Sunday, August 18, 2013
Kicking It Up a Notch: The Half
Body Fat: I ordered some calipers! I'll have this soon!
Breakfast: Pancakes made from rice flour, oats, flax meal, almond milk and blueberries
Goal: Complete a half marathon without humiliation.
If you'll recall from last week's blog, I was struggling through a horrible 10-mile run on the bike trail (paved) so that I would feel at least a little prepared for today's half marathon. Typically, I actually train for my half marathons. But this was kind of a last minute sign-up that I did just to force myself to build up my mileage for the Iron Warrior next month (the course is about 15.5 miles). Mileage in adventure races is a little different than running straight because you keep stopping to complete challenges. Plus the terrain is totally different (trails, stream beds, crazy hills, etc.). Still, I need to prepare myself mileage-wise.
So this morning was the half. After last week's dismal run, I was really dreading it. I was picturing a 3-hour half. In fact, I swore if I was over 2:45, I wouldn't even go over the mat, because I didn't want my time officially recorded anywhere.
I decided last week's strategy of forcing myself to run very slow did not work for me. I still walked the last two miles, and my quads were killing me. Plus, keeping that slow pace was filling me with some serious negativity that I hadn't felt running for awhile. So for today, I decided my strategy was to just run a pace that felt good--and when I crashed and burned--I crashed and burned. At least the first half would be pretty fast to make up for anything I had to walk.
It was rise and shine at 5am for this one. It was a 40-minute drive, and we had to pick up our race packet. As I mentally prepared, I just hoped that my week of very clean eating (cheese and wheat-free for a week now!) would help me out a lot.
Packets were picked up, and excess junk was dropped back off at the car. The only thing left to accomplish was getting through the porta-potty line in the three minutes we had left before race time. Yeah, that didn't happen. They need at least twice the number of porta-potties at this race!!!! But it was chip timed--so who cares. When you gotta go, you gotta go! So Mark and I got to the start line about 7 minutes late. In fact, two minutes later, they picked up the timing mat--so many people did not get a start time.
I gave Mark my Garmin for this one. I didn't want the stress of keeping a certain pace. I just wanted to run the pace that felt good. It honestly felt kind of nice to be unencumbered by my big Garmin (those of you who know what a control freak I can be sometimes will realize that this was a big step for me).
Let me just say...I may ALWAYS start showing up late for chip-timed races! No crowds at the start that you have to break through--and you are passing people who are at a slower pace the whole way! It is a great ego boost! And then, when you see people heading back (before you hit the turn-around), in your head you think, "Yeah well....I started like seven minutes after you--you're not so hot!!!" (Hey, you can think petty things in your head. Nobody else can hear them)!
Onward...before this blog gets too long...
The only thing I had with me to track time today was my pedometer. And it does track "active minutes." So basically, I could tell how long I had been running by my active minutes. But it did not capture any walking minutes--like at water stops. So I could tell that for the first 8 miles I was keeping pretty steady 10-minute mile pace--which was fine by me. (Last weekend I was doing between a 12 and 13).
Around mile eight, fatigue was starting to kick in. But I still didn't walk. I was playing a little game in my head called, "The more you run, the quicker you'll be done with this sucker!" So other than a few small walk breaks (at one point I was going to load my Zombies Run! app. to keep me amused and motivated, but it wouldn't load).
I ended the half with a 2:18:06 time. Which, in all honesty, is only a few minutes off my personal best (that I trained for). So, not too shabby. I placed very average in my age group, but that's okay. Last week it took me longer than that to do ten miles.
So why did this week's run go soooooo much better than last week's? To me, it's a very simple answer--diet. I did last week's run after four days of restaurant food, more alcohol than usual, and birthday cake and ice cream (and then high school reunion cake). This week I ate very healthy and clean all week. I started each day with a Vitamix smoothie with tons of fruits and vegetables. I had no wheat and no dairy. I cut way back on wine (just had some on Friday after a very stressful vet appointment. Never try to shove two full-grown cats into a cat carrier by yourself. There will be blood loss--most likely yours).
I felt strong and energetic through most of the run today. It was rough toward the end, but I kept going.
So as much as I hate saying goodbye to cheese and wheat, I think it has to stay out of my life on a daily basis. I will allow it for special outings--and that will make it more enjoyable when I do have it!
- J.J. Kunkle
- I am the owner of The Fit Life, LLC. The Fit Life, LLC offers fitness instruction and nutrition counseling in a holistic way. I focus on personal training using mainly your own body strength--very little equipment. I also hold a certification in holistic nutrition. Because nutrition counseling regulations are very strict in Ohio, I'm still working on what nutrition services I can provide to my clients; however, I'm happy to provide general nutrition information. I enjoy teaching TRX, Indoor Cycling, and Boot Camps.
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