Sunday, October 31, 2010

First Half Marathon - Race Report

This blog entry will probably be really boring unless you like reading about pacing and heart rate. I'm just writing it as a training record.

I did the on sort of a Silicon Valley Half Marathon on a whim this morning. I signed up for the expo last night. I'd been thinking about doing it as a training run for the marathon I'm doing in December, but I've been sick for over a week. I still have a cough and ear infection, but my doctor thought it would be OK for me to do this race.

In a way, my race started yesterday. I swam for an hour, and since I actually wanted to do the Half Marathon in a somewhat fatigued state, I ran 6 miles. I got to the race a half an hour early, and tried to get in as much running as I could beforehand, although I have no idea how much.

My first two miles were pretty slow. I didn't see the first mile marker, but at the second mile marker I was at 20 minutes. I was holding back a bit, hoping the crowd would thin out some, not wanting to race around people and tire myself out. Since the crowd remained thick at 2 miles, I decided I'd just have to try to get around people. After that, I averaged about 9 minute 15 second miles, trying to keep my hear rate at around 85% of my H.R. max. Some of my miles were a bit slower than that, I think, maybe more like 9.5 minute miles. For the last 3.1 miles, I decided to just go hard and forget about the monitor. That got me up to around 9 minute miles.

I kinda wanted to average 9 minute miles for the whole race, but didn't want to push it when I couldn't do it without going over 85% of my H.R. Max.

I think I did a pretty good job fueling. I didn't eat a big breakfast, just two pieces of toast with honey and almond butter, and some lemon honey tea. I ate 3 Gu's throughout the course, and drank water at almost every aid station. For once, I didn't feel my stomach hurt every time I gulped down a glass of water. I ate pretty bland foods the last couple days, so that might have helped a little.

All in all, I'm happy that I finished and had a decent pace. 2:03:15, or 9:24 per mile isn't terrible, considering a year ago my 10K pace was significantly slower than that. I mostly wanted to do this race so I would have some idea how to pace myself for a full marathon. Since I was sick, I kind of wonder if I might be able to go a little faster than these results suggest, but maybe it didn't slow me down too much.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I'm sick so:

- I've been letting my baby watch too much TV
- I've been using paper plates, so there are less dishes
- I've been letting my CSA box go bad in my fridge, and eating frozen foods and takeout
- My house is a mess (but when isn't it?)
- I ran 6 miles today instead of the 10 I was supposed to

Saturday, October 23, 2010

OK, I'm Not Quitting

I think I've figured out a way I can still train for the marathon. I've been doing my long runs during the week so that it doesn't interfere with precious weekend time. I'll just do them on the weekends instead. There is one day a week that the childcare Rory goes to is not crowded, which was my concern about it, so I'll just take him there that day sand get in my speed work. It's the day I usually swim, but maybe I can swim in the evening instead. And I figure I can handle at least one day a week skipping my nap while Rory naps in the stroller while I jog, so that should be one more day. That might do it, and I'll try to cross train when I get a chance, too. I only have two more long runs on my schedule anyway, I may as well finish what I started.

Just had a really, really bad day on Thursday. I knew I needed to take some time to think about it, and I have. I think it will work out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Man Cold

I have a cold. So does Raybon. He stayed home from work on Wednesday. I'm still pretty sick, but he is on the mend. I went to Urgent Care yesterday because I also have an ear infection, and told them I might have the flu, because my husband was really sick, like he had the flu, but if I were to go by how I felt, I would just say I had a cold. My theory (actually originally Raybon's) is that my flu was milder than his because I had a flu shot. The Physician's Assistant who cared for me told me to search for "Man Cold" on YouTube. I thought the video was hilarious. Raybon not so much.

I made homemade soup for us, even though I was also sick. I figured he must be much more sick than me. I like cooking anyways, homemade soup is better than canned stuff, and there were some chicken breasts in the fridge that needed cooking up. I figured I'd need to be up until Rory napped after lunch anyhow.

I don't think Rory is sick. He's coughed a few times and is sleeping a little bit more, but he is very happy. Maybe he has a cold, too, but a baby cold is the opposite of a "man cold"? Rory is such a trouper. He has either never been really sick, or he is just such a happy baby he barely notices.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I'm a Quitter

I'm thinking of quitting my marathon training and just doing a half.  I'm no longer happy with the childcare that Rory is receiving during the time I take to train.  Maybe I'll think of some other solution...  I'm going to sleep on it.

OK, no matter what, I'm not a quitter.  I just have to think of my son first.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Low Self Esteem or Low Blood Sugar?

I read Runner's World Magazine in my bathroom.  Raybon subscribes to it.  I really like the magazine.  I preferred it to swimming magazines even when I was primarily a swimmer, because it always had answers to questions I wondered about, like nutrition, pacing, injury prevention, race prep, etc.  I'm not sure why there isn't an equivalent publication for swimmers.  Are there too few of us?  Maybe there is one, and I just haven't heard of it?

I read something that I found interesting in an article in Sept 2010's edition called Weird Science, which had questions and scientific answers to lots of questions about running.  The last question was:

20 At the end of a long run or race, why do I question the meaning of life?
I had a client who told me at the end of a marathon, she could see the Virgin Mary," says Manuel Villacorta, M.S., R.D. "She felt like she was dying." One of the prominent symptoms of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is angry, depressing thoughts. When your body isn't receiving the glucose it needs to perform, your brain, the air-traffic controller of your body, springs into action, sending messages—Why are you out here anyway, stupid? —for it to shut down and self-preserve.
Running Rx The day before a long run, eat three nutritionally sound meals and make sure your body's fuel tank is topped off before you head out. During the run, take in about 30 grams of carbs every 30 to 40 minutes. Before you head out, line up your answers to the inevitable questions (or at least draw up your will).

I found this kind of funny.  I question, "Why am I doing this?" pretty frequently when racing and training.  I thought it had to do with not having a strong sense of purpose.  There is a pretty good chance that it is just low blood sugar.  I've been a lot better at fueling since I had Rory, since I can't take care of a him in a bonked state.  Maybe I should try swimming across Lake Tahoe again and just making sure I fuel properly the whole way.  (Oh wait, they don't allow solo entries anymore.)  Maybe another 70.3 race?  I think I did Hawaii 70.3 on half a bottle of Perpetuem and one bag of Clif Shot Blocks.

Wonder why I never made fueling a priority before...  It's one of those funny things that I've learned to take care of myself better for Rory, but never did it for myself.  I'm worth it, too, right?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rory and Me

I just like this picture. We're at a pumpkin farm, where they had a train and lots of other fun stuff.  Rory had a blast.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

What Does an Athlete Look Like?

When I was picking up my packet for the Flip Flop Tri, my UPS guy was one of the volunteers giving out timing chips.  He asked me if I was doing the whole thing.  I told him, yes.  He asked me if it was my first time doing it.  I said, no, I did it last year.  He was very surprised.  I didn't recognize him, and I think he could tell, so he told me who he was.  I told him I didn't recognize him without his truck.

A couple days after doing the race, I was doing a recovery run down my street and saw him.  He stopped his truck to talk to me.  He asked me how the race went.  I told him I went half an hour faster than last year.  He then guessed that I did it in 3 and a half hours.  I told him I did it in almost 3.  He was very surprised.

I wasn't really annoyed by this, but a little puzzled.  I get this all the time, though.  Even though I run at least 3 days a week down my street, and was once seen frequently leaving the house early in the morning in a swimming parka, my neighbors are always surprised that I am an athlete.  Even people I've told that I am a triathlete forget it the next time I talk to them, and seem reluctant to believe me if I mention it again.  My next door neighbor would see my bike in my husband's car, and assume it was his.  No matter how many times I've told her he doesn't own a road bike, and that I do, she can never get this straight in her head.

One would guess it has to do with my weight, but I'm not overweight anymore.  I don't look like Desiree Ficker by any means, but I'm not fat.  I wonder if it is more my shy personality?  I remember right after I graduated from college, I probably weighed about the same as I do now.  One of my coworker's was incredulous that I enjoyed boogie boarding, and assumed that I only went because my boyfriend (now husband) liked it.  Really, it was the other way around. You don't have to even be thin or in good shape to boogie board.  So I don't think it is my body type that makes people think I'm either a bookworm or couch potato.

It's funny, though.  I do have an idea in my head of what an athlete looks like.  Maybe, I don't really look like one.  There's a couple of women that go to "Story Time" at the library that Rory and I go to.  I found out this week that they were both triathletes.  I figured they were both runners before I talked to them, because they really do look like they are.  They are both tall, thin, and muscular looking.  They also just kind of have that "look" in their eyes.  I guess I'm not as tall or thin or muscular as them.  No matter how thin I've been, I've always been kind of "soft", with enough padding to not have shiny, popping muscles. Am I missing the look in my eyes, too?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

First Post-Rory M.M. Workout

I went to my first M.M. workout since I went on maternity leave.  I was happy to see my coaches and everyone else there.  I asked Coach R. what lane I should get in, based on how fast I swam the Flip Flop Tri swim leg.  I got in that lane, let the person in front of me go for at least 10 seconds, and caught her in about a lap.  So I moved up a lane.  I found I was too fast for that lane, too.  So I moved up another lane.  That lane seemed to work pretty well.  It was a lane I swam in pretty frequently when I first started with M.M.  I swam behind someone I used to swim about the same speed as, left 10 seconds behind her and kept up just fine.  Phew!!! I guess I had a bad swim at the Flip Flop Tri.  I didn't swim on anything like the kind of interval I used to swim at, but somehow swimming in a lane Io once swam in with familiar people made me feel like myself again.  Maybe I will get back into shape someday afterall.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Before and After

This picture is of me on the run of the Flip Flop Triathlon in 2009.  Rory was 4 months old, and I could have raced in the "Athena" category, for heavier women athletes.   I look surprised in this photo, because I am in the middle of realizing that I forgot to put on my race number in transition.  Glad they didn't DQ me!
This photo is me on the run this year.  Can you tell I lost 20 pounds?  I'm wearing almost the exact same outfit, except for a couple of key things.  I did remember my race number, because I put it on before the swim, rather than putting it on after the bike like  I planned to before.  And, um, I'm wearing bike gloves.  Yup.  I tried stuffing them in my shorts when I realized they were still on, but they slipped and were uncomfortable.  I ended up leaving them on the course, figuring I could go back and get them, but they weren't there when I went back for them.

I usually think that the 20 pounds lost are pretty noticeable, but these two pictures don't seem to highlight it all that well, IMHO.  20 pounds lighter and 12 months later, I'm still manage to look like a dork in my race photos though.  Ha ha.