Austin Half Marathon:
I really should write these up sooner but I’ll give you the deets of what I remember.
For Zliten, this was an A race – meaning he tapered, rested, and did all the things a good boy should.
For me, this was like a C- race – basically playing support, coach, and having an awesome training run with my 20,000 best friends. I went so far as to do a 1 hour weight workout the morning before the race, and did not taper in the slightest.
Zliten was pretty nervous. I do have to admit, I had played up the hills A LOT. It’s not an easy course. It’s basically the opposite of 3M.
Because at 3M, the porta potties were right by the parking garage, which I assume was right by bag check, which was right by the start. At Austin, we parked where we did 2 years ago, not realizing the start line was different. Then, we walked a mile to find some porta potties. Then, we walked a mile back because bag check was by the FINISH, not the start. Then, we were hurrying to the start, and had another porta potty need, and there were NO POTTIES to be found at the start. Luckily, we were able to sneak in a building and get our pee on before the cops kicked us out. We arrived at the start line and found our corral (the very back) about 6 minutes before the gun went off. Oddly enough, out of 20000 people, we met up with a coworker!
My gear had started with my normal addidas headband, a Nike Drifit shirt, a wicking tank under, Asics sleeves, cheapo gloves, compression shorts, cheapo BCG running pants, my CEP compression leg sleeves, my new Wigwam IM socks, and my new Asics Cumulus shoes. It got warm real quick walking around, and ditched the undershirt and the gloves (hello Austin, check out my sports bra).
The gun went off and it took us 20 minutes to get cross the start. I surmised that I’d have the sleeves down by mile 1 and at .95 it happened. I don’t remember all that much about the early miles, it was a gorgeous morning and I was feeling pretty great. Miles 1/2 were mixed, but 3-6 were straight uphill. Even so, I actually remember hitting around mile 5 and thinking “Already? I’m so not ready to be this close to done yet!” These were done, honestly, pace was all over the place, but splits were showing about 11 minute miles.
Around mile 6, from all that walking and standing, my back started getting a little stiff. Thankfully, what goes up must come down, and we pounded out some really quick miles (in the 10s) to try to gain some ground before the killer hills to come. The only complaint was my feet are still getting used to these shoes, and here it started to take it’s toll. They are one step down in cushioning, so they’re lighter, they actually hold my feet snugger (which I like), but they seem to be stimulating me to use my arches in a different way so those muscles get sore on long runs.
I have to admit here, between the back/glute action, and the sore feets, I went from Party in the USA to just sort of getting it done. I also decided to try a new race fueling strategy – no camelback, no gels, just gatorade. I don’t know if I’d use it for an A race (I’m used to more caffeine on a race course), but it kept me going. Gels and I are having a bit of a falling out, especially once I broke up with marathon training. The big G was actually MUCH milder on my tummy than most gels, so it’s a strategerie in progress. Next time, maybe I’ll try gatorade with some supplemental caffeine chompers (chocolate covered expresso beans? who knows…).
At mile 10.8, the marathoners split off. I had spent a while wondering how I’d feel at that point, but with my glutes and my arches, I was nothing but happy. I don’t doubt I will tackle a marathon someday, maybe even this year, but this was not that day and this is not that course.
Also around that mile, I realized we were in it for a significant PR for Zliten. Over 3M. I tried to keep us moving and knew that we had that hill at mile 12 that was a walker. Of course, what’s the last couple miles of a half marathon course without a few wrenches thrown in – Zliten’s calf decided to cramp up. We walked it out, ran when we could, and then the last 3/4 mile I tried to drag him as fast as I could to the finish. When I ran with him, he’d slow down, but when I ran ahead a little, he kept up. I totally understand, when I’m feeling rough in a race, I lock my eyes on someone ahead of me and try to “magnet” my way up there. It wasn’t the delicious all out sprint of a finish I love, but we crossed strong at 2:28:57. Less than 2 minutes more than #1, which was a completely downhill course. I am so proud!
Half marathon #2 for Zliten and #7 for me in the books. Now, it’s time to shift training focus. I’m giving Zliten a month off organized training to do what he wants. I’m also not following any sort of race training plan for the next month, but I do have other plans….
A Ray of Light?:
Perhaps all has NOT been for naught. Perhaps I hadn’t quite tried all the keys for the lock yet.
The scale is still not cooperating at 178-ish. However, I really and truly am seeing some progress in the last few weeks with my face:
New fave race tee btw. a) It is perfectly sized for me. b) It is not white or uggy grey. c) It looks like a flaccid penis. I mean, what else do you want out of a shirt commemorating your marathon or half marathon?
Anyhoo, I snapped THIS one after the race:
It’s a little bit “myspace angle” but still, not the chipmunk cheeks I’ve been cursing. While I don’t have any snappy pictures of it, my pants are also fitting better and there is much less pooch.
I really should have taken some measurements, and I should probably do that this week if that’s how my body is going to roll. The body fat sensor thingee is also down but it seems so unreliable (like, whether I’ve chugged water or not is a much bigger factor, I doubt I’m changing 5% body fat in a matter of days).
So *something* is working. And while I don’t think it’s really feasible for me to stay my weight and look and feel and operate on the race course the way I want to long term, it’s at least something. Progress is progress.
So focus for next week is:
-Lifting and pushing and pulling lots of heavy things. So far, 30 mins of weights, and 50 mins center barre class – I’d like to hit it one or two more times this week.
-Cardio, for a while, is second priority. My race this weekend is an indoor super sprint tri which I can complete in my sleep, and I’ll go at it as hard as I can, but there is really no specific training I can do this week (besides reaquainting myself with the spin bikes and remembering they hurt my ladybits a lot without padding) to improve my performance.
-Maintaining a decent calorie deficit (500-1000) while eating good things. Emphasizing protein as that’s what my body is craving (makes sense while upping the strength).
-Introducing a little more grain back into my life. Considering 6 months without it didn’t do squat, I’m trying re-introducing sprouted grain bread for healthy sammiches. This is pretty much the only diet modification that I feel like was a bust, to be honest, every other grain I used to eat, I’ve found a work around to keep it in my life in small amounts or don’t miss.
Two Other Things:
We tried the bacon shake from Jack In The Box…
I mean, if you can’t indulge after running a half marathon, when can you? It was actually delish – tasted like breakfast in a shake (maple syrup, smoky flavor, mmmmm). Full disclosure, we split one and some of it is still in our freezer. It’s just a lot of sweets and while delish, it’s too much for us.
Usually, expos are a bunch of “meh”, get in, get out, get on with life. However, most “expos” are just a room with numbers and a few booths. I remembered the Austin one being huge two years ago, but to save on parking, Zliten dropped me off and circled the block a few times. This time, we came by our favorite running store’s booth – TX Running Company – and they had a huge sale.
I have been playing around with the idea of getting some lightweight speed shoes, and for 50 bucks, I got Brooks Racers. Zliten also picked up a pair of Brooks as well. We got 5 dollar running socks, and he picked up some other gear. We also picked up some lemon tea nuun and got a free bottle. Score!
Have you tried the bacon shake (I’ve heard it’s actually vegetarian!)? Hit up any awesome expos lately? Pumped some iron? Do tell…