Friday, March 30, 2012

Valley-to-the-Sea Race Report AND Lessons Learned

John, Sherri, Yolanda and me, pre-race.
Recent training has been sporadic at best.  Each week I start off with good intentions, then work, drama, life, etc. all conspire to prevent me from making a workout.  

I didn't run any appreciable mileage for the 3 1/2 weeks prior to the Valley-to-the-Sea race.  I knew going in that it would be difficult and, despite my irrational hopes, that I would probably not make my PR goal of a sub-2 hour 1/2.  I tried to tell myself that I had enough run fitness to make it work.  

Lesson #1 - You will lose fitness if you do not run the appropriate mileage before a race.

Still, I was optimistic.  I felt good on race day, had my pre-race smoothie, drank my coffee and water.  It was cool (chilly even, for Maui!) at the race start and there was cloud cover the entire race, which helped keep temperatures in check.

Lesson #2 - Don't mess around with the hydration/nutrition systems you KNOW work for you.

I didn't wear my Nathan water carrier this race.  The course was mostly downhill/flat.  I wanted to run it fast (see previous PR goal) and didn't want the extra weight.  I decided that water at the aid stations and 3 gels would be enough.  But I'm used to carrying my own HEED and having it whenever I want.  I was thirsty and the aid stations were too far apart (not really, but that's how I felt).  

I started off fast (for me) but you can see why - steep descent at the beginning.  I figured if I kept up a good pace at the start it would see me through at the finish.

Lesson #3 - Negative split, negative split, negative split!  Don't go out too fast.

Would I have been better off to slow it down at the start?  Probably.  I should have kept it more at 9:00 mm.  Mile 5 was a long, gradual uphill, which really dropped my speed and where my attitude started to go bad.  Miles 6-9 were downhill again and when I really started talking to myself and giving myself a pep talk, and you can see it in my average pace, which was back on track.

Avg Pace
18:22.0 1.08 7:43
28:02.4 0.98 8:11
39:09.0 1.02 8:59
410:03.5 1.01 9:55
510:23.8 1.00 10:25
69:40.1 0.99 9:45
710:29.5 1.11 9:29
88:27.2 0.90 9:24
99:14.5 0.98 9:25
1012:43.5 1.07 11:57
119:50.4 0.94 10:31
1212:02.3 1.00 12:04
1313:27.1 1.01 13:20

For the record, my actual finish time was 2:10:34 - I forgot to press STOP on the Garmin.  AGAIN.  #74 out of 107. 

At Mile 10, where the ground leveled off once again, the wheels started to come off.  I was done.  I'd had my last gel at about Mile 8 and thought it would carry me through, but I really started to lose it.  At one point I just wanted to sit on the curb and cry like a baby.  I don't know what got into me?!  Yolanda and Sherri passed me at this point and I told them I was fading.  They were encouraging and that kept me going for awhile.  I really tried to HTFU.  My legs were starting to cramp, but I kept up a slow jog until the end.

Here we are at the finish. I am so proud of Yolanda - it was her first 1/2 and she did great!  I was just glad it was over, which makes me sad because I love to race and this one was on a beautiful course, on a great day, and had great volunteers and was run exceptionally well (thanks Rudy!).  Which leads me to:

Lesson #4:  You can't fake a 1/2 marathon.

My quads hated me for three solid days.  I. Seriously. Could. Not. Walk. 

My new Brooks PureFlow shoes, however, were AWESOME!  I still had a couple of blisters, but they were minor.  I will have to tape my feet in a couple of places, I think, to eliminate them, but my feet were not sore and neither were my calves. 

Lesson #5:  Some things DO work, even on a bad day.

Loved my Brooks shoes, Injinji socks ROCK, and even though I missed wearing my water carrier, I liked wearing my Zoot tri top for the race (the back pockets are awesome!).

Monday, March 12, 2012

Things I'm Loving Right Now

Tri-ing to get better about posting!  I have so many ideas and things I want to write down, but there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day.

Here are a few things I've come across recently that I am crazy about:

Brooks PureFlow Shoes  

I needed some new running shoes and didn't know what to do.  I wanted a more minimalist shoe, but still wanted a little extra cushion, and needed to solve the blistering issues I had on longer (10+ mile) runs.

I settled on the new Newton Distance U, but was frustrated because I could only order the 11.5 size I needed directly from Newton and they would only ship to me UPS 2-day air at a cost of over $40.  At $155 for the shoe, I wasn't about to spend that kind of money for shipping - just couldn't justify it for an untested shoe.  Sorry Newton - epic fail on the shipping.

I went to my #2 choice, the PureFlow, hoping that the wider toe box would prevent the blister I was getting on the inside tip of my big toe.  I ended up ordering them from, and got free FED-EX shipping from them.  My shoes were delivered two days after I ordered them.  WIN!

I've run 9 miles total in them so far - 3 miles, then 6 miles, all on the treadmill because we have been continually soaked by rain.  So far I like them and will be breaking them in the next two weeks.  The real test will be the upcoming 1/2 marathon I have on the March 24th.  I'll report back with a more specific fit/comfort review.

Sahale Snacks

These nuts are THE DEVIL!  They are delicious and addictive and I will eat the whole package in one sitting if I'm not careful.  Ideally, I should take the package home then dole out a little at a time in my lunch for the week - NOT take them to work.

The only other downside is that they are not 100% Paleo - there is some sugar and balsamic vinegar - but if those are the only two offending ingredients I'm OK with having them for a special treat from time to time.

 Steve's Original Paleo Krunch

I'll give Steve a gold star even if he does spell crunch with a "k" (major pet peeve). 

I originally ordered this so I could try the recipe for Luscious Lemon Bars in the Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook. Of course, I had to try it before I cooked it up into a recipe and it's wonderful!  However, there is honey in it and I've been having some sugar issues recently, so I had a hard time staying out of it.  This is another item where I can't have an open container around because I will eat too much at once.

It's delicious all by itself, but I like to dip a banana into it for a little crunch. It made a great base for the lemon bars, which I altered and used fresh passion fruit (lilikoi) pulp instead of lemon - and awesome tropical dessert to take to my next potluck.

On the Training Front

I've stumbled a bit on my training in the last two weeks - weather, work, minor illness, family drama, have all conspired to sap the motivation right out of me, but it's a new week and I've got a race coming up.  Time to get with it!