GO STL, Redux

Jun 18, 2015

"I love running more than I love racing." Wait, I said that?!

When I first started running it was all about QUANTITY -- high mileage, running almost every day and signing up for races without giving thought to training cycles, and no regards to nutrition. I could go on, but I won't, because looking back it's cringeworthy. You live and learn. Speaking of learning, I came across my lessons learned after my first ever half marathon and history has spoken -- I've always sucked at nutrition and cross training, until recently.

After many life lessons, injuries, and years I began (slowly) figuring out that what I put in my mouth did matter, racing too close together (despite a training plan) assuming I'd race efficiently (or even PR) was not going to happen, and if I ever wanted to truly chase some lofty race goals I'd have to get my act together.

Scaling back to running 3-4 times a week and making cross training a priority (4-5 times a week), focusing on specific races/goals have made a tremendous difference. It just took time. QUALITY is my new favorite word.

I alluded before in a prior post apprehension racing again, after all I hadn't been setting myself up for small victories (at all), and the entire process (of failing over and over again, ad nauseum) takes a toll (and the enjoyment) out of it to be quite frank. To clarify, every run/race isn't sunshine and sprinkles, but had I taken care to set myself up for small successes, I think I'd been happier in the long run with slow progress, rather than backward progress, you know?

Coming back after running my first marathon was extremely slow, I'd taken months off, partially due to epic burnout and nagging ITB issue I didn't realize I had until post race left me barely weight bearing for three days. 

I have a point, I promise.

This training cycle I set off with a goal in mind: beat my current PR  from the first half marathon I ever ran in 2012. I didn't care if it was three seconds or thirty. 

Coming off marathon training I essentially started from scratch just moving my feet for extending periods of time. Thankfully Class Pass (best investment, ever) came into my life and took my workouts up six notches. I chose classes based on my training schedule and really focused on nutrition (and had barely any weight fluctuations through race day) and cross training. Throughout the cycle I felt strong and confident, something I hadn't felt in, well I don't recall.
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Going to the race expo reminded me how much I truly love to run, despite the speed or distance, and I vowed to myself I'd cross the finish line grateful.

It didn't hurt to have a wonderful friend championing an incredible cause for her son as motivation either.

JDRF had New Balance tanks for ten dollars(!!) so I snatched one up with the quickness and handed it off to Kelly to have her son decorate it.

My pre race meal consisted of Mexican (light on the cheese and dairy), from a retirement party earlier that day and a margarita. That evening I laid out all my gear, per race ritual and was in bed by 9p. 

Leave it to me to set the wrong alarm (pm, not am -- rookie mistake!), waking with sheer terror to realize corral time was in, ten minutes. Luckily for me, my husband RALLIED, rolled outta bed and was like "get dressed, I'll be in the car". I forgot to set the coffee pot (because I'm usually awake two hours before a race), but had already set out Amino Energy so I dumped an extra scoop in and called it good. Washed it down with a tablespoon of peanut butter and was out the door.

Apparently I turned off all the lights and tidied up after myself as I'm told by Mark, who was astounded considering I was epically late. Haha.

By the time we made it to the start I'd finished my amino energy and that, coupled with sheer adrenaline to met up with the JDRF team (and get my tank) prior to the gun start got all my blood pumping. Due to corrals I had to weave a bit to find them, and my sheer panic (no doubt, I was manic), a kind woman in the med tent let me use their restroom. After a bit a texting back and forth I found the group and wedged through the corral barrier (no shame) breathless and buzzed on caffeine. 

Changed into my tank (again, zero shame) in the middle of the corral and finished stretching after my sprinting about to the corral looking for them. I was so flustered I was shaking during photos, surely an awesome first impression for those kind people. There were a few moments to catch my breath, properly say good morning to everyone and get settled as we moved ahead to the start. 

Miles 1-3: After nearly forgetting to start/set my garmin we were off and headed across the Eads bridge. I ran with two ladies (2nd and 3rd from the L.) for a bit, took in the cool morning, and actively tried to calm my nerves from my late wake up. The new course was a dream (running a few years back I had memories of hellacious elevation), and going across the bridges was a welcome distraction. My pace was steady but medium effort, not too fast, but enough to wake up my legs.

Miles 4-6: Breezing through the buildings downtown was welcome and needed, at this point I was warming up (I wore tights and long compression socks). I took care to play my music only when I felt I needed it, which gave me something to look forward to and kept my mind busy.

Miles 7-10: Passing the Brewery, through Soulard, and tucking into a few neighborhoods made for great scenery despite it being my hometown. It was around this point the course overlaps so I saw a few friends and a Mary from ORFB a fews years ago. Around Soulard Market they were giving out chocolate(!) which was a fun treat after taking gels every three miles prior.

Miles 11-13.1: My pace felt harder, so I couldn't tell if I was slowing or what, so we took a few brisk walking breaks to muster up the energy to finish strong. It helped, and although I was tired, I was bound and determined to finish strong and leave everything out there. With about a quarter mile to go I started pep talking myself (in my head and aloud), entered the finishers chute and gave it everything I had till I crossed the finish line.

Got my medal, some snacks (Graham Snackers rock!), and made my way out of the finishers area, taking note that upon completion, my L. leg was in excruciating pain like after Detroit. Lovely.

Mark made it back in time to see me finish, and was waiting on the sidelines to greet me after finding one another in the crowd. I glanced at my garmin and saw that I'd possibly PR'd, but didn't give it a second thought because I wanted to check the official times since I was late to start my garmin, and because my L. leg was hurting so much I could barely concentrate on walking to the car, let alone multitasking.

What I found when we got to the car was...

Official Time:  2:18:05

PR!!!!! I ran with a consistently medium hard pace and shaved three minutes off my time. I was on cloud nine. Results, HERE -- my bib is 7910.

Man, that felt fantastic. 

We headed to brunch at Treehouse amid some serious cramping on my end, probably due to not having my pre race 1/2 banana, but I PR'd so I persevered. 

Came home, took a nice long shower, slathered my legs in BioFreeze, put on my compression tights, slipped on my Uggs and baked my sisters birthday cookie cake before rushing out the door to celebrate her birthday, with pizza.

Man I love running.

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  1. It's crazy how much really goes into running (like food, cross training, etc.) besides just logging the miles. It's taken years for me to figure that out as well. One of these days (say three or four months...) I'll start back up, and I'm positively giddy about it.

    Side note: WAY TO GO ON YOUR PR!!! Holy buckets, Batman - THREE minutes?! That's awesome. You rock!

  2. one of my fav chocolate chip cookies


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