California International Marathon Race Recap – Part 2: RACE DAY

Earlier this week I posted about the start to the marathon weekend, and the day before – time to talk about race day!

img_8103-1

At 4am on Sunday, my alarm went off and I was instantly up. I covered myself with BodyGlide to ward off any chafing (more on that later). Then, I got dressed (I wore a lulu bra, tee, socks and shorts. My watch is the new Garmin ForeRunner 902XT, and my shoes are Saucony Zealot ISO. I carried my handheld bottle and added a trusty pair of BMO Vancouver Marathon gloves). I tucked my phone and headphones into the back pocket of my shorts, just in case I needed some mid-race motivation (spoiler alert: didn’t need it!)

2016_cim_course_map_v3-1

CIM is a point-to-point race, and we stayed in a hotel near the finish line in Sacramento. The buses to the start line in Folsom left at 5am, so I added more clothes (lulu warm up pants(old), throwaway sweater, and puffy jacket), and we headed out to the bus. I was trying really hard to eat, which just meant that I was carrying my breakfast with me. It’s a cup of black hotel coffee, and two blueberry toaster waffles with peanut butter and banana slices.

img_0120

We got to the buses and after a good luck kiss goodbye from Jan, the Belgian went back to bed and I sat down. I chatted with other runners while we rode to the start line, and was SO grateful for the distraction of meeting new people. The ride felt LONG and we finally got to the start line by about 5:45. I waited on the bus until about 6.30, when I decided it was now or never.

I got off the bus and got in a longggggg line for port-a-potties. LESSON ONE of the day: line up earlier. By the time I was done it was 6:58. I threw my jacket and pants into my gear bag, threw the bag onto the gear truck, and hustled to the start line. I slotted myself next to the 3:28 pace group just as the national anthem started. In the end, I think this actually helped, because I didn’t have any time to get more nervous! At 7 the gun went off and boom! I was running a marathon.

FYI: Instead of doing the traditional pace groups every 5 min (3:30, 3:35, 3:40, etc), CIM does 2 min before that to help people who want to BQ. This is because in the past couple of years, you have needed to run under the actual qualifying time to actually run Boston.

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-9-18-54-pm

I went out and tried not to run too fast, because everyone (Greg, Dave, Jan, Alyson, Danielle, etc. etc.) had told me I would easily be swept up in the excitement of the start and I should just chill out and run. Around km 3, I came up to Laura and Jess. Jess was running her first marathon as well, but pacing Laura. They were planning to aim for under 3:30, and I figured it would be nice to have some buddies, so I joined in.

Thank goodness for those 2! The three of us ran together, sharing water and chatting. The first several miles absolutely FLEW by, and I found myself feeling good at the half (1:43). It was rolling but way more downhill than anything else for the first half of the race.

In the second half, we all started to feel it at different points. Poor Laura was looking for a big PB but had sore legs and an upset stomach, so we both talked to her a lot. I think all the positive talk really helped me feel like I was in better condition than I was! At 36k I decided I didn’t want to risk losing time, and started to pull ahead. I could hear the girls behind me for most of the way, so I knew they weren’t far off the pace.

By km 40 I had had about enough. I told myself I would run one more km (to 41), enjoy the last one (42), and push for the final 200m to the finish. When I saw Jan cheering like crazy at km 41.5, it suddenly hit me that I was ALMOST DONE my first marathon. As I turned towards the finish, I saw the capitol and the gun time, which was ticking towards 3:29. WOOHOOOO! I ran in with the biggest smile on my face.

Chip time: 3:28:13.

During the race, I had planned to eat 5 HoneyStinger waffles. Overall, I managed to eat 1.5 toaster waffles + PB + about 2/3 of a banana and 400mL of black coffee for breakfast, and 3.5 HoneyStingers during the race. I didn’t want the last 1.5 waffles, but since my pace was holding I didn’t force my stomach. I drank water from my bottle until after the half, when I started refilling it with Nuun from aid stations. I’m not sure how much more I drank because I also shared with Laura and Jess, but I felt fine hydration-wise.

The course was totally beautiful – no wind, 7 degrees at the start line, rolling hills with plenty of down and awesome crowd support all along the way. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

After the race, I grabbed some super hot oatmeal from the Whole Foods truck (yes there is a Whole Foods truck and yes it might be enough to get me to move to Sacramento). The post-race food that CIM offered was chips (no, thanks, I didn’t need salt that badly) and a banana (also no thanks). I saw some people also handing out KIND bars, but after our YYZ adventure, I’ve had enough kind bars for a long time.

Once I crossed the finish line, I stopped running. Someone put a medal on me, and a space blanket. The problem started when I tried to walk again. I took my first step and immediately realized how sore my legs and joints were going to be. Ouch!

img_0179

We hung out at the finish line (and I rang the BQ bell!!), we grabbed my gear (and I realized how hard it was going to be to put on my pants) and finally started to head (hobble) towards the hotel.

On the way there, I noticed SCOTT JUREK leaving with his family. I stage-whispered to Jan “OMG THAT’S SCOTT JUREK”. Jan laughed and told me to ask him for a photo, so I did. He was so nice! His wife just ran her first marathon since having a baby (badass) and he ran as well. Total fangirl moment.
img_0193

img_0194Once we were back I FaceTimed my parents, who had been following the race online. My Dad was excited for me to have run so fast, and my Mom was in true mom mode and wanted me to sit down. I told them I was sore but feeling good.

I then began the project of taking a shower. First of all, I could barely take my own clothes off. Then, I sat down to pee (tmi? Sorry. I was actually hydrated!) and decided I might never be able to get up. Then, I actually got into the shower and realized that since I’d carried my phone in the back pocket of my shorts, I’d given myself some really beautiful chafing along the back of my hips, just above my butt. Cool.

img_0195

Once I’d finally showered, I threw my hair into a bun, put on real clothes and began the next project: walking down the stairs. This was not pretty :).

Eventually, we made it to brunch to meet up with friends Ben and Brian and fellow marathoners Nick, Kristina, Lissa (7th woman overall!!), Corri and Geoff. I wasn’t super hungry and ate some eggs and waffles (serious theme of the day) for brunch, and really enjoyed a Moscow Mule.

After that, we walked around to flush my legs, went back to take a look at the end of the Finish Line, and relaxed at the hotel. We had a semi-early dinner around 6:30, but my appetite wasn’t 100% back yet. I ate salad with chicken and also had an awesome glass of white wine from California.

img_0183
By 10:30, I was totally wiped and went to bed with a big smile on my face. It was a great day and I couldn’t be happier with my first marathon. I felt great during the race, nailed my nutrition/hydration, and BQ’ed by just under 7 minutes. I’m so grateful for all the Cambie RR people, RunVan, Danielle, Alyson, and of course Jan for helping me get there! When is the next one??

Advertisements

California International Marathon Race Recap – Part 1

dsc_7612-jpg

Guys, I had the best weekend. I think it would be too much to cover it all in one post, so I’m splitting it into Saturday (expo, shakeout, nerves) and Sunday (marathon, food, sleep).

Jan and I flew in to Sacramento on Friday night. I get nervous flying, and it was a windy trip, so by the time we checked into our hotel at 10:30 I was wiped. We both fell asleep watching Friends. 

img_0003
I found my name in the “R”!

On Saturday morning, we decided to hit the expo and then get brunch. I was hungry in the morning and figured I should carb-load, so I ate one of the small muffins that I’d brought.

img_0013

img_0016

The expo was fun to wander around, but I brought everything I needed and didn’t end up having to buy anything. We did score some free HoneyStinger waffles (which I used to fuel my race). We also picked up my bib, gear drop bag, and course info. img_0055

After the expo we ate brunch. I had most of my spinach omelet… when we were walking around I felt ok but any time I tried to eat on Saturday I would realize how nervous I was.

img_0071
Is it a stack of waffles or a big mac?!

We rested for a bit at the hotel and watched the Food Network… we got pretty invested in an episode of Cupcake Wars. Ha! I got my waffles out of their packages and tucked them into my water bottle so they’d be ready for race day.

img_0076
chicken arms everywhere
img_0092
the finish line is right in front of the state capitol!

img_0062

Around 4, we decided it was shakeout run time. We went to a park near the hotel for strides, then jogged around the finish line area. Oh boy. I also managed to eat a Picky Bar (ah, fudge nuts flavour, obvi) somewhere in here.

After the run it was time to get some dinner. Thank goodness Jan had made reservations at the local pasta restaurant, because it was crazy in there. I got spaghetti with meatballs (usually I don’t eat red meat, but I wanted to get the simplest pasta) and ate about 2/3 of it. I also tried really hard to get some fluids in, so I had 2 big glasses of diet coke (better than nothing, and I just didn’t feel like water).

On the walk back to the hotel, we stopped to pick up a banana for me to have on race morning. It was COLD at night (around 3 degrees) and I was a little shaky. I couldn’t tell if it was because I was cold or because I was super nervous. We went to bed and I tried to calm my brain down. My heart rate is usually in the low 40’s before bed, but Saturday night it was 65! I laid awake until around 2, when I think I fell asleep for a bit.

Next up it’s race day! Stay tuned!

Marathon Weekend

img_8092

don’t worry, it’s decaf

It’s Friday night and Jan and I are sitting at SEA-TAC, waiting for our little plane to Sacramento. The week went by pretty quickly, considering how little running I did. On Tuesday morning, I got up for an early run around downtown and Lost Lagoon – it was a cold but otherwise really pretty and NON-RAINY morning in Vancouver. Then, Thursday morning I went for one last pre-marathon RunVan. We kept it short (just over 6k) and easy pace.

Lots of people told me to expect “taper tantrums” and to feel a bit weird this week. Nothing hurts, exactly, but I’ve found myself obsessing weirdly over my level of hydration, eating carbs, and sleeping. I’m also… irritable? Antsy? Sorry, Jan.

img_8084 Last night, we packed and I had flashbacks to Sweden as I remembered how much stuff I seem to need for a race. This time, I separated my lists into three main categories: pre-race (flight, expo, shakeout run, relax), race (SO MUCH STUFF) and post race (food and relax, I hope).

Here’s what I brought:

Pre-race

  • clothes, shoes, small bag
  • shakeout run clothes
  • laptop and passport
  • couple of magazines and a book for the plane
  • snacks: home made muffins, an apple and plenty of Nuun

Race

  • Pre-race food: my trusty toaster waffles, PB, and a home-made muffin (plus extras for Jan)
  • Actual race-day outfit: top, shorts, bra, socks, shoes, watch, hat, body glide
  • Throwaway layers that I plan to shed during the race: sweater, gloves
  • Layers that I’ll wear to the start line and check in: puffy jacket, warm up pants. I’ll also check in wipes and a brush, for immediately after the race.
  • Nutrition: Honey stinger waffles, one pack of honey stinger chews, some Gu, and handheld bottle

Post-race

  • Clothes and comfy shoes

img_8088

Hopefully I didn’t forget anything! In a few minutes we’ll be up and away. See you soon, Sacramento!

 

The Final Countdown

Race day is almost here! I’m late recap-ing workouts last week, but there was less than usual to talk about. I figured I’d smoosh it into a post with a few runs from this week.

Monday Rest, as usual

img_8072

absolutely freezing before heading out to run (had to walk there first)

Tuesday It was so, so rainy all day. Danielle texted me around 5 and asked if I’d run yet, because she was going to check out a group called Mile2Marathon. I decided to tag along, because there was no way I was running alone in the pouring rain again. I did 10k with a few of the guys at (for me) tempo pace. 10k

Wednesday I went out for an easy run around the neighbourhood and threw in a few hills by taking Chilco down to the water. Nothing special, but I felt good. 8.2k

img_8078

post run dinner and marathon talk with the Belgian

Thursday RunVan! I was a bit late for this run so I had to hustle to make it on time. With my cooldown, it ended up being about 9.6k

Friday Last pre-marathon run with Danielle, and a coffee and lululemon shopping date after.

Saturday Off – I meant to run, but weather/timing just didn’t work out and I didn’t really worry about it. I did get in almost 30,000 steps (according to my Garmin) since we were scrambling around to clean, run errands, etc.

Sunday Last long run. I went out with a bunch of the Running Room people for the usual pre-marathon out and back to Siwash Rock. We added on a bit by going around Science World for a total of 18.3k. This run felt really good and added a bit to my confidence that I can get through this race.

Totals for last week = 58 km

This week hasn’t looked like much! I did one early morning Tuesday run (8.2k) and a very easy RunVan one today (6.2k). I’ll probably run about 5k very easy on Saturday, and then it’ll be a marathon on Sunday for a total of 61.6km. What am I going to talk about after this!?!

I’m off to pack. Tomorrow we head to Sacramento!

Two Weeks!

img_8030

cold and early! and a dusty mirror

I really cut back on distance this week! I just felt like I needed a bit of a break. I think I’ll run similar mileage next week. I caught up on sleep a bit and generally feel a bit better, so I think it worked.

Here’s the recap:

Monday Alyson came home from her business trip, so she came over for a catch-up run and dinner with me and Jan. We did an easy 7 km

Tuesday I worked a weird split-shift, so in between I squeezed in a little run. Since I didn’t have time to go longer, I tried to go a little faster. 5.3km at 4:40/km

Wednesday I actually meant to run 10-15 km on Wednesday but I wasn’t feeling well. I made it 5k and decided to call it a day.

Thursday I went to RunVan, which ended up being awesome because I won a night at the Fairmont Waterfront! I also had a massage scheduled after this run, soit was basically the best morning ever. img_8031

Friday Danielle and I met up for a really nice 11.5 km through downtown and then onto the False Creek seawall. The sky was really beautiful – it was a rare clear morning. We grabbed coffee afterward and then headed to work.

img_8058

Saturday I took a rest day! We went hiking on the North Shore since it wasn’t raining.

Sunday A long run (but shorter than the past few!) with the usual RR Sunday crew. It was so nice to have everyone back together! We did 23k.

It was a good week! I think next week will be another 55-65k, and then I’ll cut right down the week before the marathon.

Running Last Week (AKA CIM Training Update – 3 Weeks Out)

As of Sunday, I was three weeks out from CIM, and hit my peak mileage before the marathon.

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-10-55-06-pm

In the 7 days between November 8th and November 14th, I ran 101.8 km. I normally track Monday – Sunday, so the weekly total my Strava sees is 94.2 km.

This is my highest mileage week, and I think it’s the highest mileage over 4 consecutive weeks as well (337.2 km). I am mostly happy with how my prep for this marathon has gone (lack of speed work notwithstanding) but I have to say that I have never been this tired.

Here’s a look at the past week:

Monday rest

Tuesday Election day! We had a bunch of friends over and so I squeezed in a run between work and everyone coming over. 6.2 mi

Wednesday I started my run a bit early and ended up at the Running Room, where the usuals were heading out for the standard 10k run. I headed out with Audree and Dave, then cut that run a bit short so that I ended up at home. Total = 10.3 mi

Thursday RunVan, as usual! This ended up being a really nice morning, and even though the time change is making the nights feel very early, it was great not to run in the dark. 5.1 mi

Friday Danielle is back to running post PDX marathon! She joined me for an early morning 7 mi around the park (and then we got coffee).

Friday evening I went out for a quick run with Jan to help get rid of the last bit of a headache he had. We did 2.8 mi for a total of 9.8 for the day.

Saturday Jan really had to help drag my butt out for this one, because we were busy around the house on Saturday morning, plus I had an 8 am meeting, and then spent the afternoon at work in the clinic. When I got home, I just didn’t feel up to it, but he convinced me to try. We ended up doing a great progression run. 4.5 mi

Sunday This was my solo long run! I devoted a whole post to it here. 22.1 mi.

Total for the week: 58.5 mi/ 8h 17m

Bring on the Taper

img_8004

As I’m writing this, we’re officially three weeks away from CIM, and today I did my last (super) long training run! It was really rainy out there today so I just got it done early in the morning. None of the usual suspects wanted to go as far, so Jan told me he would bike beside me again, keeping me company like he did when we ran 2 bridges a few weeks ago.

We went out to Stanley Park, wrapped around the Seawall, then up and over Burrard to Point Grey and eventually UBC. When we reached the campus, we turned around and came back through the Endowment Lands, along 8th ave, over the bridge and back past English Bay before heading home.

img_8003

It pretty much rained the whole time, which meant I felt cool. I wore shorts, a long sleeve shirt, and a pair of calf sleeves for a little extra warmth. I carried water in my bigger handheld water bottle, an Ultimate Direction FastDraw 20. I also had 2 organic caramel HoneyStinger waffles, and had a couple of gels and a pack of HoneyStinger chews with me in case I wanted something different.

I tried to have a bigger breakfast than usual as well. I went with a piece of toast with banana and peanut butter, a large mug of half coffee/half almond milk, and a small piece of homemade pumpkin bread. I think it really helped.

On the run, I felt pretty good overall. The beginning was very comfortable, and I didn’t really feel like eating the first waffle around 11km. I knew I couldn’t get behind on nutrition, though, so I ate it over about 400m. I thought I would eat the next one around 25k, but at 22.5 I was suddenly feeling very cranky and Jan handed me the waffle and told me to eat it – I definitely felt better. Towards the end, I could totally have had a third, but we were ending and I knew I’d have real food soon. During the marathon, I think the plan will be 11k, 22k, 32k and maybe 37k if I feel like it. I plan to carry the four waffles, plus a pack of chews as backup.

I liked the easy access to water today with the larger bottle, but I didn’t like carrying 20 oz! I really felt like my arms were more fatigued. Do I need to be better atswitching hands more? (I definitely prefer my right). Or should I spend the next 3 weeks building some shoulder/arm strength? TBD.

As usual, thanks to Jan for taking photos, carrying food, biking beside me and generally being the best today!

img_8005