Sunday, December 12, 2010

New Running Shoes

I got a new pair of running shoes today. My old ones were over a year old. I'd read in the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall that people were actually less likely to get injured in old shoes than new ones. But I noticed, about a week before my marathon that the tread on the bottom of my shoes was gone in a lot of places, and parts of the outsole were completely worn off. This caused a mild amount of panic in me. How could I run a marathon in such worn out shoes?

Anyways, I'm pretty excited about my new shoes. They are a pair of Saucony Kinvaras. My old ones were Saucony Guides. The new ones are about half as heavy as my old shoes, kinda going along with minimalist running shoe trend. I hope they work out. I've been a little less excited about running since my marathon, but I am looking forward to trying out these new ones.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

CIM 2010 - Race Report

I woke up at 4:30 Sunday morning.  Actually, I had been laying in bed for a while, waiting for the alarm from my phone to tell me to get up.  It's funny waking up early race morning, wondering what you're going to do to pass the time before the race.  It always goes by some fast. I ate a banana and an almond butter and honey sandwich, and drank some lemon honey tea.  I got dressed in my running clothes and put my warm clothes on top of them.

I said goodbye to Raybon and Rory.  I somewhat ominously, but only half seriously, worried if I might die of a heart attack in the middle or the race, and wondered if this might be the last time I saw them.  During my last two speed sessions, my heart started racing as soon as I started my last mile repeat, jumping up above 200, and not settling down until I sat down for a long time and drank some water.  I promised Raybon that I would drop out of the race if I thought I was going to die.  I didn't really explain what I meant, but what I meant was I would stop if during the marathon my heart raced like in training.

I got all the way down the hall on the way to the elevator, when I realized I forgot my sunglasses.  I went back to get them, and hastily made my way back to the elevator.

When I got to the hotel lobby, there was already a long line for the bus.  I got there just a little before 5:15, when the bus was supposed to leave.   The bus wasn't there yet.  I had time to run to the bathroom, and chat with some other marathoners.  We all stood in line.  Shouldn't we have been sitting?  I guess if we knew how long we had to wait, maybe we all would have.  I took my fleece hat off, because I was getting hot waiting in the lobby.

I was nervous, but not really as nervous as I have been before other races, like Trans Tahoe Solo, or Hawaii 70.3.   I'm more experienced now, and my baby Rory has given my life more meaning, so races don't mean everything to me.

When the bus finally came, I climbed on.  There were no seats left for me or anyone else in back of me.  If I hadn't gone back for my sunglasses, I would probably have gotten on the first bus.   Argh.   As it was, I had to wait even longer for another bus to come.  This bus got lost on the way to the starting line, and was the last bus to arrive at the start, with only 24 minutes to spare.  No time to warmup.

I rushed with the person I sat on the bus with, Reesa, to the port-a-potty lines.  She told me a friend said to go all the way to the end of the row of port-a-potty's rather than waiting in the long lines.  We did this, and found a line with only one person in it.  We then dropped off our sweats, and headed to find pace teams.  We had discovered that we were about the same speed based off our half marathon times, but she went to the 4:00 pace team, and I went in somewhere between the 4:15 and 4:30 pace team.  I hadn't really planned on staying with a pace leader, I just wanted to sort of know where to line up in the mass of people behind the starting   line.  I had written on my hand target heart rates I wanted to fall in during different parts of the race, based on some online calculator I'd found.  Under 170 for the first 4-5 miles, 170-180 for most of the race, and 180-190 for the end of the race.  Those might sound kind of high, but I have a really high H.R. Max. If I couldn't stay within those ranges and keep with a pace leader, I'd just give up and go it on my own.

I went a pretty conservative pace, partially because I hadn't really warmed up, but also because I wanted to to keep my heart rate under 170.  My first mile 3 miles were all around 10:20, almost a minute slower than my average pace at the Silicon Valley Half Marathon on Halloween. I was a little surprised at how slow I had to run to keep my heart rate down, but it actually isn't that unusual for my heart rate to shoot up at the beginning of a run. It usually takes only about 10 minutes to settle down, but this never happened.

The first aid station, at mile 2, had run out of cups for water by the time I got there.  This made me nervous.  I had depended on getting water at the aid stations, not having brought any with me.  It also left me wondering whether I should keep to my schedule of taking one Gu per half an hour, with no water to go with it.  I had already taken a Gu 15 minutes before the start without drinking enough water.

In my fourth mile, my heart rate shot up to 211, and my average heart rate was 195.  I slowed down and walked, doing a 13 minute mile for my 5th mile.  This ended up being my average for the race.

I tried to get water at the second aid station, and took what I thought was a cup of water, only to find it was the sports drink, Ultima, supplied by the race.  This is thought by many to be a totally bogus sports drink, because it supplies electrolytes, but very few calories needed for the an endurance event.  I can't remember when I finally found an aid station with water, but when  did, I selfishly gulped down 3 cups.  I thought later that this might have been rude.  What if I caused them to run out of cups for people in back of me? After that, even at aid stations where they had tiny Dixie cups, I only took one.  Of course, drinking 3 cups of water at this aid station, I had to pee.

This was my first experience with a race port-a-potty.  I found one without a line after holding it for a long time.  There were four, which were all occupied, and I was impatient that the people inside seemed to take forever.  When one door finally opened, I kinda wished more people took their time.  It was a mess.  Yuck.  Also, I kinda learned that when I run for a long time with a full bladder, somehow the muscles I need to squeeze out pee quickly get tired, and it took me a while to empty my bladder.

I finally got back on the road.  I had hoped to maybe pick it up after the half marathon mark, and did for a while, but my heart rate jumped up again.  And when I slowed down this time, I went even slower.  I got a little discouraged by having aid station after aid station run out of cups before I got there.  I finally picked a cup up off the ground and carried it with me.  Ironically, every aid station after I did this, around mile 19 or so, had cups of water.

There were lots of times I thought about dropping out of the race.  Racing was tough in some ways. Despite my somewhat easy pace, my legs did hurt more than usual when racing. I cried out in pain more than once, when I landed funny and my knee or hip hurt. Maybe the lack of adrenaline made it harder not to feel the pain. I had also likely overtrained, and I was suffering from IT band problems. I remembered what I had told Raybon that morning, but I didn't feel like I was dying, despite my fast heart rate.  I decided just to mitigate it by going slow and taking every opportunity I got to hydrate.  There was part of me that was so embarrassed by my pace.  But I remembered my real goal was just to finish the marathon, not to meet a time goal.  

I used to look down on people who dropped out of races, just because they couldn't do as well as they wanted to, due to mechanical failure or their bodies not cooperating.  I felt like this was disrespectful to all the people who tried their hardest just to finish the race.  I believe you should give every race the best effort you are capable of on race day.  I realize now that I'm in no place to criticize people whose race goals are different than this, to whom winning IS everything.  It can't be my goal, since I'm not fast. But I also can't really hold them up as heroes, either.  I just can't relate.

I wasn't coached for this race, and I trained by myself.  I downloaded a training program and didn't seek advice from almost anyone really on how to run it.  But I did draw on inspiration from my Coach Tim in completing this race.  I thought about him running 12 minute miles in Boston a few years ago, due to leg cramps.  He's a great triathlete, who at age 47 won the amateur race at the competitive Vineman 70.3.  He could have dropped out, but stuck to what I heard he's told other athletes, to give the best race you can given what your body and the race conditions hand you that day.

I was lucky to meet some encouraging people on the race course. One person in particular helped me when I asked her what the race cutoff time was. She told me 6 hours, and that we would make it just fine. I told her I was slowing down, and she told me to keep going. I think being surrounded by other kind people at the back of the pack made me proud to be one of them, someone who just was out to finish the significant goal of completing a marathon.

With about half a mile to go, I saw Raybon and Rory. I was really happy and surprised to see them. I gave Rory a kiss and finished the race.

When I crossed the finish line in 5:41, I couldn't believe how hard it was to keep walking. One of the aid station volunteers asked me over and over again if I was OK. I was kinda staggering and limping. I found Raybon and Rory at the steps of the Capitol Building. We walked 6 blocks to a Starbucks near where our car was parked, and then made our long 3 hour drive home. We hit an In–N–Out drive through on the way back. I ate 3 hamburgers and a basket of fries. Rory was asleep, so we ate in the car.

I couldn't imagine getting any more stiff than I was right after the race. But it was really all I could do to stagger up the 10 steps up to the house and raise my legs up high enough to get over the bathtub walls to get in the shower. I moaned and groaned loudly. I used my arms to brace myself when I took steps. I thought of the Bride from Kill Bill, willing her body to move after being in a coma for years. 3 days later, I'm feeling pretty normal, apart from some mildly tight quads.

I'm dedicating this race to the memory of my Grandma Koto. At her funeral, people talked about how no matter what the circumstances of her life, my grandmother always thought of herself as lucky. She had no bitterness whatsoever about being put in a Japanese relocation camp in World War II. When she moved from her large beautiful home to a smaller room in a retirement home towards the end of her life, she made all of her caregivers her family and blessed everyone around her with her happy spirit. I hope someday I can bring as much joy to people as she did.

I feel really lucky that I was able to do this race and finish it, even if it didn't go exactly as planned. I met my goal, and finishing was a joy. It was also a great learning experience. It might seem unlucky that the aid stations ran out of water and the bus got me to the start so late, but I think in the end the people who are lucky are the ones who count themselves as lucky. I am blessed in so many ways in my life. I don't know why circumstances went the way they did for me, but I trust that God knows the plan even when I do not. I hope I get a chance to do another marathon someday.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

CIM 2010 continued

I'm blogging from Raybon's phone.  I couldn't fit anything more into my last post using this OS.

All in all, I'm happy.  I finished a marathon.  My pace wasn't what I expected, but I didn't have a goal time really.  I had a few other good races this season where I P.R.'d, so I'm happy with my progress.  Maybe I could have done even better if one of them was a focus event instead of a training event for the marathon.  Who knows?  Lots more to learn about how I train best and race.

CIM 2010

I finished my first marathon today.  Yay!

My goal was to finish, so I am pretty happy about that.

I didn't go as fast as I thought I would.  I predicted it would take me about 4:20, based on my half marathon and Alcatraz Challenge pace.  I used those paces with a few online calculators that were significantly more conservative than the Jeff Galloway calculator I blogged about in July.
 I went 5:41:26.

I got to the starting line 26 minutes before the start.  The bus the race provided from my hotel was late getting there, and then got lost.  I had no time to do anything more than use the  port-a-potty and drop off my stuff at the sweat check truck.  I didn't get to warmup, despite getting up at 4:30 in the morning and sleeping at one of the local race hotels.

My race was bad from the beginning.  Despite maintaining a conservative pace, after a couple miles my H.R was over 200.  I thought about dropping out of the race.

Maybe I was dehydrated?  I tried to drink enough water before the race.  But I got hot sitting and standing in the lobby and hot bus. And most of the aid stations were out of cups for water by the time I got to them.

I had to walk a lot and run slowly to keep my heart rate down.  I thought about dropping out, thinking if something waa wrong with my heart, it might not be safe to run.  I decided instead to drink water at aid stations where it was available, and run slowly.

There were some times I was sad and wanted to cry, but that mostly at the thiught of not finishing.  But otherwise I actually had a pleasant race. My intensity was low, so I had a little more energy to smile than usual.  My legs did hurt a bit, too.  I woke up stiff this morning, and hoped I'd loosen up_ but that never happened.  But mostly I felt cheerful, and enjoyed the race energy and company of the rest of the 13 minute milers.

I'm a little frustrated about not getting enough water and not getting time to warm up.  If you spend a lot of money on a race and commit to training you expect a bit better organization.  Enough water for all racers at minimum.  My next marathon, I'll definitely bring at least one water bottle, to drink