Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Post-Run Analysis and Official Pictures!

These are the official pictures from the half-marathon.  I hate that they are so expensive because I want these four.  But that would be fifty dollars!  So I think I'll just order one.   Probably the one with me waving my hands, though I like the close-up one because it actually looks like I'm running. I didn't like any of the official finish line pictures because they are taken from so far back.  That little black thing hanging from my waist is my spibelt with energy blox and my walkman inside.

So these last couple days I've been thinking a lot about the event.  I have a couple should've and could've thoughts, I should have pushed myself, I could have run faster.  You get the idea.  I know why I didn't, I was nervous about finishing, nervous about being able to run the whole time.  I'd never run a half-marathon and didn't know the course and I erred on the side of caution.  And, I suppose, if I were in that same situation I'd do the same thing again.  Which leads me to - Next Year!  I am very likely going to do this again next year and am excited at the prospect of finishing faster.  I know I can. 

This year I kept my heart rate to an average of 144.  Compare that to my 12 mile run the week previous where my average heart rate was 153.  So if I push myself just a bit I know I can do better!  I was actually slower in my training run with a higher heart rate but I hadn't tapered and I wasn't running with a total loss of elevation like the Kaiser course.  I mean, take a look at the elevation profile.

That's nice isn't it?  No reason I can't do better next year.  And that's a good feeling.  Also, I'll know the course, I'll hopefully be lighter, and I likely won't have all the busy-ness in the week and days leading up to the event.  I wonder what my goal finish time will be?  I'm tempted to pick something now but that's silly, I have no idea what kind of shape I'll be in in a year from now.

Back to today, which is a day off from the gym.  Tomorrow I'll run, probably 25-30 minutes.  I need to keep my running up to some degree because of the 10k in April but the focus for now will be on the bike.  Speaking of that, I have a test-ride planned for this Sunday afternoon with Melissa (we're doing the Cinderella Classic together).  I just mapped it out on mapmyride, a tad over 33 miles with three category 5 climbs (that's the lowest category).  The Classic is 66 miles with two category 5 climbs so this Sunday's ride should give us a good sense of where we are.

Oh my, it's like I'm leading three lives in one - family mom Michelle, working Michelle and run/bike/swim Michelle.  Good thing I have the energy or I don't think I could keep up with my own life!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Back in the Saddle

Recovery has gone well, I took yesterday off but today I felt ready to hit the gym.  I did 25 minutes on the upright bike, starting to gear up for the Cinderella Classic in just 57 days.  After that I did chest/triceps/core work.  I really enjoyed the pushups and look forward to getting stronger.  I finished up with some good stretching.

The only other thing I'm dealing with is an out of control appetite.  It's all the (over)eating I did this past week and now I'm suffering a bit because of it.  But it should only take a week or so to tame things back down.  I just need to stay focused, keep healthy snacks on hand and drink lots of water!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Kaiser Half-Marathon 2012 Race Report: My Optimal Plan Realized (with 2 seconds to spare)

The last few days have been a blur.  It's like my life was on fast-forward and it hasn't slowed down.   I am looking forward to tomorrow when I will get a chance to relax.

On Friday morning Miguel, the kids and I flew down to southern California.  We spent the day getting ready for the funeral and I had a bit of respite while getting a pedicure.  I was supposed to go with my mom but we were too late so I went solo.  There was food everywhere I ate like a starving girl.  I just didn't care.  Friday evening was the viewing; I went first and then Miguel went - I didn't think it was a good idea to take the kids.  Come bedtime I was exhausted.

Saturday was the funeral.  My family does not mess around when it comes to saying goodbye.  It was a beautiful service for a truly amazing man and I shed more than a few tears.  Marek said goodbye to Grandad, despite being a bit confused and asking to see him.  Military honors, with Taps played, were delivered graveside and again the tears flowed.  What an emotional day.  We had a whirlwind late lunch with the family (and I just kept eating like it was my last meal) and then left late for the airport - we weren't sure we'd make our flight.  Thank goodness we did.

We walked in our front door at 7:30pm and all of us were cranky and tired.  I got all my stuff together in the midst of feeding the kids dinner and getting them ready for bed.  I had my fingers crossed that I wasn't forgetting anything.  My water intake and sleep had been really bad the days prior so I wanted to get to bed early to try and make up some lost time. 

I got up at 5:30am today.  I am on day 3 (I think) of my period and thankfully it's already slowed down so I was pretty confident I'd get by without a changing of the guard.  Anyway, I got my gear together while I ate a bowl of cereal and had some coffee.  I left at 6:10am to meet my friends, Jackie and Laurie, two mommy friends that did the race with me.  Here we are pre-race, Laurie on my right and Jackie on my left.  They are so awesome and supportive.  Sheesh, I look tired.

After killing some time in line for the porta-potty and then standing around stretching for a while, it was finally time to start!  I was maybe an 1/8th of a mile behind the starting line and good thing because as soon as I started jogging my laces came untied!  I never double knotted them because I wasn't sure how to put on the timing thing and I figured I'd re-tie them later.  I ran to the side and tied them.  I would have been VERY annoyed with myself if that had happened after I crossed the timing mat.

I've read so much about going out too fast so I really took an easy pace.  I was mostly running between a 12 and 13 minute pace.  The run is an out/back in Golden Gate Park followed by an out/back along the ocean before finishing back in the park.  The weather couldn't have been more perfect, a beautiful mid-60's day with almost no wind to speak of.

Very early on I felt like I had to pee again.  Darned coffee!   Around mile 5 the course passed back by the starting line and I had a big debate with myself if I should hit the porta-potty again.  Ultimately I decided that 1, I had a long way to go and if I feel the urge to pee now, it might be painful later and 2, I'd feel a whole lot more relaxed if I peed.  So I ran up to the potty (fortunately no line at all) and ran out when I was done.  Whew, much better.

I carried on and felt really good.  I messed up my shot-blox eating plan and ate 2 every 2 miles instead of every 3 miles.  I realized my mistake at mile 8 when I saw I only had four left.  So I made a new plan to eat 1 at mile 8 and then 1 at miles 10, 11 and 12.  I had an AccelGel for post-race and knew I could eat that if I needed it.  Running along the ocean was beautiful.  I was prepared to start to struggle between mile 9 and 10, where, on my training runs, I usually had to start in with heavy doses of self talk.  But not so today, I think it was the atmosphere.  I definitely had the aches and pains but all the people kept me distracted and kept me going.  Oh, and I also started to feel the need to pee again.  Thank goodness I'd peed at Mile 5 because there were NOT porta-potties to be had.  I knew I had a few miles to go but figured I'd be fine as I hadn't been drinking a ton of water, just a few sips at each water-station while running.

Around mile 10 a speed walker passed me.  Hmm.  I did not want to be passed by a walker.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, I know some of those speed walkers are way faster than my run pace!  This woman had super long legs and I muttered something to myself about her being a gazelle.  So I checked my pace and my heart rate, both could use a nudge so I picked up the pace.  She caught me several more times and each time I sped up.  The fourth time she caught me I said "enough" and really sped up, maybe to an 11:30 pace and didn't see her again.  It was all just fodder to keep me motivated.

I was SO happy when we made the final turn inland and toward the finish line.  The last 1/2 mile or so is a slight uphill and I was happy to engage my quads.  The last 1/4 mile I was feeling good enough to do a sort-of sprint to the finish line. I picked out a few people that I wanted to pass and just used that as motivation to run!  And whew, there I was.  And ouch!  I just ran 13.125 miles and I felt it. Though, according to my Garmin, 13.32 miles.  I guess that means I didn't cut all the corners I should have.  My Garmin average pace says 12:24 and I am super happy with that.

Laurie and Jackie are both speedier than I am so they were waiting there to give me big congratulatory hugs.  And Laurie took finish line pictures!  Thank you Laurie!!

I love this first one because you can see the shadows of people cheering in the bottom left corner.  So cool.  Also, subtract a few minutes from that finish time since I didn't start when the horn went off.

And a close up of my happy self at the big finish!

After the hugs and a few big sighs of relief (and a quick trip to the porta potty) we walked around and took in the scene.  I ate my AccelGel and drank water.  They had some mats and foam rollers so I took the opportunity to roll my thighs a bit, such a good pain.  And we got some good stretching in before heading for the shuttle back to the car.

It was a great day, somewhat surreal and super rewarding.  I ran the entire time and reached my optimal plan.  You might remember I had optimal and bottom line plans.  They were:

My optimal plan:  Finish in less than 2 hours, 45 minutes.
My bottom line plan:  Finish.

Well, take a look at my official chip time!


Thank you to everyone who supported me while I pursued this goal.  Ultimately it was my two legs out there for 13+ miles but I couldn't have gotten to the starting line without you!