Sunday, April 07, 2013

Flip Flop Half Marathon/10K/5K

This morning, Raybon, Rory and I raced in Flip Flop, doing the Flip Flop Half Marathon/10K/5K.

The past couple of years I've done the Half Marathon.  I've been kind of busy with studying and swimming, so I didn't think I'd get in shape for a Half.  I told Raybon he could do it if he wanted to, because I wouldn't this year.  I found out that jogging strollers were allowed in the 10K category, so I thought I would do that.  

I sort of trained for the race, and even decided to take the past couple weeks easier in both swimming and running, hoping I'd have a good race.  Unfortunately, the stomach flu hit me hard this week on Tuesday, and I knew I'd just have to deal with what my weakened body handed me.  I wasn't sure what that would be.  I'd only done one workout this week, a 2500 yard swim on Thursday where I felt strong to begin with but weak by the end.  

This is my second 10K pushing a stroller.  I did one that I failed to blog about in February on Super Bowl Sunday, where I averaged 9:45 miles.  I was happy enough with this, given that I hadn't been training either long or fast.  I expected to do much worse, considering my pace on my training runs.

I had hoped for better with this race.  I ran 3 miles 3 weeks ago pushing a stroller up and down my street (kinda hilly) and did it at 10 minute mile pace, a P.R.  This made me hopeful that I could P.R. in this race, but those hopes went out the window with this sickness.  

We all got up at 6 am this morning for an 8 am race start.  I had a rough night sleeping, and so did Rory.  I had gluten free blueberry muffins and vanilla milk prepped for his breakfast, so I would't have to fuss over that.  We all got dressed, and I put on a bib on Rory that I made for him the night before.  It was Raybon's Firecracker 10K bib from last year, but I printed out stickers that spelled his name on it.  He always feels left out when he doesn't have a bib when we push him in races, so that was one thing I figured would make it a better experience for him.

We drove over, and I realized I'd forgotten my heart rate monitor.  I tried not to worry about it too much, and hoped I could just listen to my body and go by feel and everything would go OK.

Rory was excited about the race.  He kept saying as we stood around waiting for the start.  "Let's get this road rally moving."  Hilarious.  He's such a card.  I wonder where he gets that kind of thing from.  

This is going to have to be one of those "At least I looked good" kind of races.
Usually when we race, I try to get him out and running around up until the start, because I figure the less time he spends in the stroller before the race, the better he'll be able to tolerate it for the race itself.  This time, unfortunately he spent he whole time from the car until the race start in the stroller.  It was partly because it was so crowded I felt nervous about chasing him through the crowds.  Also, by the time I thought of getting him out, we only had 15 minutes before the race start.  I figured if he was just playing on the beach for 15 minutes, he would  be sadder about leaving it and have a harder time than if he played in it.  

We started at the very back.  At the beginning of the race, he was being really enthusiastic and funny.  He had made up as we went along, "Go, go, go! Road Rally! Go, go go!"  Lots of people thought he was cute.  

This race was super crowded.  There were 5000 people out on the course.  I always wonder what makes this race so popular.  There are lots of races on West Cliff, some of them only with a couple hundred participants.   They do open the whole road for this race, instead of just having us run on the path, but I think even with the whole road, it was a lot more crowded and hectic than when there are a couple hundred people racing on the path.  Needless to say navigating the crowd full of people running side by side, sometimes wearing ipods was really hard, especially since I started behind a lot of slower people because strollers were supposed to start at the back.  

My first three miles went pretty well nonetheless. The race start off right off the bat with a hill, which left me a little breathless, hot, and slightly sick feeling.  That was probably a bad sign, but I felt pretty good for the first half of the race.  At first I was polite and said excuse me and tried to get by people, then started saying "On your right", and then yelling "On your right" because not a single person moved when I said excuse me or just  said "On your right."  It was so crowded I think no one would have thought I was talking to them.  I felt like kind of a bitch, and one person even said "Oh, she's one of those kinds, as I passed."  I told her I asked her politely and she didn't hear me, and that's why I had to yell.  

I passed a lot of other baby joggers on the way to the turnaround, and only saw one coming towards me in the other direction.  I figured I was second place maybe.  I caught up to that one person, but as I did I saw another baby jogger.  That was kind of disappointing.  

Meanwhile, Rory was starting to fuss.  He kept saying "What do you have for me?  What do you have for me?" Over and over, with his hand out towards me.  He has been so good with car trips and stroller rides lately I was hoping he wouldn't get fussy.  He really didn't whine or complain too much, but was just a little demanding.  I stopped the stroller, and pulled out a muffin and milk for him from the botton (which he'd already had one of each for breakfast.)  As I did this, the heart palpitations started.  Bummer!  Bummer that it would start while I was stopped as opposed to while I was running fast!  I wondered if I had just kept running rather than stopping for Rory (he barely touched the muffin and milk anyway, he was more bored than hungry) if I would have had a better race. 

I had to walk a lot after that.  I felt really sick.  I walked a bit, and jogged a bit, held back by nausea.  Almost all of the baby joggers I passed went by me in what seemed like just a few minutes of walking.  The person who said "Oh, she's one of those kinds" laughed as she passed me.  I said "F you." Yes, just "F", but still that was probably not a good Christian response.  I should have just ignored her.  

Rory kept asking me to go fast, because everyone else was going fast and I was going slow.  With about one mile to go, he kept asking "Are we at the finish?"  I'd answer "Almost," and he'd immediately ask me again.  I really can't blame him for being sick of sitting, but I finally had to say "I'm only going to answer you one more time."    He put his feet down on the fender and slowed me down, at which point I told him to stop a little abruptly.  He asked "Why?"  I told him it was making me go slower, and I was having a really hard time, and he'd have to help me.  He then asked "Are we going to go fast now?"  I said, "No, I have to go slow for a while."  So he put his foot down, figuring in his 3 year old logic that since I wanted to go slow, he would help me.  Ok, it's funny now.

I finally did finish.  Finally!  In 1:04:02, 10:19 pace.   I'm not too embarrassed about that, I've definitely done a lot better, but also done a lot worse.  The finish line was on the sand, and it was nice and packed for all but the last 5-10 feet, at which point pushing a stroller through it with my fatigue was nearly impossible.  A kind man offered to help me push it over the mats, but I said I was fine.  Why didn't I just let him help me?  There was no baby jogger category, it's not like having someone else push my jogger would be cheating.  I did get it over the mat, but once I got it over, I couldn't push it any more.  It was that funny feeling that I get at the end of hard races, like my marathon.  For some reason going any farther than the finish line is almost impossible.  A kind volunteer pushed me out of the chute and past the crowd towards the beach, and even got me some snacks and an electrolyte drink.  I watched Rory play in the sand as I sat for a while, and when he finally wandered too far, I had to go on with being a mom.  Luckily, by then I was feeling mostly better.

Maybe a few lessons learned:

1) Maybe I'll skip races or hire a babysitter for races 10K or longer.

2)  Stress seems to be a cause of the heart palpitations.  Duh.   So much of this is mental.  Maybe I have to figure out how to minimize stress in my life.

On that note, I got a month long free pass for a gym with both a pool and childcare.  So I may try to use all of Rory's 8 hours of preschool time for studying this month, and try to just swim once or twice a week at the gym, that way I don't feel so stressed about school and fitting in studying whenever I can.  We'll see how that goes.  Also, Raybon seems to think there is some possibility of working from home nearly all the time, and I know that will be a huge relief of stress for me.  My life was much easier this past summer when he worked from home four days a week.  Subsequently, my life was better and my races were palpitation free.

Oh, Raybon had a hard Half Marathon this morning.  Not his worst time, not his best, but you know, good for him for doing it.  I feel a little narcissistic that I don't have more to say about his race than mine, but I wasn't really there.  He said the first half was great, the second half enough to convince him to put off any other Halves until the Fall.

One fun thing is I saw a couple friends at the race, both of whom had great races.   I saw C., who I ran the Half with last year.  She pulled off an amazing 1:47.  I also so V. one of my swimming friends who ran an awesome personal best 5K.

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