Click HERE for my recap of the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon #2.
The whole idea behind races leading up to a race is to practice the things you will do before and during the race to see what works and what doesn't. Tomorrow is my half marathon leading up to the Lincoln Marathon on May 1.
The half marathon I picked is a trail race because, well, I just prefer trail races. The good news is this isn't a really hilly course and I should be able to run nearly the whole thing, so in that sense, it's similar to Lincoln because Lincoln has some hills. That makes my half good practice for running small elevation changes, which I would rather do than walk them.
Another thing I am practicing is not carrying hydration. If it's hot on May 1 in Lincoln, Nebraska, then I'm going to carry my own water. But if it's a cool, overcast day (like tomorrow) then I won't. I have been doing a lot of running without carrying my water bottle. In fact, I have done two 15+ milers without carrying my bottle and just drinking a little water at random fountains on my route. I decided it's worth whatever LA City water can possibly do to me to not carry a water bottle all the damn time.
For the longest time I would get really really nauseous if I didn't consume water on nearly every run, but lately I haven't had this issue.
I'm also practicing my morning routine because the only time I can really push myself to do it is if I HAVE to be somewhere. And let's face it, those Saturday morning long runs can totally be pushed to 8:30. In the morning I need to wake up with enough time to actually wake up. No one runs well less than an hour after climbing out of bed. Or they probably do, but I don't. I need to be up for a couple of hours. I also like to eat as early as possible and then eat something else before the race. I do this because I HATE getting hungry on a run. While it may do nothing for my energy level to be comfortably full, my morale believes otherwise.
I'm also going to practice my where-does-everything-go strategy. I have a Flip Belt which is awesome. But I don't like overflowing it because then it sticks out everywhere and I don't look as cute (truth). So I'm trying to decide what I REALLY need and only take those things. Chap stick. Gels. Phone. That's it! I enjoy carrying eye drops because I am always scared something will happen to my eye, but I think I'll just stick to taking that when it's windy :)
Ok, now to the best part. The Carb-loading. Well, this always sounds like fun, until you actually do it. And then you realize it actually sucks. Because you don't just get to eat a box of cookies and half a pizza. Today I attempted for everything I consumed to be a "carb." Here is what I ate in order-ish:
Smoothie (oats, almond milk, mango, peaches)
Pumpkin Spice Clif Bar
Chocolate chip bagel with strawberry jelly
Bowl of Flax Plus Flakes with almond milk (fave cereal)
2 Tim Tams (whoops)
Smoothie #2 (oats, almond milk, pineapple, ginger)
Cup of tart cherry juice
Plain bagel with crab apple jelly (holy crap this was good)
Cup of plain brown rice with some salt
This is a lot of food. I probably had about 400-too many calories. But I think if today was April 30, this would have made sense for keeping up with refueling from running more miles and then fueling to run 26.2 tomorrow (minus the Tim Tams).
Anyway, we're going to see how all that works out tomorrow. I know I won't get the full effect, but I should at least get half of the effect :)
<3 can't wait to kick some ass!
Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon #2 Race Day Plan!
I'm racing the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon #2 tomorrow morning and I love, love, love to have a pre-race day plan.
Yesterday I ran 5.5 miles nice and easy. I wanted to do that on Wednesday, but I didn't get to it.
Today I am feeling a bit sick, but hoping to get my carbs in anyway for tomorrow and get some good sleep tonight. But before that, I have to have a plan for tomorrow!
Race time is 7:30, and check-in is at 6:30. However, I will not be checking in until 7, because that's how I roll.
5:00 am: alarm #1
5:08 am: alarm #2
5:15 am: coffee + smoothie
5:45 am: get ready
6:30 am: leave my house
7:00 am: check-in
7:05 am: clif bar
7:30 am: race start!
Shoes: Montrails. I just can't take those Hokas anymore.
Hydration: Aid stations. I'm not bringing my own hydration tomorrow because it's going to about 57 degrees and cloudy (perfect running weather!) and I've been doing a lot of running without hydration. When I ran the GP Half (#1) it was hot out and I drank too much water - meaning I had that water sloshing around near the end which really slowed me down. There are three aid stations, and if I have a cup of water at each I'll be good to go.
Nutrition: Caffeine. I think I'll pop a caffeinated Clif shot at mile 8 and that should be plenty. There's significantly less elevation changes in this race than November, which means less hiking. Less hiking means I won't have that slower pace to actually get a gel down and complementarily that I'll be able to keep my momentum better without a boost. One should be fine.
Race goal: My time goal for this race is 2:14:00. That's an average pace of something like 10:15. Obviously every mile won't be 10:15. My secret to a successful pacing strategy is to follow someone you know will be running the pace you want to run for the race. But since I don't have that for this race, I used someone else's Strava activity from this race last year. I used her run as a gauge of the "effort" for each mile, then arbitrarily added a minute to each of her mile splits because I thought that sounded about right for me. She ran it in 2:01... add 13 minutes and you have me coming in at 2:14. I'll just go for those mile splits. I haven't decided if this is strategy is lazy, obsessive, or just genius. If it works, it will be genius.
Other goals for this race: Don't start feeling sick. I know, who can really control this? I just feel crappy right now. My stomach is in knots for absolutely no reason and I just want it to go away. And have fun. Of course... I don't think I've ever ran a trail race and not felt like it was fun.
Final thoughts: I think I'm okay if it rains. And I can't wait to make my goal time!
There's occasionally a great new story that reminds me why I named my blog what I did.
On Tuesday morning I went out for a short run that I decided would be a fast run since I hadn't done any fast running in a while. I took my normal route which includes a running path around a golf course. I decided four miles would be a good distance and that I would simply run two miles, then turn around.
There are generally a lot of other people after 7am, but usually I don't get bothered. My first mile was 8:58, which wasn't on purpose, but I felt good about it. My second mile was 8:27 and I felt good about that one, too. I decided I would go for 8:15 for my third mile and I turned around.
8:30 is probably my 10k pace right now. Anything faster than that is considered my 5k pace, which just means it's hard, but I'm not dying. When I pushed to 8:15 it was a little harder, but I was focused on breathing normally and taking in enough oxygen.
I HATE hearing people sound like they are going to die when they run. I don't do the whole breathe-counting thing (because if I try to regulate my breathing by counting I inevitably feel like I am going to pass out) but I do try to just keep it steady and not hyperventilate.
My heart rate was up probably around 170 if I had to guess. AND THEN...
A freakin' little dog came running by. In hindsight, he was pretty cute, but at the time, there was nothing cute about it. He came running right up to me, his leash dragging behind him and his stupid-lady owner completely oblivious as she jogged by going the opposite direction.
The dog ran RIGHT under my feet, nearly tripping me. His owner looked over. I said to her "you're dog almost tripped me." I was much more annoyed by the fact that she was too lazy to hold her dog's leash than the fact that he had nearly tripped me. She called after him. He stayed by me. Right under my feet. I kept running. She called after him again. I yelled after the lady, "You better come get him because I'm not stopping." (I did stop once years ago because of someone's dog doing this to me. Come to think of it, that dog looked a lot like this one.) The dog growled at me and tried to bite my ankles. I called him a "little shit" and he was unfazed.
I kept running. My adrenaline was up because of the almost tripping combined with the having-to-be-a-bitch-to-this-lady, and it made keeping my pace absolutely EXHAUSTING. I thought the dog was going to follow me home, and I would have just let him. She would have to follow me, and I knew she would never keep up with my pace. Bwah ha ha ha (that's an evil laugh). But you know what, why should I have felt bad about that? ALL I WANTED was four miles. And she had to be so completely self-involved that she was willing to let her dog ruin someone else's four miles. THEIR time before work. THEIR work-out. THEIR marathon training. THEIR HARD WORK.
I know, at first it seems like a small thing. But when you think about the implications you realize that a morning run means a lot to people and they aren't asking for much.
The dog finally turned around. I hope he laid down and his stupid owner had to walk back all that way to get him, but I didn't look to see. After all this, I was beyond tired. I didn't think I would be able to finish my third mile, and I definitely didn't think I would be able to finish it in 8:15. Then my Garmin beeped. 8:09!
Take that! I thought I would have to stop and walk at that point just to let my heart rate normalize, but I decided to run to the bottom of the small hill and then I would walk up it and then start running again.
Regardless of that hiccup it was a successful run. Another workout in the books!
I started to call this list of races my Race Bucket List. But then I decided that instead of making a list and letting it sit there, er, here, then I would make a list of races I want to do and plan how to actually do them. Because actually doing them is the point, right?
This list is a BIT too long to start working on all at once. I'll have to cross them off one at a time, and who knows, this could always change in the process. But for now, this list of races is what gets me excited.
1) Griffith Park Marathon (Los Angeles, CA)
Why: Beautiful course, well-organized, close to home. I'm running the half this year because I have another marathon May 1, but I would love to be able to finish the full version in the future. Even better: pull in an age-group placement
2) Blue Ridge Marathon (Roanoke, VA)
Why: Dubbed "America's Toughest Road Marathon," close to the real home. The Blue Ridge Parkway winds through some of the most gorgeous places on earth. I've never seen the actual course, but I've spent my fair share of time in the Blue Ridge mountains, and this can only be a gorgeous marathon with gnarly elevation (in a good way).
3) Pike's Peak Marathon (Manitou Springs, CO)
Why: Because this would just be badass to say I've done. For someone who lives and trains exclusively between 0' and 2500' above sea level, the Pike's Peak Marathon is the ultimate test of my willingness to fail.
4) Bulldog 50k (Malibu, CA)
Why: I raced this course going in the opposite directions in a different race, which was my first (and to date, only) ultra. The course is beautiful and I had a lot of fun on it, but I think the motivator here is that to be taken seriously as an ultrarunner in So Cal, you gotta do Bulldog.
5) Bandit 50k (Simi Valley, CA)
Why: Part 2 in "to be taken seriously as an ultrarunner in So Cal." Any ultrarunner living in a 25 mile radius of me has done this race. This is the race everyone is always talking about.
6) Ray Miller 50m (Malibu, CA)
Why: BEAUTIFUL scenery, challenging course, well-organized and very respected. When I volunteered this race in 2015 I was supremely jealous of the pain all the runners were suffering while I doled out Coke and Mountain Dew with my preventing injury... until I got into bed after a long day and realized I would probably still be running. The 2016 date is 11/5... thinking about how to make that happen!
7) PCT 50 (San Diego, CA)
Why: After a 13-mile climb from 3000' to 6000' feet, and only one other long climb, the last 18 miles of this race are entirely runnable. The test of actually running an ultra. Add in the lure of the Pacific Crest Trail.
8) Uwharrie 100 (Troy, NC)
Why: Small, new race where I think I can do really well. This is slated to potentially be my first 100 in 2017 since it doesn't happen until October. With lots of rehab and smart and consistent training, this is totally doable. The course consists of five 20.5-mile loops. My love of single-track totally outweighs my hatred of loops. And this is another one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
9) Umstead 100 (Raleigh, NC)
Why: Because it's a very popular race in the most gorgeous state in the country. Not to mention, room and board is free. :) I'm not in a hurry for this one, but it's on my to-do list for sure.
10) Pony Express 100 (Lookout Pass, CA)
THIS. Why: Epic story and history of the Pony Express and the course itself. Wild ponies. Utah. Need I say more? You probably don't get the appeal, but I actually decided that THIS would be MY 100-mile race. It's not Western States. It's not even Angeles Crest. And it's certainly no Badwater, Leadville, or <insert biggest, coolest race here.> But I mean, have you BEEN to Utah? This race combines several things I like: a small field equates to solitude while on the course and the camaraderie of belonging to a really small group of finishers. Utah is quiet and lonely and remote, which I love and don't get a lot of here in So Cal. Plus there's old and cool wild west stuff! AND PONIES!