Race Day · Recap · Run!

Big Sur Half Marathon Recap

Going into this race I had very few expectations and more than a few concerns.  In an effort to keep things light and fun (and help my indecision) I took to Instagram with a race day outfit vote.   The outfit I was leaning towards got zero votes.  Oops.  😢

IMG_2987I only ran 2.5 very slow treadmill miles in the week leading up to the race.   My left foot was bothering me and my left knee has been aching for a week or so.  What I was not expecting was the sharp stabbing pain in my right ankle that I woke up with on Monday.  It even hurt lying down.  WTF?  My left leg is the problem child never the right.   Taper crazies, maybe?  Who am I kidding I don’t run enough to need to taper but I was holding on to that thought all week.   Better a phantom pain than a real injury.   My attempt at running on Tuesday didn’t end well and I tend to run oddly on the treadmill so I just rested the rest of the week.

I was so worried about my weird aches and pains I somehow forgot about the one thing that can really mess up my running- my stomach.  Saturday morning was not a good one.  I was taking all the emergency medications my doctor has prescribed in hopes that I would be fine on race morning.  Grr, but let’s move on.    Monterey is a little over 2 hours away but the drive didn’t seem that long.   We stumbled upon the expo as soon as we hit town- sweet!    The expo was medium size and well-organized.    I think it hit a new record for distance between bib pickup and shirt pickup though.    I picked up a few things- 2 shirts, a Sweaty Band (my first!) and some Gu gummy things. I don’t know why I buy fuel when I never use while running but it’s better to be prepared right?   We then wandered around Monterey on foot before checking into the hotel.  Dinner was decided by proximity to the hotel and was California Pizza Kitchen.  Gluten free pizza for the win!  Not that I have a gluten problem but my stomach was so jacked up already I wasn’t taking any chances.  Then it was back to the hotel to get some rest.    I was super tired and my left foot was starting to hurt.   I was in bed by 9.

Race day!

The rain they had been predicting was coming in later than they thought and that made me happy.   I got to the starting line around 6 for a 6:55 start.  Seriously this was the chillest start I’ve ever seen.   Over 8000 runners and there was no wait for the port-a-potties.  What?  No one even got into the corrals until about 5 minutes to the start.  I also met Heather of wholehearted wife while loitering around the start line- Hi Heather!   The announcer was upbeat and very clear about the course and race directions.    I had my headphones but I was going to try to run without them.   There was supposed to various types of music played throughout the course so I figured I would try to go with just that.

I kind of look like I am stumbling home from a party not heading out for a race.
I kind of look like I am stumbling home from a party not heading out for a race.

I was in corral D which was for a 2:00 hour finish prediction.  Apparently I was feeling optimistic when I registered 6 months ago.  😉    I put myself in the very back of it.   While I said my only goal was to have fun, I did have a time goal in mind.  I was hoping for a 2:15 finish.  If I could do that under trained and tired than maybe I have improved a little this year.   I tossed my sweater to the side just as the first wave went off.  My corral crossed the starting line a little after 7:00am, sooner than I had anticipated.  The start was that smooth.

Miles 1-2 –  9:51, 9:36

We were running back up into the city.  I noticed there were still runners walking to starting corrals.  I know it’s chip timed but really?  There was also a woman in front of me running barefoot.  Really?    Ouch.   I also got the first shout out about my socks. 😃  The first course music was a keyboardist playing the Rocky theme song- sweet!  Mile 2 led us into the Cannery Row tunnel.  Never having run through a tunnel, I wasn’t sure what to expect.    The far end of the tunnel was manned by a DJ and had a light show rigged up.   It was kind of awesome.   But the way Gangham Style was reverberating around the tunnel made me glad when I was out of it.   I had expected my Garmin to lose signal in the tunnel but somehow it picked up distance.  From there out, my Garmin was about 2/10th’s ahead of the mile marked.   It stayed consistent so I am fairly comfortable with my mile splits.

Mile 2
Mile 2

Miles 3-5- 9:56, 10:30, 9:41

Ocean views, Cannery Row, dancing jelly fish outside the aquarium?  This race rocks!  Then there was the elementary cheerleaders and a drum line.  I love drum lines.   I was keeping the pace I wanted and feeling pretty good.  And I was still taking pictures as I ran.  Which came in handy during the first out and back section.  The elites!!  I noticed the course marshals and lead cyclists coming so I had my phone ready.  They are so damn fast!  Kara Goucher snuck up on me and she was the lead female!   Sarah Kiptoo passed by a few people later- she didn’t look like she was having a good day.   I was also surprised to see a man running in a loin cloth carrying a spear running the race.  What?!


She won!
She won!

Miles 6-9- 10:03, 10:23, 10:47, 11:00

I was feeling a little tired but was still holding onto a 2:15 finish.  Seriously the ocean views were awesome.   Aid stations were well stocked and run well.  Water, gatorade, Gu’s, Vaseline and sunblock.  Seriously awesome.  And people were loving my socks- spectators were actually shouting it out to me.  😉  More DJ stations, a blues band and a jazz band.  Then a Tonga drum line.  Did you know they hold a squat while drumming?  Holy burning legs, batman.   The turn around came at mile 7.7.    Mile 8 is always my favorite mile- home stretch baby!

Mile 9.4

I was feeling pretty good and loving the race until…stupid stomach.  I cramped, badly, I felt like I had been stabbed in the middle of stomach.   Come on!   I was so close.   First walk break.  I wish I could say only walk break.

Miles 10-13.1- 12:37, 11:51, 12:01, 11:40

Riding the struggle bus.   It was run-cramp-walk-breathe repeat for the next 4 miles.  I never felt like I needed a restroom break but it just kept hurting.    To add to the pain, both quads and IT bands started protesting the walking portions.  Come on legs- don’t fail me now!    A woman I had been near in the starting corral came up behind me during mile 12.  I was walking.  She encouraged me to keep pushing and I ran it in the rest of the way.   Finish line- yay!!   I lost 8 minutes over those 4 miles.

Finish- 2:23:26

IMG_3153The otter was worth it, though.   I also learned how very breakable the medals are when another runner dropped his.  From there on out through the staging area, I was cradling it.  😄    I almost didn’t take one of the silver sheets since it had warmed up a lot but I was glad I did.  I cooled off very quickly.   The finish area was my only gripe about the race- It wound around and round and I just wanted out.  I grabbed a cup of water and skipped the finisher photos.   The post race food won points for the tiny bag of Fritos and pineapple juice.   As I was leaving the food tent a volunteer was coming back with boxes of something.  He offered one to me- chocolate milk!!!  I told him that he had just made my day.    I finally sat down by an ambulance while waiting for mom to find me.  My knees and quads were pissed but that random ankle pain never made its presence known.

IMG_3200This race was awesome.  It is definitely on my list of races to run again.  It is a very PR friendly course, it has the right amount of flat, incline and descent for most people.   The last 4 miles are some of the flatter miles so negative splits are likely.   That might have been what aggravated my legs though as I am not a fan of flat.  I need to work on that.    Back to the race, the course is amazing and the crowd support was pretty awesome, and I’m not saying that just because they liked my outfit.  😎  Did it go like I had hoped?  No but that’s not the races’ fault.   That’s all on me and some things I need to work on.  However, this was half marathon #6 of 2015- the most I’ve ever run in a year before.   That’s something all by itself.  It’s number I’m proud of.    My last race of the year may have been my slowest but it was still worth it.   And now I have something to beat next year. 😜

Run! · Slacker · Stomach

Not Ok

When your doctor sounds completely bewildered by your test results it means one of two things.  Either it’s time to find a new doctor or you’re just extra special.  I haven’t quite decided which one to think yet.   Maybe both.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ve heard me whine, moan, complain about my stupid stomach.   Actually I usually call it something much more colorful, it has a few nicknames.    Speaking officially, it’s gastroparesis with a side of GERD.   Or is that the other way round?   GERD was diagnosed about 12 years ago, and gastroparesis about 5.    It was all handled pretty well until June 2014.  Things since then have been one giant flare.     Which has brought on numerous tests, multiple medicines and some more dietary restrictions.  Yay.  I’ve run too many medicated races in the last year+.  Not ok.

I’ve tried to not complain too much on the blog in the past couple of months but I think I failed.   I have been quiet about how rough things have become.   My left side pretty much aches all the time.  I’ve been retaining water, air, something- who knows- to the point that I look puffy and swollen most of the time.  And people have started to comment on it.    I’ve been waiting for someone to ask when I am due since half the time I look pregnant.  Trust me, I’m not.   But my new stretch marks say differently.   Any pictures you’ve seen recently have all been taken from very odd angles to try to hide it.   I am once again living in dresses.   And my running shorts have turned almost scandalously short.   Not ok.

It also finally clicked that my side is affecting my sleep.    I may be a night owl but normally when I do fall asleep, it’s next to impossible to wake me up and I always stayed in the same position.  Curled up on my left side, always.   I’ve tried to sleep in other positions but always ended up back on my left side.    I haven’t been able to sleep on my left side in months.   Grrr.     Oh and my side talks.  Seriously everyone at work has heard it.  Sometimes it sounds like a whale.  At least that’s what a coworker used to say.  Other times a plane. And not in the I’m hungry, let’s growl way.    It moves too.  Yay me.That 'dying whale' sound your stomach decides to make in the most quiet situation.

So when the doctor ordered another CT scan, I was torn about it.  As much as you want answers, you also don’t want anything to be really wrong.  It’s kind of a catch-22.    I’ll also say that the results could have been so much worse.   But words like collapsed and mass are not things you want to read on a medical report.    Or hear from the doctor who sounds completely confused.   So now I wait while they are requesting yet another test to try and figure out what is going on.   But I can’t just wait.

I haven’t had the best luck with Atkins.  Partly because it was a little tricky and partly because I cheated too often.  It was an interesting 3+ months.  I also didn’t like that a lot of the options that were “low-carb” had an ingredient list 5 miles long.   And most of them were words I couldn’t even pronounce.  Also, I can not get into Quest bars, I don’t understand the fascination with them.  That consistency is just odd.    It was a little too easy to eat crappy food as long as it fit within my carb limits for the day. If you ask my mother, Atkins made me worse.   My side’s hurt longer than that so not true.    She also questions if I should be running at all.    Doc didn’t say to stop but I also didn’t ask.    I figured I would stick with 3 days running and slow down my easy runs.  That’s not a lot.


So for plan b (or is it plan f now?) I am wading into the Paleo waters.  I’ve mentioned it in passing before but never followed through.  Now I am really going to give it a try.  Baby steps, but I am going to try.    The plan was to start this week but if you read my last post, you know I cheated more than few times last week.   Instead I started this week with the Slacker version of a reboot.  Starting Sunday, breakfast and lunch were all fruits and veggies via smoothies.   Dinner was usually more veggies.   It was surprisingly easy.    Except for Wednesday night, I had a serious case of the munchies.  All I wanted was cake or ice cream.    Seriously, if the fair wasn’t in town and making traffic crazy I might have headed to the donut shop.    Thankfully, it passed.    I wasn’t expecting miracles but I don’t feel worse, maybe just a little more even.   So, I’m calling it a win.   My mother told me I looked less puffy today.   😉

On another note, since last week I’ve cut my Diet Coke intake in half.  Slacker say what?!  Normal for me was 2 a day.  Now those 2 were 32 oz.   One in the morning and one around 2:30.    I only drink soda at work or when I’m eating out.  I don’t even buy it for home.  Combine those sodas with my usual over indulgence in water and I drink a lot of liquid throughout the day.  😃 I still commute so I added black coffee in the morning to keep me alert.    Baby steps, right?  I don’t think I will ever give soda up completely.   It’s my one vice.    Seriously, it tastes amazing after a race.

Now my challenge is to get through the weekend without backsliding too much.  I also need to double check my list for my first paleo grocery trip this weekend.    I can do this right?  Can I get through cookie Friday?!   Will this help?  I have no idea but at least I am doing something while I wait.    I’m not even aiming high, I would like to follow the 80/20 rule with this new plan.  Mostly because pizza, and the previously mentioned Diet Coke.

Thanks for listening to me whine.

Any Paleo tips?

What’s your vice?  What one food could you not give up?

Run! · Slacker

Running Favorites and a Rough End

Happy Thursday!!!

Tonight’s run started and stayed pretty damn good right up to the end.  So before we get to that let’s do something fun!  I was tagged by Charissa to participate in a running survey/ questionnaire.  So here we go!

1) Location: Trail, Road, or Indoors?

Can I compromise and say dirt roads??  I run mostly on roads but love trails.   However I run a little crazy on trails and that probably wouldn’t be a good idea all the time.  🙂

2) Time of Day: Morning, Noon, or Evening?

Late afternoon to early evening.  It’s partly due to my work schedule and partly due the fact that I love sleep.   I am so not a morning person.  Even races can be rough.

3) Weather: Sunshine, Mild or Hot?

Warm!  Crazy, I know but once I adjust to it, I love high 70’s-low  80’s.  However for races I would prefer it to be in the 60’s.  But I know the way I see the seasons going, I will be running in 90-100 sooner than later.

4) Fuel: Before, After, and sometimes during?

Runner fail.   😦    I don’t fuel before morning runs and rarely during long runs.   I usually have something with me when I am doing more than 10 miles but I rarely ever use it.   My stomach makes those choices and I’ve learned to listen to it.   For runs over 6 miles, I run with Skratch instead of water and I take Gatorade for races.  It’s odd but it works for me.

5) Accessories: Music, Watch & More?

My Garmin is a must, I love tracking those numbers.  I also always have my phone, my inhaler and my pepper spray.   I always listen to music but only keep one ear bud in and keep the music low.   Man, that’s a lot of things.

6) Rewards: Food, Wine, or …?

Food!!!  I love food.   🙂  I celebrate most races with a good burger and fries.   We have a couple of great local burger places.  🙂

7) Type of run: Long, tempo, intervals, hill repeats, progression, or recovery/easy?

Progression.    Tempos and intervals always seem harder and stress me out.  I like how a progression can start pretty easy and pick it up along the way.

I nominate-

Slow but Steady-ish

Boring Broad Runs

Don’t Blink Just Run

Piper’s Run

Embrace the Neon

Single-tracked Mind They count for 2!

Everyone else!!!

Alrighty, back to today.  My stomach was a little asshat today but no worse than it has been off and on since this stupid “flare”.  Seriously, it’s almost been a year.   Ugh.   My training plan called for a 15 minute warm-up, 2×2 tempo miles with a 3 minute jog in between, followed by a 15 minute cool down.   I knew that was unlikely the way my stomach was feeling so I  was optimistically aiming for an easy 4.    It was in the low 80’s when I got to the lake and it felt awesome.  IMG_9846FullSizeRender (4)Somewhere along the line I decided to see what I could handle.  After a warm up mile, I threw in a mile at tempo pace.  Then to give my stomach a little break I walked .10 mile and then ran another tempo mile.  And repeat.   The miles felt comfortably hard and my stomach was cooperating.  I made sure to take a break between all 3 tempo miles just to keep it happy.   After a .75 mile cool down, I was at 5 miles and called it for the day.    I felt pretty good and was stoked about the times I hit for the 3 tempo miles.  I as on the back side of the lake so I figured I would walk back to my car the long way around.  I would stretch along the way and I wanted a few pictures because it just looked so pretty.  The ducks are coming and it was kind of fun running with them flying overhead.   I took a few then I was on my way.  IMG_9854 IMG_9850I didn’t get very far before I was hunched over trying not to scream.   I felt like someone had stabbed me in the left side.   I figured I could breathe through it- nope.  Tried to walk it out- I could barely stand up straight -walking was barely happening.  I sat on some playground equipment to wait it out but it didn’t help.    It took me more than 20 minutes to make it the 3/4 of a mile back to my car.   Once there I finally did let myself moan and curse out loud.    I also googled which side your appendix is on.  I knew it was the right but  it hurt so bad, I figured if I was wrong I was driving myself to the ER.   I wasn’t wrong.  So, what, the gas pains from hell?! Yeah, tmi, sorry.  Now I’ve had gas pains before but this was ridiculous.  I could barely walk, I was hunched over the whole walk back to my car.  But now, I feel better.  Not great but back to where I was before.    I don’t think it was the running that did it, I felt fine, I made sure to check in with myself.    I did go back to my old medication today, so maybe the switch didn’t go so well?   It figures it happens the day after I see my gastro but we have a whole new plan to start next week..so yay?

Happy Friday!!!

What are your running favorites?

Ever have the side ache from hell?