident. I feel great. I feel excited. I am a world-beater and the race will be fun and I will do great and I will PR. Then, shortly before the race, I begin to worry not about the race itself, but about all the scheduling issues and things. Once I build those up from a molehill to a mountain, then I begin to erode my confidence in the race, too. Then I begin to freak out - internally. You would never know from observing or interacting with me that this internal battle is going on.
Usually I catch myself before the runaway track jumps the track, or someone grabs me and shakes me silly and says "get ahold of yourself!" But there are other times when I am not caught and the train jumps the track. Like the one race in high school where my teammates egged on my fears of the hills and I ran crying to my coach that I didn't want to run. Fortunately, we had great coaches and he told my teammates to stop freaking me out and that it would be fine and I should just take it easy and go out there and run my own race and it would all be okay. And you know what? It was. I had driven myself crazy for no reason.
So, this blog is me trying to catch myself.
I've known the details of this race for months. I've known that I will be taking a 2 hour bus ride to get to the race site. I've that I have to bring my own water. I've trained with my camelbak and run with my headlamp on. I've known that the race involves an 800 foot rise over the first 6 miles. I've tried to add it some hill work, but haven't managed to get much in, other than some hiking and some runs on less than steep roads around my house, but even then, I did pretty good on the hills in my last half.
Yet, I'm starting to psych myself out with fears of missing the bus, or being over-hydrated before the bus ride and ending up in line for the bathroom in the bus and not being able to nap, or having to use the bathroom and missing the bus from the marathon start line to the half marathon start line, or having to stop during the race to pee... And I don't know why my biggest fear of this whole racing endeavor involves having to use the bathroom on a bus, or a port-a-potty at the start line, or having to stop to pee while running! What is wrong with me!
Once those fears got in my head, I started to break down my confidence in myself for the actual race. I'm worried that I'll repeat the mistakes of my first 5k when I tried to push myself hard uphill in the first half of the race and then had dead legs for the downhill back to the finish. I remember begin exhausted for the last two miles of my last half which was all uphill from the 7 mile mark and worrying that if I burned out in the first half of this race, I would end up not being able to take advantage of the 7 mile downhill in the second half.
I've been managing my weight pretty well for the last month, but suddenly I'm worried that I may not be eating enough to be adequately fueled for my race. Since I'm tapering, I'm not running as much and thinking I should eat a little less to compensate, but then if I eat less during the week, I worry that I won't have enough fuel for my race. But, if I continue to eat as usual, then I'll gain a couple pounds and ruin what I've worked so well on for the past month - especially when I'll be taking a week or so break after the race to recover.
Yesterday I ate a whole small package of cookies and all our leftover spaghetti from Friday, but fortunately I compensated by not eating the rest of the lunch I brought. However, my aunt and her sister were visiting and my wife asked me to pick up some muffins for them for breakfast and I bought myself a couple bottles of Powerade for my race (which is reasonable), but also bought a package of peanut butter m&m's on the pretext that I would use them during my race, but then I proceeded to devour them during the 5 minute drive home from the store.
So, I'm trying to stop psyching myself out and start psyching myself back up (yes, up, not out).
I can do this. I'm prepared. The race will be a LOT of fun, regardless of whether I PR or not. I can do the hills. The downhill finish will be enjoyable. A bag of plain M&M's in my pocket will work out great for keeping my energy up. I'll have my camelbak. It won't slow me down during the race. There will be port-a-potties and darkness. I've done this before. I will do great. I will have fun. It will be exciting and enjoyable. It will. It will. It will!
And I will make it happen.
Get An Email Alert Each Time TYKXBOY Posts