Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Should the ING NYC marathon be cancelled because of Sandy?

I wanted to get in soooo bad. no dice

It's Tuesday October 30th and I am posting from a hotel room in Orlando, Fl. 

I got an invitation of a lifetime to go on a Disney Cruise, my whole family, paid for -- I do some health blogs for a company and they generously included me on their company trip. Of course I was thrilled. My family could never afford such a trip. 

The ship: The Disney Dream.

The dream quickly turned into a nightmare as we went to sea when Hurricane Sandy was tearing up the Caribbean and we headed into it anyway. All of our ports were cancelled and the boat faced 25 ft. swells and two solid days at sea. The pools were closed as was most of the outdoor stuff. It was cold, it was windy. But we made the best of it. And we were glad to return to port and head home. We were weary. The last night on board was as if you were sleeping on a ride that just propelled you high up into the sky and dropped you. All night long.  The trip was to last from Thursday - Sunday. We were expecting to be home in Jersey by this past Sunday night.

We soon learned that all flights home were cancelled. We were rescheduled until Wednesday (tomorrow)...  So we booked ourselves at the All-Star resort at Disney. 

Now, with the airport still closed, we were rescheduled once again for a Saturday flight. Our three night cruise has turned into a 9 day affair. And it hasn't been easy. Our five year old, who has autism is having a very tough time and is out of sorts -- we are all feeling a little frazzled and this "free" trip has become quite costly of funds we don't really have. 

Still, with all of this, I am extremely lucky and very grateful.

I have power (in this very expensive side-trip/stranded situation) I have my health, my family and safety. I have no idea what I'm going home to but I'm hoping for the best. A neighbor says that all looks Ok from their vantage point.

Other friends and family back in NJ and NYC are not so lucky. Over 100 houses in Queens burned to the ground, friends all over NJ lost their homes to devastating floods - no one I know has power and the subway system is in dissaray. All over NYC people are displaced and powerless.

QUEENS after the fire photo credit

So should the NYC marathon carry on? Sorry. But in my opinion, HELL NO.  

As a runner, I can empathize and sympathize with people's sense of loss with the event being cancelled.  I can appreciate those who say, "we're not going to let Sandy stop us!" Or "Americans are strong! We can face any adversity!" But we are still dealing with a city that is still in the dark, it's central infrastructure of the subway system disabled. It's total devastation. 

Yes, if I was lucky enough to get into this highly competitive race and train for months and months only to have it be cancelled I would be devastated, pissed and aggravated by the loss - this is my DREAM RACE - I would bemoan my "bad luck" and be as disappointed as they come - but would understand, ultimately people need to come first.

The city has an obligation to put its people in top priority, help those in need and get its city back on  their feet. With so many suffering loss right now and homeless, it just doesn't seem right to me. And PS I don't see how they can logistically pull this off. I mean with no trains or subways, and with every borough hit like it was - how people will get around and all is beyond me.  

NYC subway platform
Maybe I feel this strongly because it literally hits so close to home for me.

What do you think? 

On a way smaller level, I am disappointed that I won't be able to run the Central Park 5K dash (its finish line is the same as the marathon's) that I registered for on Saturday and I was planning to spectate the race this year.


PS: The Simple Hydration giveaway is now closed -- I will pick a winner and announce within the next few days.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Simple Hydration review and giveaway

this thing even ran Kona!

I am always struggling to figure out how to keep hydrated on my runs. I'm the type of gal that NEEDS to bring water if I'm doing anything more than 3 miles. I've tried to go 4 or 5 without and it's never good. And on long runs I need to bring coconut water (I can't do traditional sports drinks so, particularly for a half, I need to bring my own.) 

I've tried belts (they annoy the hell out of me) and ditto most handhelds (though those are slightly better than belts for me.)

Usually I just carry a disposable water bottle but I hate that that's not the greenest thing to do and I always have to carry it until I get home since I want to at least properly recycle. It's hardly ideal.

While googling "running hydration" I stumbled upon this newer product called, "Simple Hydration." And it looked like something that I actually might not hate!

Brian Hock - runner and
Simple Hydration guy
It was designed by and developed by a runner, a guy named Brian Hock -- so I knew that he knew all of the concerns us runners would have. I loved that he raised the money for his company thru KickStarter as it told me he was passionate and believed in his product.  

So I sent him a note and asked if I could try one for review. He agreed and sent one on its way.

I have to say, I LOVE this thing!

It looks like this:

See how it's thin/kinda flat and then hooked. That's the magic, people. It's designed to comfortably slip into the waist of your running shorts, race belt, pocket - even the back of your sports bra!  And it works!

Holding it in hand (which I did for much of my half) was way more comfortable than a regular hand-held or traditional water bottle. The body is narrow so it just "fits" in hand easily comfortably.

I first tried it on a long run of 8 miles with my running buddies Nicole and Kerry. They both were enthralled with it and checked it out - they gave it thumbs up too. I kept it in my race belt and forgot about it until I was thirsty. Even filled, it was pretty light and comfortable. I used it to carry my coconut water in for my Atlantic City half and it rocked: 

woulda been nice of me to not be such
 a mess for this pic but did just run 13.1
Tried to jazz it up with my medal 

It's BPA free, top-rack dishwasher safe and holds 13 oz. of liquid. It sells for $19.99 and you can order it here.

The owner of the company offers this advice for ensuring the right fit: 

1) On Waistband:
- Be sure you’re using drawstring shorts.
- Be sure that you pull the drawstring pretty snug first, then slide the bottle into your shorts. Most people naturally have an open area in the middle of their back so the bottle will slide in/out easily. The snug drawstring is what holds the bottle in place and keeps it from moving around.

2) On Race Belt:
- Make sure you pull it snug like a drawstring. Then slide the bottle into the belt. Runners have put the bottle(s) on the belt in various locations, so wherever it feels good and works.

3) In Jog Bra:
- We’ve had female runners mention that they slide the bottle into the back area of their jog bra and say it works really well.

Want to try to win one of these bad boys? Brian is offering one to a reader!


Mandatory: Be a follower of this blog - 1 entry and leave a comment on why you'd like one.
LIKE Simple Hydration on Facebook and tell them I sent you! (worth another entry)
Follow Simple Hydration on Twitter (worth another entry)
Tweet about this contest! (worth another entry)

You must leave a separate comment for each entry!

The contest will close at midnight PST on October 29th.
Winner will be announced on or about October 30th

How do you hydrate for a run? Let me know if you decide to try this product!! 


Monday, October 22, 2012

Atlantic City half race recap: Running with love on a beautiful day

Yesterday I completed half marathon #10! 

And this one was special because this was my husband Marty's second half (his first can be read about in his words here).

We headed down to Atlantic City on Saturday afternoon after Marty's sister arrived to watch our son Ben overnight for us. 

Side note - going to AC without gambling and partying is like a kid going to Disney and not going on any rides but I sucked it up and put blinders on. I was there to run.

Heading down I was in a cranky mood. I was anxious about this half. The doubt moved firmly into my brain and took me hostage. I haven't really had a great experience for the last few halfs and was beginning to wonder if this distance was for me worry. I tried to swat it away.

We checked into our hotel and headed to the Expo. As soon as we walked in we were greeted by the race director of the New Jersey Shore marathon. I told him how that was my very favorite race (and the first I ever did, so his race is very special to me) and he was soooo nice. We chatted for a while and he wound up giving me a free tech hat (I love!) and even sent me an email today saying how nice it was to meet us. 

We kicked around the expo and I was disappointed to find that most had packed up already (we got there on the late side) and no one left was selling what I needed. Was going to try salt pills because of the cramping I'd been experiencing.

Oh well.

We then wandered around trying to find something kind of safe to eat (you know me with all the tummy troubles - finding pre-race food is always a joy.) This was taking time and my shoes were beginning to give me a blister!  And this was not helping my cranky mood. We finally found the perfect spot to eat and happiness ensued. (I never learn to plan ahead -- my bad).

We ate went back to the room and was in bed by 8:30 PM  - settled in with a nice episode of Dateline and a giant bottle of water.  Living it up in AC woo hoo.

The next morning I woke up with a stomach ache of course. And was cursing mad about it. Always something. We headed from our hotel and walked about 4 blocks before I realized that I forgot my coconut water (which I drink in lieu of sports drink) We had to sprint back to get it. UGH. I was fighting a bad mood and anxiety and this stuff wasn't helping.

And then we lined up to run. The weather was perfect, the crowd electric and you know what? I was ready.  

I started to run with Marty by my side. I was to pace us. Marty likes to shoot out of the gate and it's my job to keep him under control. So I did that. 

As I started to run on this beautiful day, my bad mood started to melt away. 

And today I wasn't just running with Marty, I was running with someone else too. Today I made a conscience decision to run with Heather. Heather Boyum was a Rochester Moms In Motion member who cruelly lost her life at the hands of drunk drivers. I think of Heather often. 

I put the pink Moms In Motion bracelet on my wrist in her memory, I wanted her there. 

And she was there, mile by mile. Whenever, for one minute I had a moment of my thoughts wanting to turn negative, I had to only glance down at Heather. Heather would 'tell me' how lucky I was to be running today, the weather perfect - the sky blue, crisp and clear -- and running next to my husband and best friend.  If I feared a cramp, Heather would tell me "so what? Shake it out. You'll make it, looking good.  Get us to the finish line!" If I had a tummy ache she'd say, "So what? Poop, puke, pee whatever… you wouldn't be the first runner to have such issues, now enjoy your day! -- you GET to do this, you don't have to do this… you know how many people would want to trade places with you right now?" 

Somehow, Heather just kept reminding me over and over again to appreciate this race, this day and the joy in it all. And I did. That bracelet and thoughts of Heather (whom I never met by the way) just kept pulling me through. 

Heather was a much better running buddy than hubby by the way. He refused to take off his head phones because he needs music and no chatting. Hmmph.

I felt really good and by the last two miles was enthusiastically happy like I have never been during a race. Fittingly, during mile 12 "Beautiful Day" by U2 came on my iPod and Marty said I was loudly singing along (OOPS I thought I was just mouthing the words…!) I mean it really was. The ocean lapping the shore, the sounds and sights of the boardwalk (finish line was on the boardwalk) and all of my luckiness to be running that day. I finished super strong and smiling.  

I've got a renewed love for this distance and my fear has melted. 

So thank you Heather. I know you're an angel and you got me to the finish line and I dedicate that glorious run to you. Hope we can do it again sometime.

Marty, Heather and I did the race in 2:38 - a 12:01 pace or something? But it was perfectly fine. We stopped to pee and I had to loosen my laces so we were probably 11:55 or something. We knocked some time off our previous race time (2:51 at The Jersey Shore.)

A few things to note -

In preparation to this race I hydrated heavily for three days leading up to the race and also upped carbohydrates a little more and potassium/sodium heavy foods. (all with hopes of fighting those dreaded cramps!) 

I also took salt packets and did 2 little ones and 3 gels -- overkill? Maybe but I didn't get any cramps so I don't care. I also carried coconut water with me and drank that during the last 5 miles… the first half I drank water at the stations.

I also ran significantly slower --maintaining mostly 11:30 - 12:15 min miles and then kicked it up at the end. I was pacing Marty so I still have to experiment with what my happy avg. pace might be.  Probably as of right now 11:15 to 11:30, if I'm being honest but who knows? I have plans on committing to a real strength training program (as my MIM running coach, Dana keeps trying to prescribe us…!)  and perhaps training a little more for the next season.

Hope you had a 'beautiful day' too!


Friday, October 19, 2012

A few things: Dr. Oz, flip flops and the next race

This is gonna be kind of a hodgey-podge post of ramblings so bare with me.

The first thing on my mind is: 


I am a big Dr. Oz fan and now he further gets my vote for taking on the GMO debate. I've been striving towards a more organic lifestyle and flipping myself out by reading books like Seeds of Destruction that really delves into the GMO bio-engineered safety debate.  

This week, Dr. Oz had that books author, Jeffery Smith on to discuss the possible safety issues as well as Prop 37 - a bill that would label all foods in CA.

Yay! Dr. Oz!
Unfortunately, a baseball game pre-empted the episode but I'm hoping to catch the repeat next week… that is if he doesn't get bullied into pulling the episode. It seems that the pro-GMO folks aren't pleased with Dr. Oz (of-course they aren't), even though they were invited on the show to defend their points but declined. Apparently, they did have some folks from the 'other side' on but they are still threatening. - You can read a note that was sent to Dr. Oz from the pro GMO folks and learn more here.

No matter what - I appreciate Dr. Oz being unafraid to explore these type of edgy and controversial topics!! It's the most the main-stream media has ever dared to cover about the topic. Good for him.

Did you see the show?


What a flip flopper! Did you hear about Keith Levasseur who ran the Baltimore marathon with a time of 2:46:58 wearing flip flops!? Flip flops! Shit. 

There's so much to talk about. 

First of all. Holy speed Batman. My last half marathon was 2:30 something. In an extra 17 minutes or so he doubled me! And I had sneakers, and compression socks, and everything else I need to run. I don't think I could run a mile in flip flops. 

You can read more about Keith at Miss Zippy's, she happens to live in the same town as he and got a little insight to his challenges and training.

What kind of running sneakers do you run in?


Atlantic City, here I come.  The babysitter is booked and I'm hydrating. I am heading to Atlantic City this weekend to run my next half marathon (the last of my season). I'm excited because my husband is coming and this will be his second half - so we'll be doing it together. You can read about his first half here. 

I'm a little nervous because the last half I ran was so mentally hard. I'm hoping that my hamstring holds up, the cramps stay away and my positivity remains strong. Will have more after the race next week.

our first half together!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Carrageenan: Another food enemy?

Every day I'm learning about some other poison or hazard in our food.

It's very annoying and very overwhelming.

I find myself longing for the days when I was much more clueless and I wasn't so overwhelmed with the whole GMO, organic, processed food, etc. issue. Not to mention my own personal sensitivities to gluten, almonds, dairy and artificial sweeteners.

Oh the good ol' days when I could just grab a slice of pizza on the go and not think twice.

Anyway, so I've been going along merrily on my gluten-dairy-almond-artificial sweetener-free, mostly organic journey and now I've learned of a new thing I've gotta worry about.


Have you heard of it?

It's in all kind of "organic" products including most soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, flax milk, cheese alternatives, non-dairy frozen desserts, many Applegate cold cuts and much more. You can see a complete list here.  In short, almost everything I've used to cut out the dairy or use as substitutes contain carrageenan.

ugh. always something

So what is it?

Carrageenan is an additive that is used primarily as a thickener.  According to Healthkismit:
Carrageenan is a polysaccharide that’s derived from red seaweed. On a molecular level it’s actually very similar to plastic and is popular for that reason. It bends easily but snaps back into place, which makes it a useful additive to foods, gels, and foams.
The problem?

Well if you begin to dig it could be linked to gastrointestinal inflammation and colon cancer!!

But wait. It's organic! It's in all those vegan foods! How can this be?

Now even after cutting out all of those foods that I'm sensitive to, I'm still often experiencing tummy aches. Can it be the carrageenan in my organic soy milk that I use every morning? I'm not sure. But as of right now I'm going to try to eliminate that too. An article I read recommends that if you suffer from IBS or gastric distress you should experiment with cutting it out for two weeks.

Will it ever end? Soon I'll be just consuming air and water.

According to Cornucopia Institute:
Research links the controversial food ingredient carrageenan to serious gastrointestinal inflammation and colon cancer.
Yet it is still found in many foods, including some certified organic foods.
At the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board meeting in May 2012, Dr. Joanne Tobacman, a physician-scientist at the University of Illinois School of Medicine and the nation’s foremost independent expert on carrageenan, presented her research and urged the NOSB to remove carrageenan from organic foods.
Oy vey. The carrageenan lobbyists teamed up with some of our favorite organic companies and fought back hard so in many of our favorite brands they remain. If you google this ingredient you'll find all kinds of research worth considering.

Have you ever heard of this ingredient!? Thoughts?


PS: so out of curiosity - I found a few more interesting reads - here's another from The Charis Holistic Center out of Los Angeles that leans towards it being something to avoid.

Here is another interesting read from the Organic Consumers Association where you can read about Stonyfield Farms and Organic Valley responses. They are not concerned with risks.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Race day woes and oh no

This running thing ain't easy. Scratch that. Running isn't so hard - it's racing that can be tricky.

I mean, you would think that all you have to do is train, throw on a pair of sneakers and get going.

Maybe for some.

Not for me.

I have suffered from just about everything you can during my races. From massive tummy troubles like what happened at my San Diego RNR marathon debacle to painful, ridiculous cramping as what happened to me at the Hollywood Half and most recently having to battle a host of negative thoughts and issues last week at the Long Beach half… plus other little rumbles and bumps along the way.

Some of you probably have some challenges too. Maybe for you it's 'hitting the wall,' dealing with chafing, blisters, bloody nipples, injuries or other fun stuff. 

It sucks. You train for months, you look forward to the day, you plunk down this large amount of cash and then BAM. OH NO. NOT NOW! Why today? Why does (insert woe) have to be happening?

Uh. Why do we run again?  Running is fun!

We could let these issues stop us in our tracks but most of us are committed to the sport, the lifestyle, the awesome feeling we get from accomplishing goals, the incomparable feeling of crossing that finish line, and yes, even the bling.

So here are three issues I've dealt with and how I've tried to improve - everyone is different so you'll need to experiment with what works for you. 

Tummy Troubles (Runner's Trots, cramps, nausea…): Ugh. I am queen of the stomach ache. It really is the big thing I'm always dealing with. I have IBS, dairy sensitivities, gluten issues, and on top of all that - nerves. It all sends my GI tract over the edge. Good times. It's a wonder I ever make it thru a race without "pantsing my poop." 

I've learned to live with it best I can. I eat very blandly the days leading up to the race (A little quinoa pasta, some rice, no dairy, nothing spicy, nothing with too much fiber, avoiding fatty stuff.) I experiment with nutrition and hydration well before race day and have swapped from commercial sports drinks to coconut water for electrolyte replacement. I still had some tummy trouble running this past half but it was markedly better than previous races for me (no potty stops!). I also pop an Immodium prior to the race for extra insurance. After having to run off-course during my marathon to a 7-11 to buy it 12 miles in, I usually carry some in my race belt just in case.

The tough thing with the tummy thing is finding the right balance - you have to hydrate and have nutrition when racing half and full marathons -- I'm still working on getting it perfect. Found out during my last race that skipping a heartier breakfast (oatmeal) for a lighter one (rice cake with a little PB) didn't work for me. I need the calories and I felt hungry and like I was fading by mile 4.

PS: This is common advice worth repeating. NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY. Not a new sports drink, not a new gel, not a new breakfast.  NOTHING. 

Cramping: (Legs) Aside from stomach cramps, I seem to have been suffering a lot from cramps in my feet, calves and hamstrings during the last few miles. This really sucks. I had such an awful time in Hollywood that this cramping thing has really worked its way into my psyche and is seriously "cramping" my style. I have been researching how to avoid this and there's a plethora of different advice including: making sure you are well hydrated, making sure you have enough electrolytes, making sure you are trained enough and stretching.

Am I smiling or grimacing
from cramps?

Well, I don't stretch much so I'll start by trying that next time. I've been working on hydration and perhaps I have to up my nutrition? I've been using 2 gels during halfs but maybe an extra one (for the electrolytes?) would be helpful. Maybe I should try salt? I am definitely going to take weight training more seriously. I also may try taking a magnesium supplement because I read that, people who cramp could be deficient in magnesium. This will be a continual work in progress but I'm determined to find a solution to this problem.

Negative thoughts: Well if you're like me, sometimes half the battle are the bitches in your head. Sometimes the negativity starts because of legit reasons (like tummy troubles or cramps), sometimes it's for other unexplained reasons. Your thoughts are usually MORE IMPORTANT than anything else going on. Your thoughts will dictate whether you let the 50 porta-potty stops make you throw in the towel or power thru to a finish no matter what. Your thoughts will make the cramping and other physical issues fifty times worse or something to overcome. 

If you truly can't continue that's one thing but I can't think of anything worse than letting the voices in my head win by talking me into quitting. DO NOT GIVE THOSE VOICES THAT TYPE OF POWER.

Come up with 2 - 5 go-to mantras to help beat down negative thoughts - I pulled them out of my bag on my recent half… "Pain is temporary, pride forever," "If it was easy, everyone would do it," "Suck it up buttercup, I am strong.""Suffer now and eat a feast later…" Were a few easy-to remember mantras I pulled out. 

My other tricks include, turning on a favorite power song, remembering to focus on all I have to be grateful for and looking for funny race signs. You have to control your thoughts. Learn to quickly recognize when you are going to a dark mental place and then change it. You might have to "fake it 'til you make it" but just forcing yourself to "think of happy thoughts" really does make a difference. If worse comes to worse, call a friend who will give you a quick pep talk and get back on track. 

What are some of the race day woes you've had to deal with? How did you fix them? Any useful books, information or advice to share?

Happy racing!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Long Beach half race report: When the wheels fall off

I have been in sunny California for the last few days for work. While out here, I ran the Long Beach half marathon.

I will start by saying, it wasn't my best race.

I really tried to go into this in a good place. I still have post traumatic stress syndrome from my Hollywood half and what happened there: I crossed the finish line and every muscle from my ass to the tips of my toes on both sides seized in unbelievably painful cramps. It was an awful, awful way to end a race and possibly the worse pain of my life. 

I've been determined not to repeat that experience though I live in fear of it. Even at the end of many of my long runs, I feel the threat of a bad cramp so, it is something that haunts me.

I went into this race trying to safe guard from that. I did several 6 -8 mile runs in the last few weeks and two 10 mile runs.  The days leading up to the race I guzzled more water than usual and even included tons of coconut water in my routine, hoping that the electrolytes would help.

So here comes race day.

First of all, I'm always a little nervous on race morning. I like to get to the race nice and early - go to the potty, get a little stretched out, get into my corral, you know. The usual. With no rush.

Well, we left with what should've been plenty of time - but the single road to the parking area was backed for a few miles and we sat in race traffic for close to an hour.

By the time we parked and got to the starting line area, the race had already started. Even though I still had time to potty and find my wave, the fact that the race was already underway stressed me out more. I guess there was no real reason to be stressed but it's just how I roll. 

Soon and with out much ado, I was off. I wanted to maintain a 10:20 - 10:40 pace thru out the race which, for some reason, seemed reasonable to me. 

A few things to note, it was way hotter than I anticipated. I thought it was going to be chilly on the water in October. I brought sleeves and a jacket that I was gonna ditch "once I got warmed up". It was so warm that I needed neither at all and when I got out of the car and felt how warm it was - I was shocked. I thought I was going to be running in nice cool weather. I thought that I would be jumping around trying to keep warm, I envisioned crisp chill. OK. Not so much. Not at all.

This is a huge race, 22,000 racers or so and a "corral" yourself type system. There was about 4 million people in the corral I was in. When my coral took off many were walking from the get-go - 4 and 5 across from the start. Others were trying to zoom past at far faster pace than the corral - and all of it was tight. There were narrow parts of the race where I felt way overly crowded. But, even with all that, the first few miles were OK. I kept looking down at my Garmin - A few times I'd be running a 9:45 or a 10:08 or something but I'd keep trying to slow it back down to a 10:30'ish pace or so.

prettiest part of the run - Queen Mary in the background
photo credit: Angela Lee
I don't know why but early on crappy thoughts started creeping in to my head. Negativity about being trained enough, about "not feeling" like doing this today, and all kinds of shit I kept trying to bat away. For some reason I was feeling like this wasn't gonna be my day. And I guess by me continually thinking that in my head, I kind of made sure it wasn't. By mile 6 I was feeling really low. I was hot and dizzy. I walked thru every water stop and was carrying coconut water with me for hydration. I took my gels at the right time, I really tried to properly execute this race and the wheels were falling off left and right.

My head hurt, my stomach hurt, my legs were achey early on, my ankle started bothering me and if I could've quit, I might've. I just felt like shit and I couldn't understand why. I started to take more and more walking breaks by mile 7 - I was feeling kinda like a failure. The perfect shirt passed me by it said:

this made me smile. perfect timing

I did tell myself to "suck it up buttercup," I reminded myself that "pain is temporary, pride forever," I promised, "the medal will be worth it, quitting is for quitters." 

I knew I wouldn't quit. I told myself even if I had to walk the rest of the damn way, I'd finish it. I plugged on and counted down the miles running, walking, shuffling. In the final mile, my hamstrings began to quiver on the verge of those dreaded cramps - and my feet actually did cramp a few times -- it never got to the point of Hollywood Half pain though, thank goodness for that. 

I ran it in, crossed the finish line and got my medal. I was happy, probably more happy it was over than anything else, but whatever.

Post finish line was a mess of people too many people in too little of a space. I knew I needed to keep moving or possibly suffer those bad cramps. I was cranky by the poor set-up and my crappy performance.  

But still, bling has a way of making things just a wee bit better: 

And even with all the BS - it doesn't look that bad on paper. You'll see my 5K / 10K times are OK - you can really see where I fell apart:

2:30:36 tag time with an avg. of 11:30 pace. And with crappy as that race was -- I'm still happy I did it. I feel sore today. But I'm so glad I stuck with it. Perfect or not - in hindsight, I'm still proud of this race -- another opportunity to learn and I didn't quit.

I think to get better I'm going to have to truly commit to strength training. I'm going to have to maybe play better with nutrition - there is a reason for the cramping and whether it's a mineral deficiency, hydration thing or electrolyte thing - I'm doing something wrong and I have to fix that. 

Maybe 10:30 is too aggressive for me early on? Perhaps I should be aiming to keep steady at 11 min. mile early on and open it up at the end if I'm feeling good? I'm not sure. I guess I'm confused about race pace. I don't want to underestimate myself but overestimating is a recipe for an icky race too...

I think I ate too light pre-race this time around. I skipped my morning meal of oatmeal/walnuts and banana (my usual perfect pre-race fueling) for a half a banana, rice cake and a little peanut butter instead. I was trying to see if my tummy would behave with a little less bulk. But I felt a lack of energy early on and felt hungry by mile 2 --  I think I might need a heartier breakfast.

So there you have it. Half number 9 in the books (or my 10th race if you count my full marathon). 

The next one is right around the corner and I hope to have a better time!

Do you ever struggle mentally during races?


Monday, October 1, 2012

I could run 100 miles

With a few half marathons right around the corner I've been trying to get more miles under my belt and the mileage has added up.

I was excited to see on DailyMile that I've had this epic week of logging 30 miles!

I haven't had anything close to 30 miles since my full marathon training. Even for my Spring halves the longest weeks I reached were 24 miles or so - So I'm pretty thrilled.

In fact the whole month has been pretty epic:

24, 26, 24 and 30 mile weeks… Note the last time I came close was a 24 mile week back in January right before my February halves.

And those epic weeks all added up to one epic month for me:

109 miles!! Woo hoo. I'm so excited about this month -- and you'll notice it's nearly double the miles of most of my months since January. 

This week, I'm tapering down and will keep my miles relatively low in preparation for my half this Sunday in Long Beach, CA. 

I'm not shooting for a PR - I'm actually shooting for a conservative 2:30 or so since I'll be running another half in just a 2 weeks I don't want to over-do anything. But we'll see how I feel on race day ;-) 

Are you training for any upcoming races?


PS:  Still time to support the From Fat To Finish Line documentary film project and snag your DVD copy and other goodies for doing so!! Click here for details.