Saturday, April 7, 2012

Marin County Marathon 2012 (10k) Race Report

Friday was fairly uneventful.  I did my morning weigh-in and was up 2 pounds.  The WW meeting was nice, the discussion topic was anchoring.  This blog has become my biggest anchor.  I couldn't quit now, I have a blog to keep up!

I wasn't sure if I should go to the gym given that I had a 10k to run the next day but in the end I decided to just go for it.  I did a 25 minute run at what felt like an easy-ish pace.  Then I did chest/triceps/core for weight training.  When I got home Marek was in a VERY bad mood.  He'd missed his nap (too excited having grandma over to visit) and he was screaming/crying at the drop of a hat.  Not his usual self.  So to distract him and give Miguel and my mother some peace I took him to Costco.  The two of us had hot dogs for dinner and shared a very-berry sundae (ff frozen yogurt with strawberry topping) for desert.  I figured I'd just call it carb loading.  Bad carb loading though.

After getting Marek to bed, which felt like an Olympic challenge, I packed up for the race.  I had some nervousness about how things would go given that I just did the 67 mile bike ride last week and that I haven't trained much at all.  In fact, I haven't done a run more than three miles long since the half-marathon in February.  And all the hills, the 10k route notes total elevation climbing is about 1200'.  A type, right?  I don't really know what that means for comparison but it just sounds intimidating.  Anyway, I knew I wasn't going to back out (something I'd actually considered earlier in the week) so I got my stuff together and finally got to bed around 10:30pm, after tossing and turning I think I went to sleep around 11pm.

Up at 5:30am preparing to hit the road!  I still have my period so I had to take extra stuff, put it in my spibelt along with 6 shot bloks and my ID.  I need one of those RoadID bracelets.  Anyway, I meant to take some ibuprofen but I forgot.  I had my regular coffee Special K cereal for breakfast and we got on the road.  A couple of my mom friends joined us, (Hi Laurie and Karen!!).  Miguel and his friend Marvin were doing the 1/2 marathon so they took a separate car.  This was Marvin's first race ever and Miguel's first 1/2.

Laurie, Karen and I trying to keep warm pre-race

We got to the park and had a bunch of time to kill before the race started.  That's Karen to my right and Laurie next to her.  This was Karen's first race event so it was particularly exciting!  The half started at 8am - I wished Miguel good luck and sent him on his way.  I ate an AccelGel around 8:20am.  The 10k started at 8:45am and I was still feeling really unsure how my body would respond. I started running and hoped for the best.  Once I was warmed up I felt pretty good.

I made a plan to eat two shot bloks at mile 2 and two at mile 4.  Then I'd have 2 left in case I needed the the help in the last two miles.  The first hill came at mile 3 and it was tough!  Here's the elevation profile:

I was shocked to find that I was able to run up that first big hill, which turned out to be the worst one of the day.  I just did what I do on the bike, I picked a spot not too far ahead and ran to that.  Then I picked another spot and ran to it.  Next thing you know I was halfway up.  Once I was halfway I felt I had a chance to make it, which pushed me on to 2/3 of the way.  Once I was 2/3 of the way I just put my head down and pushed through the discomfort.  My body did me proud!  And the scenery on this run was just beautiful.  Most of the time I could see the bay, and the weather - couldn't have been more perfect. 

From there it was rollers, followed by a slight decline.  During the decline I saw Laurie coming up the other way and she told me to "save your energy!"  I was scared of turning around because I knew, what goes down, must go up.  But you know what?  The return wasn't that bad.  Whenever I came to an uphill I just started throwing my elbows back and concentrating on using my quads.  Push, push, push - I'd tell myself.  And it worked!  As I got closer to the park, and realized the hills were all behind me, I knew I'd make it without having to walk.  I didn't walk one time!  Not even when drinking water.

So I'm running along, in the final 1/4 mile of the run and this man comes up from behind and puts his arm over my shoulder - whoa, what the heck?!  "Want to finish together?" he says.  It's Miguel!  He started his half-marathon 45 minutes before me and he caught me.  Hot damn!  I told him he didn't have to slow his time down to finish with me but he said he didn't care about that.  Cool, how exciting!!!!  We ran the last 1/4 mile or so together and raised our clasped hands as we crossed the finish line.  It was so sweet.  Laurie got a picture of us coming toward the finish:

Love that man.  Can't wait to see the official pics.

So, are you ready for my time?  I don't know my official time but according to my Garmin - 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Seriously?!  That's an average of 11:15 minute miles.  Woo-hoo!  So, very, very happy with that.  I'm going to crush my half-marathon time next February at the Kaiser.  Hee-hee.  I'm a runner dork.  Laurie and Karen were both happy with their times too.  We spent the rest of our time debriefing, stretching and hunting down snacks.  Here's a post-run picture:

(l-r) Marvin, moi, Karen, Laurie, Miguel

We got home around noon and after some shenanigans around the house finally got the kids out to lunch.  I probably shouldn't tell you what I ate, but you know I will.  I had an order of onion rings (yes, all to myself) and a bowl of new england clam chowder.  I followed that up with eating 1/2 of one of the kids giant pancakes with butter and syrup.  It was all very satisfying.  And I tracked it all.  I got 14 APs for the run and used a ton of weeklies to count all the high fat/calorie food.  Oh well, not going to worry about it.  I had a relatively healthy dinner, one slice of pepperoni pizza and a big salad.  I plan to keep my eating in check tomorrow.  Though TTOTM + candy is never a good combo.

Well, that's it from me, I'm exhausted.  I don't think I'm going to make it to 9pm.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cramping my Style

What a day!  I was in a semi-bad mood for a good part of the day, mostly due to cramps.  Which is the explanation for my weight gain.  I should have known it was coming given that I was in a completely bad mood on Tuesday.  Anyway, right now I have horrible cramps and am fighting off the urge to go in the kitchen and eat whatever carbs I can find.  So to avoid that I am sitting in bed typing, something I don't normally do. 

Anyway, my day at work ended badly and I left work hoping for salvation of my mood through sweat.  I did 25 minutes on the bike and then did back/biceps/core work.  I was a bit rushed but managed to almost do my whole routine.  I left feeling better but within an hour I was feeling snappy and just wanted to be left alone.  That's not going to happen with two toddlers.  I got through dinner and as soon as I'm done here I'm going to tuck in with a book.

The rest of this week is going to be nuts!  I have the 10k on Saturday.  I have to rush home from that to take the kids to an Easter Egg Hunt.  I'd skip it but I volunteer with the mother's club and it's one of our events.  Fortunately we have no plans Saturday evening.  On Sunday we're having family over for an Easter lunch.  Everyone's bringing food so that should be pretty laid back.  The only question is that of candy.  I don't want to lose control with all the chocolate.  Having my period this week is evil.  Hopefully by Sunday the hormones will have calmed enough that I'll have some control. 

My workouts will be wonky again this coming week too.  My gym is closed on Sunday, this past week of workouts is's all a mess!  Anyway, here's my plan so far:

Friday:  Gym (easy run, no more than 25 minutes), chest/triceps/core
Saturday:  10k (and maybe some weight training later in the day if I'm up for it)
Sunday:  Off from exercise (other than chasing kids)

I hate missing Sundays.  Just throws the whole week off in terms of hitting my goal of exercising 5 days a week.  Might sound silly and trivial given all that I am doing but this is the other side of that double edged sword called being rigid.  The rigidity helps me meet my goal but it nags at me when I don't. 

Ok, clearly this post needs to be wrapped up because I'm not sure I'm even making sense at this point.  Thank you all once again for all the support around my ride (and everything else I do).  It's an awesome thing!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Massage, a Hot Bath and Back To It!!

Thank you all for the wonderful comments.  I don't write this blog to be congratulated but I admit I would have been bummed if no one cheered my accomplishment so thank you for making me smile.  And it's so cool that a couple of the women that were out there that day found there way here too.  I was able to use the coupon to buy a couple of the official photos so I'll post those at the end.

My recovery has been going ok.  On Sunday I got a massage.  I wasn't planning on it but my body just felt so sore and I thought I should do something.  Then on Sunday evening I took a long, hot bath.  I've been popping the ibuprofen pretty regularly.  The funny thing is, for the most part it's not my legs that are hurting but my shoulders.  Ouch!  I might need to get another bike fitting. 

I took the day off from the gym on Monday too but come Tuesday I was feeling like I wanted to exercise.  I was wound up pretty tight at work and also just wanted to get back to my exercise routine.  I went to the gym after work on Tuesday and did a 25 minute run outside.  I am LOVING spring and it staying light longer.  There is just no comparing running outdoors with the treadmill.  After the run I did legs/shoulders/core work.  With the bike having taxed my legs and shoulders I was a little worried about how things would go but I was pleasantly surprised.  Nothing hurt so I was able to do all my normal stuff.  Squats, lunges, shoulder raises, etc.  I did feel tighter than usual when it came time to stretch though.

Today, Wednesday, I am home with the kids so I can't go to the gym.  I wish I could though because with the 10k on Saturday my schedule is wonky.  I think I'll exercise Thur, Fri and then the 10k.  That will be four days of exercise this week.  My gym is closed for Easter on Sunday, plus I'll be recovering from the 10k so next week will be off too since I usually start the week by exercising on Sunday.  Oh well, flexibility isn't just about hamstrings, right?

My weight is up by a couple of pounds.  Don't ask me, I don't get it.  But I'm not letting it get to me.  Just following the plan and knowing that it will all balance out.  Ok, here are the pictures.  Check out all those raindrops!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cinderella Classic 2012 Race Report

Hoping for the Best

Up at 5am and packing up to go.  My dear husband had prepped my bike and put it in the car.  I'd packed my bag the night before.  Speaking of the night before, I'd had dinner with some mom friends, ate A TON (and called it carb loading), got home around 10pm.  After packing and fighting sleep I think I drifted off at around 11:30pm.  Five hours sleep, not the best start to the day but I hear it's normal for you to get a bad night sleep before a big event.  I had my coffee, a bigger-than-normal bowl of Special K, and hit the road to Melissa's.  I got to her house and opted to take my car because I have a bike rack on the top of my car.  Bit of a mistake.

We were driving along, pointing out how the sky looked pretty good and manifesting all the positivity we could muster about the weather when - clack, boom, bang! - something happened on the roof of the car.  Oh no, a bike must have flown off!  Please God, no!!!  We were on the Richmond/San Rafael bridge and it was windy as hell!  I pulled over and jumped out of the car and see that Melissa's bike had blown over, but not off the car, thank goodness.  The back tire strap held it on.  I hadn't tightened the front wheel tight enough and the wind knocked it over.  We wrangled the bike down while fighting the wind and trying not to think about the bike flying over the side of the bridge in the process.  So much for taking my car.  But thank goodness the bike didn't fly off and possibly hurt someone. 

We arrived at the fairgrounds and checked in.  The skies were actually looking pretty good, the clouds had parted and we could actually see some blue.  My back was hurting a bit so I took some ibuprofen for insurance.  Maybe it will be a nice day.

Ready to Start

"Heavy winds and rain battered Northern California on Saturday."

But it was not going to be a nice day.  We'd been happily cruising along for about 13 miles when it started to rain, just sprinkling at first.  I remained optimistic, after all, it was just a sprinkle and there was no major wind to speak of.  By the time we arrived at the first sag stop things had changed quite a bit.  The wind had picked up, it was no longer just sprinkling (but still not a downpour), and the temperature had dropped considerably.  I had some peanuts, a couple oreo cookies (oreos, brilliant!) and a few bites of a banana.  I called Miguel and gave him an update, "cold, wind, rain...not sure how long we'll go but we're heading back out."

Melissa and I pulled out of the sag stop and somewhere over the next 5 miles the downpour started.  And the wind just kept blowing.  I put my head down and pedaled.  I'd lost Melissa but knew she probably wasn't too far behind.  My thoughts were drifting all over the place but kept returning to the question of finishing.   Somewhere along the way I settled on this, "I'll ride until I can't, and when that moment comes, I will stop.  But that moment is not now."
Heavy winds and rain battered Northern California on Saturday.  "It's a pretty strong front," said Austin Cross, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Cross said wind gusts up to 40 mph were reported in the San Francisco Bay area.  -sf chronicle

If I Can

I'd been having some stomach cramps and when I sat up and took deep breaths they mostly went away.  But I was probably not drinking enough water, in fact I'd barely drank any water, so I made a conscious effort to drink more.  I prayed that the lunch sag stop would be indoors and provide some warmth.  Neither were true.  It was at a school and, while we were covered, it was still freezing cold.  And I was soaking wet.  I grabbed a bagel, smeared some cream cheese on it, and found a corner to stand in.  A man was there helping his wife put on more layers.  I had leg warmers in my jacket and asked him if I should put them on, "Put on everything you've got," he said.  Yeah, that makes sense.  Apparently I could no longer think and I was starting to shiver pretty bad.  I pulled off my pants, put my dry leg warmers on and pulled my wet pants back on.  I think I felt better.  I listened to him tell his wife, several times, how much worse it was to be watching someone cycle in these conditions than it was to do it.  I wasn't sure about that but he validated that it was indeed as bad as it felt.

Putting on a Happy Face

People were dropping like flies.  I called Miguel and gave him the update, "I'm going on."  I overheard a woman ask a sag guy, "Are lots of people dropping out?"  He assured her she was not alone in her very sensible decision to call it a day.  Another woman, "The hail did it for me."  I wasn't certain it was actual hail that we saw but it sure felt cold enough to be.  I saw a woman walking her bike around, apparently looking for someone, crying.  Melissa showed up after about 10 minutes and she'd only had a few bites of her food when I said I had to take off, that standing there was worse than being on the bike and I was getting colder by the minute.  And then I noticed her lips.  They were blue!  I asked if she was ok to go on and she said she was.   In looking at the pics of myself I think mine were no better.

Fingers and Toes

We started to pull out and I lost my balance while clipping in and fell.  Fortunately I was barely moving, and I knew I was falling so I landed pretty well.  We got back on the road and I started singing "Old McDonald had a farm...".  What can I say, the cows had inspired me and I was a little nuts at that point.  I was winding my way through what felt like the country and I forced myself to look up and take in the scenery.  I'd lost Melissa pretty quickly and there were periods where I was entirely alone, "must look for arrows."  The route was mapped with pink arrows on the ground and I did NOT want to get lost.  My hands were starting to hurt, I was getting these weird tingly pains when I moved them, like nerves were frayed.  And I couldn't feel my toes.  I tried wiggling them around but that's hard to do in bike shoes.  The wind was such that in one direction it was brutal but in the other it was not.  I focused on the positive, on what was going well.  I approached a couple of women and commented on the conditions, "are you going to finish?" one of them asked me.  "If I can."  "Good for you, we're not so sure."  They pulled ahead of me for a while but then later I passed them as they were waiting for a sag car, "I'm just tired of being cold" one of them said.  Totally.

Wet Roads

The Worst is Over

I kept returning to my mantra.  And reminded myself this would end, that I would be dry and warm again.  Of course I questioned why I wasn't stopping.  I kept checking in with my body and, other than the cold, I actually felt fine.  My legs didn't hurt, I was in good shape.  And I asked myself if I was having fun.  I decided that in some strange way, I was.  And that I was gaining one hell of an experience - that had to be worth something. I stopped at a sag car to fill up my water bottle, "you have more guts than I do to be out in this weather."  I thanked him for the boost to my spirit and moved on.

Official pics (waiting to see if I can use coupon code before I buy them).  I look nuts in that last one!

I passed a Luna Bar cheering squad.  Those ladies were awesome!  Out there in the rain and cold, and cheering us on. I know this whole post probably sounds very dramatic and that's because for me, the day was very dramatic.  I am not a super experienced rider.  This is the longest ride I'd ever done.  In fact, prior to this I'd only done one 50 mile ride, and that was before Marek was born.  All my other rides were less than 35 miles.  Anyway, I knew I was inching closer to the third and final sag stop.  At lunch Melissa had said her husband, Sean, was going to meet us there with towels to dry off.  He actually drove out to cheer us on at the start and was hanging around all day!  I wasn't sure I was going to stop though.  Towels were seeming kind of pointless and I worried that if I stopped I'd never get going again.

Somewhere around mile 45 things started looking up.  The rain was no longer a downpour and the wind had died down.  And mile 45 sounded awfully close to mile 67.  Earlier in the day I'd overheard someone say, "They say the course is 62 miles but actually it's closer to 67", so I'd prepared myself mentally for 67.  I started imagining 20 mile routes around my house and how very doable 20 miles are.  I had done the same thing when I had 35 miles to go and it was helpful.  I should mention the hills but with the weather taking center stage I'd barely noticed them.  I know there were some, I remember fighting with my baby gear, but they must not have been that bad.

Pure Joy

I didn't decide to stop at the last sag stop until I saw it.  I stopped, went pee and ate a few more Oreo's.  Sean was not there so I called him. I told him where I was, "You are tough."  Coming from Sean this is no small compliment, he's an Afghanistan Veteran and looks like a linebacker.  With the lift in weather and being at mile 50 I was starting to feel giddy.  Anyway, Sean told me he'd stopped to meet Melissa around mile 40 so she could warm up in his car.  He told me that she almost quit, that it was still pouring down rain, but that after warming up and drying her gloves she decided to go on.  Yay!  I know how much this ride means to her and I was happy to hear she didn't quit.  I asked a woman what the rest of the ride was like and she said "fairly flat."  Perfect.  I called Miguel and gave him the update, "much better, I think I'm going to make it."  He cheered me onward.

So, 17 miles to go.  My brain was toast and I kept trying to calculate how long that would take.  Maybe a half hour?  Uh, no.  But seriously, I actually believed this for a while.  Maybe I needed to. Around mile 60 my feelings went from giddy to pure joy.  I am going to finish.  I. am. going. to. finish.  I was chatting up anyone that would talk, I was standing and pedaling up little hills, I felt good, strong.  And the weather - well it was like a whole new day.  I took a picture of it but because my camera was all steamed up you can't tell how nice it was.  My jacket was actually drying off.


I saw a sign, "Fairgrounds" with an arrow.  I am so close that there's a sign!  I got excited.  And then, when I came around the corner and entered the parking lot I welled up with emotion.  I felt so happy it was over, so happy I did it, so happy.  A few tears later I parked my bike and went in the expo hall but then realized I'd left my Garmin running.  I stopped it and then went to get my patch and cool socks and sample some energy bars.

Then I sat down with some food - a sandwich, hot soup and more Oreos.  I ate the soup, the cookies, and a few bites of the sandwich when I started shivering again.  So I headed back to the car to change.  I peeled off the wet layers and marveled at how dirt seemed to sneak its way in everywhere!  And oh how lovely my dry clothes felt.  And I realized my lips were blue, still, after all this time.  I think they stayed blue for an hour!

"You won't believe it, Miguel!"
I connected with Sean and we hung out waiting for Melissa.  In the meantime I cheered on other finishers.  She arrived and was equally happy that she'd finished.  We shared some moments from our time apart and commiserated about how awful it was at times and then headed home.

I stopped and got two pieces of fried chicken and then stopped again and got a snickers bar.  I wanted what I wanted and I didn't care about the calories.  According to my Garmin I'd burned over 4,000 calories so I figured it didn't matter anyway. I ate more later at home and in the end I decided to not bother counting my points or log my Activity Points and just call it even for the day.


The day turned out differently than I ever could have imagined.  If I ever expect to ride in the rain again I will take better precaution.  My clothes were ok, but could have been better I think.  I will probably register again next year and hope lightening doesn't strike twice. 

Most important, I tapped into something I didn't know was there.  I had told Melissa I would not keep going if it was god awful.  And then it was, but then I did keep going.  I think I just need to know I can stop if I want to.  Or need to.  I like my new-found motivational statement.  I might have to put it on a t-shirt or something. 

I'll ride until I can't, and when that moment comes, I will stop.  But that moment is not now.


For anyone that might be interested, here are my Garmin stats: