Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: November 2010 (Page 1 of 2)

2010 Race Season: Did I Do All That (Part 1)

It’s been a hell of a year.  Now that I’ve had 24 hours to recover after my last race of the year, it’s time to look back over what I’ve accomplished in 2010 – and thinking about it is overwhelming.  Did I really do all this in the last 10 months?  No wonder I’m ready for a break.

Race #1 – Austin Half Marathon

Febrauary 14th – Austin TX – 13.1 miles – 2:19:36

The year didn’t start out that great.  I trained my little heart out for this race, and ended up getting really sick that week.  I was able to get through it, but it was 19 minutes longer than I was hoping for – it wasn’t even a PR.  However, I’m pretty proud of the fact that I was able to finish the race, and really push myself through the sickness and the incredibly hilly course even though the result of pushing myself wasn’t what I would have liked.  At first, I told myself I did great considering, but after, I started feeling a little bitter about it and wanted revenge.  While I didn’t get back to training for anything for a while, I did return to running much quicker than the last half, which made me happy.  I’m not sure I’d do this again.  The course was seriously brutal, it was expensive, and the finish line was a cluster, and this is one of my really vulnerable to sickness times of year.  But it is… close.  No traveling.  So I’d never say never.

Race #2 – Urban Dare

March 6th – Austin, TX – Scavenger Hunt – 3:59

This was just a lot of fun.  For my birthday I decided I wanted to do something different, and signed us up for a scavenger hunt all around downtown Austin.  We walked the whole thing (minus the last bit since we were afraid we’d get DQ’d because we took too long), but it was an awesome afternoon trying to solve riddles and trekking over 9 miles around the city.  I would definitely do this one again (or something like it).  They have one by bike that sounds like a blast too!

Race #3 – Du Loop

April 3 – Flatonia, TX – 5k run, 8 mile bike, 1 mile run – 1:18:45

This race was actually at a friend of our neighbor’s property.  There were only about 30 people, it was totally unofficial, I only had a WEEK to train, but it was my first race with a bike.  I was hooked.  I loved the training, I loved the challenge of two disciplines, and it was both awesome and humbling to get SPANKED by almost everyone there.  Including people over twice my age.  And then sitting around a campfire toasting marshmallows and listening to stories of ultra marathons.

Race #4 – Warrior Dash

May 2 – Forney, TX – 3.5 mile mud/obstacle run – 43:35

Was it the craziest frickin’ day of my life like the race advertised?  Maybe not, but it was a HELL of a lot of fun.  We ran the course together, through each wall climb, mud slide, muddy creek run, and of course, the leap over the fire.  Did we go fast?  Nah.  But we had a blast.  Then, we set up camp all afternoon with some beer and watched people go over the fire.  It was my first race experience where I didn’t just want to die after and really enjoyed the festivities and enjoyed being a spectator.  I would (and did) do this race again.

Race #5 – Gladiator Games 5k

May 21 – Austin, TX – 5k – 25:10

I had no hopes for this one – but I ended up being very glad I did.  I hadn’t been running that much lately because my heels were hurting, but it was a free 5k so we decided to come out and give it a go, even though we were debating not doing it even as early as that morning.  I still will never know if it was a short course, but I do know I ran it hard, and anything’s possible.  Zliten also ran it hard (he had been training) and got his best time ever – 32:16.  I went directly from this race, cooled down a bit, and then got in line for the obstacle course.  I was doing great until the monkey bars…damn my lack of grip strength!  I still am pretty amazed at my time – and will feel much better one day when I duplicate this (and hopefully smash the time) at an official type race.

This wraps up the first half of the year.  What happened in the second half?  Stay tuned for the next post…

(Almost) Wordless (Almost) Wednesday

Since it’s a short week, gonna count it as the “Wednesday” of my week so I can get the clever alliteration.  These bad boys are from the Warrior Dash this weekend.  Roar!

More soon.  I still am collecting my thoughts about what’s next and collecting a righteous festivus worthy airing of grievances… but for now, I’ll be thanking turkeys with family and friends all weekend.  Have a happy t-day!

San Antonio Rock and Roll Half Marathon – Race Recap

So here’s the long version, Part 1.

Pre-race:

The expo was really, really well handled.  It could have been a cluster, but I got my packet, shirt, and goodie bag within 15 mins.  Finding my way OUT of the expo?  That was harder but I managed.

Then, we did a whirlwind check in to the hotel and then drove up to an Italian restaurant to meet up with Tricia, and some other new friends (Dawn, Crystal, and Adam, who I am looking forward to checking out their blogs).  Pic stolen from Tricia.

The food was pretty good, and most importantly COMPLETELY non-offensive to my tummy, and the company was good.  I mean, I felt sorta outclassed at first (being that I was the ONLY half-marathoner in a group of marathon mamas), but I got a nice boost when we started talking about the game I work on and we are asked for pictures by their kids?  Yeah, felt better, hehe.  It was really great meeting everyone!  By the time we left, there was a HUGE line.  I never would have thought about making reservations, and also about eating so early, but it worked out SO WELL.  Thanks again to Tricia for getting us all together!  After, we went back to the hotel and set out everything for tomorrow, watched TV, drank my “go to sleep” mellow drink thing, and settled in…

…for the WORST NIGHT OF SLEEP EVER.  Seriously.  The bed wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t great, the hotel walls were paper thin and we faced the street so we heard EVERY CAR passing, and all the people outside partying.  Bleh.  I slept MAYBE 4 hours total.

Race Day:

Considering I wasn’t really asleep, 5:30am wasn’t that big of a deal.  I ate my protein bar and tried to get everything outta me that didn’t need to be there, but my intestines were not having it.  I got dressed, ended up being warm enough just to don the light jacket, and not need the gloves, headband, or fleece I brought, nommed a bit of cereal from the continental breakfast, and headed over.

It was GREAT staying about 1 mile from the start line.  The walk was a great warm up and it was refreshing not to have to deal with the driving/parking/shuttle situation which sounded craaaaazy.  We got to the corral 30 mins before race start and I thought about trying to use the bathroom (my tummy was even a little grumbly), but the HUGE LONG LINES made me just suck it up and get ready for the race instead.  I downed my half a redbull shot and then started to dance and jump around with nervous/excited energy.

The race start was actually really well done – lots of good peppy music, and the wave start made it so not everyone was running at the start all at once.  I even started to feel a little emotional – not sure why.  Maybe it was so many people around being all excited to race, maybe it was the whole reality of getting to race day healthy, injury free, rested, and with an actual chance to PR this time, maybe it was just close to TOM – but I just felt so… good.  And ready.  And freaking PUMPED (just in time, right?).

The Race:

It’s all sort of a jumble from here.  My mind sort of shut off and got into a rhythm.  I obsessively garmin-watched the first half mile just to make sure my pace was right on, but then I resolved to only look a few times each mile.  While the other long runs, I was having trouble keeping my pace faster than 10 min miles – for this one I occasionally caught myself in the 8s and forced myself to slow down.  This was even fighting some major traffic as I was going way faster than my pace group.

The course had some up and downs but nothing major, and the miles flew by.  1, 2, 3, 4, 5… I know I passed the alamo somewhere but I don’t remember it.   At 5 miles I grabbed my caffeine beans and ate them over the next miles on downhill stretches.   Around mile 6 I realize how WELL I was doing (I think I was at about a 56 minute 10k) and how well I was FEELING and got very excited, but knew that the toughest part of the race for me was ahead.  But I didn’t hit any snags.  7 and 8 were just as easy.  I was right around a 9:10 pace – which is what I needed to run a sub-2 hour half.  Sure, I had a few aches and pains here and there, but nothing was really registering.

Somewhere in mile 8 I realized that if I ran the 5 miler of my life, I could have a really good shot at coming close to that sub-2 hour race.  I figured I took the first half a little *too* easy to actually 1:59 anything, but 2:02 or 2:03 wasn’t looking out of the question.  So I dug in, turned my focus from the cheering crowd to a spot about 3 feet in front of me to really get in the zone and try to stick around 8:30-9 min miles, and it worked.  For a while.

It was just a little too fast for me, so after about a mile of that I slipped back to 9-9:30.  Then we had a hill around mile 10 and it was closer to 9:30-10 in patches, but who’s to complain – that’s still WAY ahead of my goal pace.  I had ran the 10 miler of my LIFE, at an average of around 9:30 miles.  I just couldn’t keep it up the last 5k.  Then mile 11 hit.

I just couldn’t keep it up.  Mile 11 sucked.  I haven’t analyzed the garmin results yet, but I’m thinking 10:30 pace, best case.  I never stopped running, but it was not the mile 11 I wanted.  I lost a little bit of the jovial attitude and that mile was definitely the longest one of the race.  In my head, I just wanted it to be mile 12.  Mile 12 would be better.  Mile 12 was the last full mile.  It would all be alright if the GORRAM FUCKING GARMIN would just tick over to 12.

And finally it did.  I decided to play the music game.  I was going to run as freaking hard as I could, screw the pace, and check my garmin ONLY after each song.  Basically, the treadmill game for intervals and tempos.  It worked, I would be surprised if I was much over 10 min pace for that mile, if not still under.  Then, the first BIG HILL of the race.  At about mile 12.8, right to the finish.  Yeah, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry either.

I knew the finish was around the corner so I powered up it, and sprinted as fast as I could across the finish line, and had another one of those “shuffle shuffle shuffle” finishes (though it was much less of a cluster than the Austin one – only took a few minutes).  I got my medal, then got a recovery drink, and then grabbed some random food and found the family meetup area – and no Zliten yet.  Sat down, stretched out, and waited a bit.  The exhaustion and owie started to fade and I started to get really jazzed about my time.

He finally found me, apparently he hadn’t been able to catch me ONCE besides the start and it took him 20 mins to get through to the reunion center.  One downside to big races – much different than us even being able to chat through each transition on the last tri with 300 people.  I ate some fruit, and got up and we pushed our way back through the cluster which was the exit.  We walked the mile or so back to the hotel, which was awesome to have to do because it’s really bad to just STOP after a race, but it is ALL YOU WANT TO DO WITH EVERY FIBER OF YOUR BEING.

We showered, packed up, ate a post race meal of Fuddruckers (what can I say, it was what I was craving) and then came home to drink champagne!  And apparently got really tipsy and spend 300 bucks on flying lessons, but that’s another post for another day.

All in all – THRILLED.  Great race.  PR by more than 8 minutes on 3 weeks of training post tri/pre taper?  I’ll take it!

Part 2 will include an early festivus airing of my race grievances, and I’ll post my “what’s next” thoughts.  Coming soon.

Half Marathon 3, or the Goldilocks Race

The first half was too hot.  And my first.  And almost a trail race, which I wasn’t ready for and really sorta hurt myself.  I started to slow after the 10k.  My porridge was 2:16:18

The second half was too cold.  And I was sick.  And OMFG the hills.  I started to slow after mile 7 and even had to walk a few times.  My porridge was 2:19:36

The third half was just right.  I was healthy and rested.  Couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather.  Comparably flat (mostly).  I made it through mile 10 without any issue, slowed for mile 11, and picked it back up for the last mile.  My porrige was a kick ass PR of 2:08:08.

Those bears got nothin’ on me.

More later, I have champagne to enjoy.

p.s. Love my Zliten for being my most awesome athletic supporter (hehe).

Get it done

This was a good weekend.  For the first time in a while, I stayed mostly close to home, and while there was a little excess in the food, and one evening where a little too much whiskey disappeared, it felt like it recharged me.  I don’t feel so darned burned out.  It may only last a few hours into Monday morning, but it’s the first time in a while that I have not woken up with an “ugggghhh, not this again” attitude on a Monday.

Even though I hate the time change with everything in me, because it gets dark at like, 6pm now, and I’ll never see sunlight after work again for at least the next four months, it has been nice to get that extra hour of sleep.  My alarm clock which auto syncs the time actually changed last week, and since I didn’t know how to change it back, I just left it.  So I half shifted myself last week into the new schedule and slept in a little later.  Maybe that’s part of it – more sleep.  It’s not that I deprive myself, but a lot of 9 hour nights last week (last night was almost 10!!!) and something in me started like it had begun to heal.

Maybe it was also the taper.  While normally 17 miles in a week is pretty kick ass for me during non-half training season, it was a downright vacation last week.  This week is even better, with 3-ish today, 3 Wednesday, and 2 on Friday (if I even do this one – I added it to the program to keep my legs loose, we’ll see if I even feel I need it).  I also swam twice (even though the second time was short) and did weights once.  While I could have definitely done more hardcore crosstraining, I think with how easy the runs are coming, I’m not lacking in cardiovascular endurance right now.

I’m also taking a stand with this crappy eating I’ve been doing lately.  We’ve been going out a lot, I haven’t been tracking calories, and I’ve slooowly started going to brie and cracker snacks instead of carrot snacks.  I mean, I still adhere to a lot of the basic principles of healthy eating – grilled not fried, no mayo on the sandwich, salad instead of chips, etc etc.  However, it’s been a little too much volume for the quality, and a few not-so-good choices have slipped in there (hallo spicy cream sauce on my pasta last night making me feel craptastic).  No more.  This week (not even waiting til after the race, or a week after the race), we’re back to healthy, homecooked food for the vast majority of our lunches and dinners.  Even though SOME people can eat snack cakes and be fine, those of us pushing

I considered tracking this week, but I think I’m going to wait – the last thing I want to do is freak out at the calories I’m eating, eat less, and be weak for the race.  This week, the goal will be to focus on good, healthy choices in whatever quantities make me full, but not overfull.  Next week, I’ll begin tracking, but not set any sort of calorie goal per day.  The week of Thanksgiving (yeah, I know, great timing, right?) will be the first week where I aim to keep my calories at a certain level.  We’ll see how it goes.

Last week by the numbers:

Monday: ladder sprints (400m w/u, 400m @ 7.5, 400m recovery, 800m @ 7.2, 400m recovery, 1600m @ 6.8, 400m recovery, 800m @ 7.2, 400m recovery, 400m @ 7.5, 400m race pace, 400m cooldown)
Tuesday: off (I voted at least!)
Wednesday: 5 mile tempo run (47 mins)
Thursday: weights and a swim
Friday: off
Saturday: 8 mile run (1:18!  All paces this week under 10 min/mi! Woohoo!)
Sunday: short swim

And this last and final half training week:

Monday: 800m warmup, 4×400 @ 7.5 w/400 recovery in between, 800m cooldown
Tuesday: 30-45 min swim
Wednesday: 3 mile tempo run
Thursday: off
Friday: 2 mile run
Saturday: off
Sunday: RACE DAY BABY!!!

I’m also looking forward to supping on carbs the night before with Tricia from www.enduranceisntonlyphysical.com and some other bloggers.  Should be fun!

And on that note, I think that’s it.  No crazy nerves (though I am finally getting a little EXCITED, so that’s good), no overpowering inspirational and motivation speeches.   I’m just going to get out there, run the race I have in me that day, and see where I end up.  I have a goal, I have a strategy, but I also have the realization that this will almost assuredly not be my last half.  And the way to PR for me seems to just let go, be rested, have a good playlist to rock out to, and just get it done.

So get it done I shall.

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