Race Recap: F^3 1/2 Marathon 2012

Holy smokes, the race is over.  This all consuming event, which has been sitting in the back of my mind…  is all done.  I literally feel like a rock star.

I slacked on my training for a few weeks as I traveled, but this week I did not drink, I upped my water, and slept as much as I could every night.  I did my best to “carb up” on Friday, so had Subway for lunch (brrreaaaad) and my all time favorite frozen meal treat, an Amy’s Country Cheddar Bowl.  Pasta.  Potatoes.  Tofu.  Covered in cheese sauce.  With broccoli.  Does food get any better?  I should seriously investigate how to make that meal on my own, I LOVE it.  Oh, and I had a side of fries with that..  😉

Race day.  Woke up around 7:30.  Had some water and decided to make coffee.  I usually skip the coffee, but thought I would have a bit today.  Made a piece of toast with peanut butter, 1/2 banana and some honey.  Ended up making another piece of toast too and I’m glad I did because I ended up not being hungry during the race.

Otherwise, this was the race of the over-prepared.  🙂  I packed a bag with: coconut water, gatorade, altoids, a power bar and water.  And another bag with jeans, tshirt, and a jacket.  I had gel blocks, I had altoids and pepto in every pocket, i had ginger candies…  apparently i was expecting this to be the race of the nauseous….

Michael Ann, one of the most generous friends in the world, offered to be my chauffeur for the day, and picked me up at about 9:20.  I have been talking her ear off for weeks about my “plan.”  When I will walk, when I will run, what if I don’t finish, OMG WHAT AM I DOING?!” and she has always been the best about listening to my freakouts!  She gave me an awesome pep talk and shooed me out of the car.  Now, it’s just me and a few hundred other runners.  In the cold.  I immediately got in line for the porta-potty.  The last thing I wanted on this run was to have to pee before there was a bathroom…

When I got in line, the first person I saw was Dani.  Hi Dani!  We’d never met, but I recognized her from Twitter.  It was great to say hello, and see a familiar face.  Dani completed the run in under 2:10:00, with a sore knee AND a cross-country move planned for the next day.  WTG, Dani!  I saw a few other people from my CARA Winter Half Marathon training group too, including a woman named Julie.  We had run maybe 5 times together, and I wasn’t even sure of her name before Saturday.  But (and this may sound cheesy, but it’s true) I don’t think I could have done this race without Julie…

We started chatting before the race started, we were headed towards the back of the group for the start of the race, and I had a moment where I wanted to say something that would indicate that I wanted to be on my own.  Like “Have a great race” or “see ya when we’re through.”  But once we started, I realized how helpful this would be to have a “buddy.”  The first two miles flew by.  Literally…  because we were running a 10:23 minute mile…

Having a buddy:  Helps you keep your pace.  Helps you slow down your pace.  Gives you someone to talk to.  Gives you someone to NOT talk to!  Helps you remember to stop for water and Gatorade.  Reminds you that this is not impossible.  Gives you confidence.  Gives you encouragement.  Gives you a fist-bump at Mile 11.  Waves at the photographers with you.  These were my favorite moments of the day.  Thanks, Julie!

We decided to stop at the CARA trough (a big water fountain along the running path that is kept on all year long) to stretch out and get more water.  This was the 5 mile point.  Here we met up with Andrea and her host mom.  Andrea was an exchange student who also ran with our group this winter, so all of us ran together to the turn around point.  We hit some ice on the path and things got a little slippy at that point!  This was the first place where I knew I would have some “people” too.  Yasmin (best roommate ever) was at the North Ave. water station, with my baggie of pretzels!  I figured I wouldn’t want to be running on just gel blocks all day, so I grabbed some water and gatorade, and a handful of pretzels from Yas (and grabbed Yas a handful of gel shots from the race… :).  Yay for friends who brave the cold to come and see you run!

We passed the 7 Mile mark and the wind really picked up.  It was cold and really windy.  Did I mention there was wind?  It was windy.  Miles 7-10.  They were really hard.  I’m not gonna lie.  We both put on our music and didn’t talk much, this was a mental struggle.  When we hit Belmont Harbor, Julie pointed out that we were in home stretch.  We hit familiar territory that we’d been seeing every week for all of our training runs.  We HAD THIS.  Mile 10 there was a water station, so we stopped and refueled.

Once I hit Mile 11, I knew I was going to finish strong.  Julie ended up walking, and I decided to keep going.  Then I started seeing more of my lovely people.  Liga and Grant were just past 11, then a few yards up, Mik and Jeremy were there, then the way the course curved, they all were able to see me at multiple points at the end.  At the last curve towards the finish line, I ran in to Andrea again.  She was walking and when I passed she caught up with me and we crossed the finish line together.

I LITERALLY felt great.  All the boys were waiting with their great signs, and a dozen roses, and I got my medal, and Michael Ann had my chocolate milk (thanks Mama!) and I just DID it.  I walked around a bit because I felt a little sick just stopping like that, and when we got to lunch I was a bit shaky, but over all I am surprised at how well I did.

So, congrats if you made it this far in the post…  and thanks for reading.

I need to mention that my online group of newbie runners, the C25k Turtles, have been a HUGE part of my success.  These amazing women have been like the best support group a girl could ask for.  I have vented so many frustrations, voiced so many anxieties and shared so many victories with these ladies.  You are THE BEST.

Also, a big thanks to F^3 for making my first half marathon such a good experience.  The volunteers were encouraging, friendly and nice, the course was well marked, and I had water and gatorade at every stop.  Thank you thank you thank you!

Official Race Time: 2:39:22.  12:10 minute mile.  (!!!)


Half Marathon Training: Week 12

1.23 – 1.27 Final week of training = Done

Monday = Cold day, did a nice 5.5 miles early in the morning before work.  Was good to get it in, it started snowing/sleeting once I got home.
Tuesday = Yoga and foam roller at home, needed a break!
Wednesday = Post-work 3 mile run on the Lake front.  Ran to North ave.  Felt really good, if a little slow.
Weigh In Wednesday 1.25.12: -0.4 Slowing down and this week is not so much about weightloss for me as it is about running, so that’s ok with me.
Thursday = Another post-work run.  I took the train to Belmont, then ran from Belmont home.  Felt really sluggish and tired…
Friday = Took the day OFF!
Saturday = Race recap to come!


Half Marathon Training: Week 11

1.16 – 1.21 Eleventh week of training = Done

Monday = DOR/Travel Day.  No exercise today.
Tuesday = Supposed to be a yoga day.  I ended up going to the gym and doing a few miles on the treadmill instead, the yoga instructor that I like was out of town.
Wednesday = 6 miles.  Felt wonderful.  Ran Lawrence to the Lake, south to Irving Park, then north up Damen back home.  It was cold, but I felt really good about the run.
Weigh In Wednesday 1.18.12: -1.0 Incredibly happy with this because I spent the weekend eating cookies, drinking sparkly wine, having sushi, sake and Asahi…
Thursday = Yoga DVD at home.
Friday = Post work run.
Saturday = Terrible day.  It snowed a few inches Friday night, and I was just in a slump.  Have a bad habit of feeling bad about things I can’t change, was completely depressed and couldn’t get out the door for our long run.  Blargh.
Sunday = Was totally rushed, but did 20 minutes on the elliptical before work.  Overall, a hard week to get back in to the swing of things, was emotionally in a funk, but moving forward.


Water water everywhere…

So…  Do you get enough water?  How much is enough?

My friend Kim posted this great list on her blog, touting the wonderful benefits of water:

  1. Weight loss
    Water is one of the best tools for weight loss, first of all because it often replaces high-calorie drinks like soda and juice and alcohol with a drink that doesn’t have any calories. But it’s also a great appetite suppressant, and often when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Water has no fat, no calories, no carbs, no sugar. Drink plenty to help your weight-loss regimen.
  2. Heart healthy
    Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risks of a heart attack. A six-year study published in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses.
  3. Energy
    Being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired — even mild dehydration of as little as 1 or 2 percent of your body weight. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated — and this can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness and other symptoms.
  4. Headache cure
    Another symptom of dehydration is headaches. In fact, often when we have headaches it’s simply a matter of not drinking enough water. There are lots of other causes of headaches of course, but dehydration is a common one.
  5. Healthy skin
    Drinking water can clear up your skin and people often report a healthy glow after drinking water. It won’t happen overnight, of course, but just a week of drinking a healthy amount of water can have good effects on your skin.
  6. Digestive problems
    Our digestive systems need a good amount of water to digest food properly. Often water can help cure stomach acid problems, and water along with fiber can cure constipation (often a result of dehydration).
  7. Cleansing
    Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.
  8. Cancer risk
    Related to the digestive system item above, drinking a healthy amount of water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. Drinking lots of water can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.
  9. Better exercise
    Being dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities, slowing you down and making it harder to lift weights. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure to hydrate before, during and after exercise.

I have joined fellow WW blogger Dani in a 100oz challenge (follow #100ozChallenge on Twitter).  The idea is to get 100oz of liquid per day.  My personal goal is to make that 100oz of water, with coffee, milk and alcohol outside of that.  I try to fill this guy up 5x a day….  he’s become my most reliable accessory and a reminder of the amazing summer that was 2011…

Eat, drink and be merry...  for tomorrow we die.


Half Marathon Training: Week 10

1.9 – 1.15 Tenth week of training = Done!

Monday = Treadmill Day.  I had to be home Monday evening because our Christmas tree was being picked up and recycled, so I decided to make it a TM day.  My training week was all messed up due to travel, so I sort of made up my own thing.  Ended up doing the 5k setting on the TM and finished within 36 minutes.
Tuesday = TM total 2.3 miles in 30 minutes.  Gave myself a good 5 minutes warmup and cooldown time for today’s TM run, and then went straight from the TM to yoga. Need to give myself MORE cooldown time as I was really pressing it and started to feel sick. Yoga was great, though, as usual!
Wednesday = GREAT run today. I was planning on heading to the movies in the evening, so I packed up my things and did a longer run. I ran from Jackson to Addison, ended up being about 5.5 miles. The first two miles were really difficult, but the last 3.5 felt really good. Pacing, timing, breath were great. Only tricky thing is I need to figure out food/fuel for pre and post work runs, I was STARVING. Also, heads up Chicagoans, the lakefront path by the South canal is DARK. Flashlights and pepperspray!
Weigh In Wednesday 1.11.12: +0.2 Eh, not huge, but not great.
Thursday = 20 minutes on the elliptical.  Supposed to be a DOR and a travel day, but I wanted to fit something in today.  Was harder than usual, I guess I had become accustomed to my days off.  And then…  my flight got cancelled.  Sad face.
Friday = DOR.  I took the day off to fly.  Walked around the airport some, but no major exercise.
Saturday – Monday…  UGH.  No running.  No tracking.  No bueno.  I am ready to face the scale on Wednesday, and ready to get back in my routine.  Time to recommit…   Race is in less than 2 weeks.


Half Marathon Training: Week 9

1.2 – 1.8 Ninth week of training = Done!

Monday = Holy cow, one of the most miserable runs yet.  Day off, and it snowed a bit last night.  Got ready, and decided to try out my new Yak Trax!  It wasn’t super snowy, but wanted to try them just in case.  I decided to run the lakefront today.  The worst part of today’s run was getting started.  Tried to get used to the trax, and the weather.  Lots of frustrating things to deal with and was just not in it mentally.  Made it to the lake and ran south to Belmont then back up north.  Ended up taking the bus back home, I was FREEZING.  It was crazy windy and I just could not keep myself motivated this time.  5.6 of 6 miles, and I still feel pretty happy with myself getting this one done.
Tuesday = Back to work (back to life…. back to reality!).  Felt really good about being in a routine again.  Came home from work to dinner in the crockpot.  Had a bowl of soup, then went to yoga.  I was running late (d’oh) and it was the most crowded I’ve seen class!  Not even any spare mats, so I was in the back on the (gross) carpet.

Natalie Dee knows what i'm sayin...

Still, yoga was great, and as always, I was happy to be there!
Wednesday = 4.2 miles on the treadmill.  Got to the gym early.  Started off grueling, but got better.  Realized I love the way my calves looked to day…  HUGE VICTORY.
Weigh In Wednesday 1.4.11: -2.2 Take THAT, holidays!
Thursday = Day of rest!!!
Friday = 5 mile run.  I ran the lakefront path today, it was warm!  I even ran it in my shorts 🙂  Jackson to Belmont.  Oddly lost the running pat at North Avenue and did some weird twists and turns in the park, but eventually found my way.  Felt pretty good.
Saturday = Longest run yet!  A 9 miler with the group.  This run took us south from Montrose all the way past North Ave.  (And now I know the way, so hopefully I won’t get lost 🙂  On the way back, I had to use the bathroom, so I told the group to go ahead.  There weren’t any open restrooms and the Museum was closed, so I just kept going.  Saw the group for awhile in front of me, but decided to keep at my own pace.  I walked for a half mile (at mile 7), my quads were just SCREAMING.  But I got to a point where I knew if I didn’t start running again, I would be walking the rest of the way home.  So, ran the rest of the way north.  Tried to go a bit further to make up for that 1/2 mile.  Tiring, and I was sore the rest of the day.  But felt better!
Sunday = Headed out to use the elliptical soon, but waiting for a new couch delivery first!

In L.A. next weekend, so I’m worried about not getting a lot of runs in, but I will be diligent about what I do Monday-Thursday!