Sunday, October 09, 2011

Scoop, scoop

After having a fabulous swim myself while Rory was at preschool, I picked him up and brought him back to the pool, so he could swim, too.  There was a mommy and me class in the pool we were in going on, and they were teaching the babies to do "ice cream scoops" in the water.  "Scoop, scoop, scoop, scoop."  I had Rory try it too, and he did a pretty good job.

For some reason, I used to swim with a fairly flat hand.  I think I thought of my hands as oars, as opposed to scoops.   I feel really stupid that I never swam with my hands cupped before.  How is that I've been a swimmer for so long, who even swam 11 miles across a lake, and didn't know something that they teach to babies?  Did I once know and just forget?  I don't think I did.

I tried this out at a Masters workout on Saturday, and even though I've been mostly out of the water for two weeks, apart from a short swim on Thursday, I led my lane and was clocking times as fast as I have since I had Rory.  Still not anywhere nearly as fast as I was pre-Rory, but still.  Pretty exciting.  Pretty absurd.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

SJRR 2011

This morning I ran the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half Half Marathon, my fourth Half Marathon in a year.

Rory and I picked up my race packet on Friday afternoon, after dropping off a meal and visiting with Oceana and N-Dawg, who had a baby girl.  The expo was fun, with fun music and friendly people.  The one nice thing that happened that made me happy is when I went to pickup a medium race shirt, the volunteer insisted I take a small one.  It fit!  I've been losing a little weight, mostly by cutting way back on the carbs.  I've been using a product called Vespa before my long runs, which is made with giant hornet extract.  For whatever reason, it seems to help me with carb cravings after long runs, and also helps me feel less bonky.  It supposedly works best with a "fat optimization metabolism diet. I admittedly don't know enough about the "fat optimization metabolism diet" to know if I'm even doing it right, but I am losing weight, so that's been encouraging.  I'm close to seeing the scale drop another 10's place, putting me about 5 pounds off from what I feel like I should weigh. I could safely lose a little more than that, too, but my goal is about 5 pounds away. 

Last night. I said a prayer with Raybon about the race.  I prayed that I would listen to my body and that I would have a race that I felt was successful.  I also prayed that Rory would be OK without me during the time I raced.  I was tempted to tack on "Let me P.R. (2:03 from almost a year ago), or at least go below 2:10", but somehow that didn't feel right.

Sometimes I wish I was the kind of blogger who said more about her races than how she felt and what her results were, but I don't feel as bad about doing so with this race.  It was in San Jose.  Not particularly beautiful scenery, sometimes downright ugly.  The many bands along the course were often motivating, but honestly, sometimes I was in so much pain, I hardly noticed some of them.  The volunteers were super friendly and efficient, though, and the race was really well organized.  The course was about as flat as I've ever run, good for a P.R. if that was what I was going for.  The weather was overcast, and not too hot, but honestly I felt hot from the get go.  It felt muggy to me, maybe just being a hot crowd of sweaty people.

When I woke up this morning, I checked FB while I ate breakfast, and saw this quote shared by Runner's World:

"What distinguishes those of us at the starting line from those of us on the couch is that we learn through running to take what the days gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate." -John Bingham
I think if it wasn't so long, I might have written it on my hand.  Seemed like the perfect thought to keep in mind today, especially given my past races where I may have pushed too hard.

Rory and Raybon came with me to the race this time.  They didn't go to my last two races.  Sometimes it is hard getting out of the house with a baby.  I was glad for the company, having felt lonely the last couple races I've done.  

I left Rory in a good mood this time when I went to get into my race corral, which made me happy.  When I did the Flip Flop Half Marathon in April, Rory was in tears when I left, making me feel funny about leaving him to race.

I had a tough time with this race.  My time was 2:13:54,  averaging about 10:15 per mile, and doing a pretty good job consistently hitting around 10 minutes per mile, with those extra seconds being attributed to a slow start, fueling, and one bad mile attributed to some fear that I would have palpitations at mile 8 or 9 like I have on some training runs I've done lately, as well as in my last race.

10 minutes per mile actually felt hard to me, though.  When I did my last Half Marathon in July, the Jungle Run, my average pace was slower because I hit a wall, but I ran a very comfortable pace around 9:10 per mile before I decided to push too hard and just about wanted to die.  Even at the beginning 10 minutes per mile felt hard.  By the end, I was looking at my watch every 30 seconds, and couldn't believe how slowly the time was passing.

I honestly think 10 minutes per mile should be a pretty easy pace for me, and it's hard for me to not wonder what went wrong.  I feel like I had a good race in that for once I was able to listen to my body and pace it pretty well, but I can't say I had a good race in that my body had as much to offer me today as I would have liked.  I wonder if losing weight has been enough stress on my body that I can't handle running harder?  I also just kind of wonder if my hormones are a bit off.  At this time in my cycle the last couple months I've just been feeling blue.  Not the "mean reds" I used to get with PMS sometimes, just unmotivated and a little sad.  

As I said, I've been cutting back on carbs, trying and seemingly succeeding at losing weight.  I sort of "carbo loaded" for two days before the race, but that was more like eating what would have been a normal amount of carbs for me if I wasn't on a diet, not the amount I would have eaten when carbo loading in the past.  I ate my normal pre-race breakfast, but I didn't consume any sports drinks or gel like I normally do before a race.  My understanding is that with Vespa you don't need to.  (Don't take this as a guide on how to use it, that's just what I think you're supposed to do.)  I took my first gel an hour into the race, and then again about 2 hours in, even though I was close to finishing, because I felt like I was running low on energy and hoped it would help.  Not sure it was worth the time it took to consume it.  It's funny to me that superstar triathletes can transition between sports in a couple minutes,  yet somehow it takes me a whole minute just to consume a Hammer Gel and refill my water bottle.  Anyway, I wonder if I would have been better off fueling as usual?  I think I need to put more research into how this Vespa thing is supposed to work.

At the end of the race, my legs were really sore and my back was killing me.  Funny how I didn't even notice this until I stopped running.  The walk back to our car seemed to take forever.  I drank a smoothie I had made the day before and frozen overnight, and it was the perfect temperature.  Goat milk, peanut butter, honey, and banana.  By the time our hour drive home was over, my back felt better and my legs were fully mobile again.  I kinda wonder if the difficulty I had racing had to do with low fuel, if I was able to recover after getting enough fuel and just resting.  Not sure.  

What might have gone wrong:

1 - Not enough carbs.
2 - Not enough lactate threshold training.  Been trying to do the end of my long runs hard, but haven't done any other speed training.
3  - Screwy hormones or just being tired.

I'm proud of myself for how hard I ran, without making myself sick or totally bonking.  I felt like I picked the perfect pace for the day.  I've enjoyed my training and am glad I am losing weight while doing it, so I think all in all I'm proud of my training and race, but it doesn't hurt to think about how I might improve.  Hope I can figure it out.

I don't know where I'll go from here.  I don't feel burnt out or anything, but I may call it the end of the season anyway. I was thinking I might do the California International Marathon in December if this race went well, but I can't say it did.   Raybon is doing Big Sur Half Marathon, so I can't do that race.  It's funny, because starting this week I'll get an extra day a week to train.  It's a 2.5 hour stretch while Rory attends a co-op preschool I work at the one other day he is there.  I could even possibly get another extra day a week besides that.  There's the opportunity to get in better shape, but no races on the horizon, and the traditional Off-season starting.  I'll think about what it is I should do with that free time, and what might be next to me.