Monday, April 24, 2017

My Happy Place

It is April 24th and it is snowing here today ๐Ÿ˜ฉ and it is really windy and cold and it's Monday and I am really tired from a long weekend of cleaning and moving furniture and ......

It's not only during events that I need to dig deep and show determination, be positive and thankful and take each moment as it comes.

Sometimes life feels tough and you need to say your mantra a few hundred times.

So I go to my happy place.  A spot that makes me feel free, content and alive.  A place that makes me smile.

I have a few "happy" places. Some just in my memory and some in picture form.

So despite the external factors surrounding me today, this is where I am in my mind.

And I smile๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Recovery and What I Don't Know

Recovery is a tricky thing.  Everyone's body reacts in different ways so how do we know exactly how to recovery properly from endurance activities.
This is what I noticed, what I did and what I don't know about recovery.

-marathon from 7 am-11 (UCAN, NUUN water and a bit of gatorade)
-drank gatorade, chicken noodle soup and had a protein bar immediately after run
-slightly swollen fingers part of the day
-slept for an hour 12:30-1:30 (the real definition of tired and gross when the sleep happens before a shower)
-protein bar and water right after nap
-compression socks on the rest of the day
-legs didn't feel sore but just a bit tired
-supper of ham, potatoes and green beans

*My thoughts- I didn't drink enough water or fluids of any type or maybe it was that I was getting sufficient water but didn't have the correct electrolytes to be able to utilize the water (before, during and after event).   Probably  took in 32-40 oz when it should have been double that.  The nap was good. Compression socks a good idea but could have brought compression tights.  Should have ate more but didn't really have an appetite.

-slept really horribly the night before
-legs hurt EVERYWHERE
-very puffy eye lids and face but not swollen fingers
-stairs were agony
-walked 4 miles in the morning and 3 miles in the afternoon and walked in between while doing errands
-compression socks again all day
-less than my usual amount of food consumed but still no appetite but what I did eat was very nutrient rich (protein, good carbs, good fats)
-drank water but didn't make a good enough effort to have the bottle right by my side always
-extremely chapped lips
-early to sleep

*Bad sleep negatively impacted my recovery but not within my control.  By the evening, my legs were tired from all the walking but I am certain that walking (gentle cycling would have been better) was very beneficial to flushing out the lactic acid.  Still didn't drink enough to offset the constantly running nose and the general fluid requirements of my body.  But also still sure the balance of electrolytes and water is not what it should be.  Not looking forward to how much I will be hurting the next day

-better sleep but cold even worse
-amazingly legs not sore in the least, anywhere I squeezed had no tenderness, good range of motion, no tightness and good flexibility
-4 mile walk
-food wise same as Sat.: didn't eat much but choices were good foods

Good Recovery Tips for Me 
-nap the day of big effort
-fluid with electrolytes (I have to find the balance)
-eat within 45 min after effort
-nutrient dense food, lots of protein
-easy walking or cycling (active recovery) for next 2 days after big effort
-compression socks and tights for leg recovery
-more sleep than usual at night
-branch chain amino acid suppliment
-vitamin C

What I Don't Know
-why my eyelids get so puffy for a couple days after a big effort (has happened before to me)
-why my finger get swollen many times while I am exercising (imbalance of what specifically and how to find the right combination)
-why I seemed to be so dehydrated through the run and for days after (can blowing your nose a thousand times a day do that?) or was I over hydrated and my body couldn't utilize the water
-sometimes after a run or bike, my legs will ache, not hurt but ache; I need to figure out what they aren't getting that they need

I found this neat chart (encouraging the consumption of milk after effort) that shows the role and purpose of some micro and macro nutrients.  Thought it was interesting and gives me a starting place to find my balance.

I had hoped by thinking through what I did and felt I would be able to see what to do or not do a bit better but I still have some learning and investigating to do.

I tried Poweraide Zero when we were just recently in California and in the short 2 weeks of use, I had less swelling, bloating, aching legs etc and I did some long, pretty hard efforts many times. It seemed like it was a good choice for me to use for hydration.  I was planning to use it before, during and after this marathon but we couldn't find it anywhere in the city.  Maybe not available in Canada.  Very disappointing but will look at the label online and try to match the ingredients and their proportions.  

If you have any suggestions, tips, ideas or if this happens to you, please share.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Angry Gopher Marathon Recap

April 14, 2017

I was toeing the line at 7 am as a minority in my tank top, arm warmers and shorts.  Most people were wearing long sleeve shirts, pants, capris, jackets in some combination but a few others in shorts.  It was +8 with a cool, strong wind and a possibility of rain.  I know my run performance is hindered by my overdressing so I chose to try and dress appropriately for when I was warmed up running.  Yes that meant I would be rather cold for the first couple miles.

I was a bit concerned about the head cold I was getting and my leg had been acting up for a couple weeks, but I had mapped out a race plan for myself and was trying to think as proactively as possible.  I knew I could hold the paces I wanted.  It would come down to how things played out as the miles progressed.

I waved to my cheering husband as I crossed the start line and was off for the first out and back of 5 miles.  Not even a mile in I realized my hand held bottle of UCAN was still in his jacket pocket.  I was wearing his coat to stay warm until the start and forgot to take it with me.  Obviously, this was gong to mess up my (very professional) race plan but I figured out plan B and went with it.  I didn't need fuel until mile 6 anyway.  

My professional race plan showing directions to race start, morning breakfast, time schedule, nutrition plan and pace plan.  

Relax, stand straight, run, check my pace.  Over and over.  It is hard to get into your groove in the beginning because everyone wants to really giver.  Full and half marathoners started at the same time so a lot of different paces represented in the couple hundred participants.  

Just over 140 half runners, just over 40 full runners.

The Course:
The course started on the north side of Wascana park.  The first out and back was 5 miles in length and returned to the starting point to continue on to the second 8 mile out and back. Repeat. 


The Game Plan:
My goal was to keep my pace at 9 min miles for miles 1-3.  I was under my goal pace at each mile but not by a lot so I was happy with that.  The turn around for first out and back was 2.5 miles in.  There was an aid station w water and Gatorade.  I didn't stop. This out and back was toward and around the university of Regina.  Quiet streets, quite a few turns to keep things interesting.

From mile 3-18 I planned to pace at 8:45-8:50 min miles.  This was closer to what I seemed to be running anyway so I just kept it up.  Surprisingly as I turned the corner to run past the start/finish to start the second out and back, I saw Terry.  He ran with me a bit asking how things felt.  I told him I needed the bottle in his pocket and was glad he stuck around.  He brought his bike and was planning to ride around a bit and plan to meet me back at the start/finish when I started the last out and back at mile 18.

I was fueled up ready to tackle the next out and back of 8 miles.  There was a ton of corners in this part, some without volunteers so I tried hard to remember where I was going as I knew this loop included all the half runners so there would always be someone to follow but next loop would be very quiet.

I was feeling good at the turn around, 4 miles into this out and back.  It had been lightly raining since quite soon after starting and though I wasn't cold (though I was asked that numerous times) I was decently damp.  Thank goodness for the blister protect on the feet and body glide on the body.  
Terry then appeared on his bike, offered his encouragement and Nuun water or UCAN.  I finished my hand held bottle of UCAN and gave it to him to carry. 

 I carried on alone on the second lap of first 5 mile out and back with plans still to meet up for the last 8.  I continued to feel pretty good, held pace consistently and generally have no troubles.

And the wheels fell off:
I know any endurance activity will have ups and downs. It is to be expected to be riding waves one moment and sometimes in the next to be dragged down by the undertow.  And so it happened just like that.  Mile 16 was great, 17 was tough.  Just all of a sudden it felt like I couldn't breath, my chest was in a vise being squeezed.  I met up with Terry a mile later and was still really struggling to breath.  We kept going, hoping the rough patch would pass.  Mile 20, I stopped briefly at the bushes thinking I was going to vomit and by mile 22, I was weaving and unsteady.  I downed 2 cups of Gatorade at the mile 22 aid station, still hoping I would snap out of this mean streak.  There was emotion tucked just beneath the surface once I realized I was not going to make my goal time but now a finish was the goal, and I continued to run.

The last 1/2 mile stretch before the finish was a welcomed sight but the disappointment so strong, I could taste it.
Line crossed 4:07.
  Lap 1 time 1:55
  Lap 2 time 2:12.
Goal time under 3:55.
18 great miles pace 8:40-9:00 min mile
8 tough miles pace 9:00-11:00 min mile

A medal placed around my neck and we headed in to grab a drink.  I drank 3 glasses of Gatorade and 2 water immediately then had 2 cups of chicken noodle soup.  We sat for about 10 min then headed to the vehicle as I was now getting cold and I certainly didn't want to get chilled.  I changed shirts in the car, put on the seat heater and covered with a blanket.

Back at the apartment, I slept off and on for the next hour before showering and going out with the kids.

So what went wrong?  I have had a few days to consider this and my conclusion is 2 things.

1.  My cold was worse than I thought.  I have suffered the past couple days with a very tight chest, constant running nose, congestion, sneezing and a horrible cough.  My hope it doesn't get worse.  Running 26 miles didn't  help but considering NOTHING got me out of the rough patch leads me to believe it was something I could not control.  I wasn't mental, it was physical.

2.  From the little I have peed throughout Friday- Sunday, it appears I was dehydrated.  I thought I was well-hydrated going into it but the evidence points shows otherwise.

My husband asked what would have happened if he wasn't there for the final 8 miles?  I think he thinks I fell apart a bit because he was there and maybe if he wasn't I would have done better.  

I don't know.  

 I know my mental tenacity can improve but I also know I was very confident I could accomplish this goal and though I don't usually count seconds and minutes in my endurance events, I had a plan and was very determined. I was expecting to dig deep and I knew how I was going to handle it.  I was expecting a sore leg, blister, etc. not this kind is head swimming, chest squeezing stuff.

So all in all, I am proud of myself.  This wasn't my race to meet my goal but I did my best and being a person of faith means I know when the time is right, it will happen.  It feels to me like the things that caused the bus to lose its wheels were kinda out of my control.  Everything is a learning experience.  I yearn for adventure and I had one that morning.  

For the final few miles my husband kept repeating that the day couldn't be any better for him; a great run in a beautiful city with nice people with his woman on Good Friday.

We don't always reach our goals in our first attempt and I will be considering if I have the time, venue and physical capability to try again.  My first thoughts are to try in September (got venue and it's a good time) but I will see how the next few months go with my other events.  

Monday, April 17, 2017

I Did It and I Didn't

Happy Monday!

Marathon done!๐Ÿ˜Š

But the time goal I wanted not done๐Ÿ˜ž  I did my best but it wasn't in the cards.

Best wishes for those running Boston Marathon today.  Wish I could say that was going to be me next year but not yet.  Still thinking about whether I want to try again to qualify in the next few months or not.  Race recap coming tomorrow.

Have a seriously awesome day!!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Morning Before

Well, it is the morning before my run.  A full work day followed up by a 3 1/2 hour drive, hopefully a decent sleep, a 5:30 am wake up call and a 7 am marathon tomorrow morning.   A few months of base training and 14 weeks of speed work, tempo run and long runs in my marathon training.  A couple triathlons and a winter ultra bike event thrown into the mix.  I hope I am ready.

 My first stand alone marathon and probably the first race in a while, where time and pace have been so important.

The weather report for the day has flipped flopped all week long.  This is what is currently being predicted for the 4 hours I will running:

Not ideal but neither is the fact that I have a sore throat, runny nose  and a sore leg either.

I spent a few moments last night feeling sorry for myself.

And in all my self-pity and doubt I realized once again that I am focusing on the wrong things.  Of course there is a million things that can go wrong, mess up my plans and blow me off course.

I have made a decision to chose to enjoy the journey of life though.  Not just when the flowers are blooming and when things are going well but also through the rain clouds and dark skies.

This race is just one part of the trip.  Things change up our plans all the time.   It is my job to roll with it and stay focused on what I believe and how I want to live my life.

And I want to live joyfully.

So tomorrow I will take some cold medication, stuff my pockets with kleenex, wear some compression gear and run my little heart out, enjoying every moment, regardless of the outcome!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Superseal Triathlon Race Report

Superseal Triathlon, Coronado California

Sunday, March 19, 2017
We flew into San Diego on Friday, March 17, picked up our vehicle and got settled in our rented condo in Oceanside late afternoon.  Terry and I unpacked our bikes that evening and got a decent ride in the next morning to ensure things were working well.  Mine needed a couple adjustments to the derailer.  Getting a bit better at this packing and unpacking business. 
We drove back to San Diego over the bridge to Coronado for athlete check in.  It would have been very nice if we could have checked in the next morning before the event but unfortunately we couldn’t.  The drive was really nice and it was great to see where the event swim/bike/run was going to be. 

The really early morning and busy day prior just had us wishing we could have had a quieter day today.  All was good though.  We only spent maybe ½ hour at the check in as there was no expo with booths just the check in. 

Another early alarm for Sunday; up at 4 am with plans to be on the road by 4:45.  It was closer to 5 when we left;  not from disorganization as we had set our stuff out the night before, I think we were just tired.  Hard to get up.  Just over 1 hour of driving and we parked and rode our stuff to transition.  It was still dark and pretty warm +14 with little wind. 
Transition became more of a rush than anticipated as closing time was now moved to 6:30 instead of 6:45.  Our waves were 6:55 (Terry) and 7:05 (mine).  So a quick set up, tires pumped and off to find the water start.  The transition area was in a parking lot on the west side of the highway by the ocean and we needed to cross the highway by way of an underpass to get to the east side of the highway  by the harbour where the swim was.
The swim was a 1500 m swim in the Silver Strand State Beach Bay which had amazing views of downtown San Diego.  It was calm and pretty warm.  They announced water temperature was 63 degrees F (or 17 C) on race morning. With the wetsuit, it was the perfect swimming temperature in my books.
The course was very well marked with red buoys showing a turn and yellow/orange buoys to use when sighting.  It was a clockwise swim.  There was no warm up swim so going in cold was a bit of a concern but at no time that morning was I cold or chilled so I knew that would be to my benefit.  
The wave I was in was the last wave of the Olympic distance which I liked knowing there was no pressure that I would be cramped by upcoming swimmers.  Still, all it took was a couple mouth/nose full of water and I was sputtering and gasping.  After having a couple swim starts (in the past) with bits of an anxiety attack, I was fighting hard to not get caught up in one.  Telling yourself to calm down a million times does work eventually.  Anything new with a swim and I get in a fluster and this time the salt water did it to me.  Within minutes I was fighting a revolting stomach that didn't apparently like the inclusion of the salt water to race day nutrition.
But the 1 thing that up until this day has never failed me is the reminder that nothing feels good for the first 20 min.  I just needed to concentrate on getting through that and it seems my body finds its rhythm and stops freaking out.

2016 Superseal SWIM web
So my rhythm was found and it became very enjoyable.  I hated to be finished if truth be told.  You might have though I was crazy before but that confirmed it didn't it. Swim 38:38.  

I was a bit of a run to get to transition (as it was on the other side of the road).  I didn't dawdle but I did make sure I did everything the way I wanted to.  Wetsuit off, a quick dry off, sat on my towel to dry my feet and put socks and bike shoes on, helmet and sunglasses on and off I went.  T1 6:33

The bike is a glorious 2 loop course along Silver Strand Blvd.(highway 75) that offered amazing views of the ocean, downtown San Diego, the harbour and Coronado.  It was a flat course.  I enjoyed every moment.  There was so much to look at.  I passed hubby as I was 1/2 was through the first loop and he was just starting his second.  Didn't expect him to see me and he didn't. He is a heads down, game on, focused to the max rider.  We always compare experiences and the things I see that he didn't is unreal.  His time is always way better than mine though.  

I had 1 bottle of UCAN with 2 scoops of powder on the bike as well as my front xlab hydration bottle with water and NUUN.  I refilled water once at an aid station.  I also ate 1 payday snack size bar.  1:25 bike done

2016 Superseal Bike TBT 3

The out and back run was  along a paved path beside the highway.  The first quarter of a mile was along a dirt path with some sand but the rest was on pavement.  
2016 Superseal Run web

There was an aid station at the mile 3 turn around point where I drank some gatorade.  My goal was to really push it.  I wanted to hold around an 8 min mile.  It was sunny and warm but nothing crazy.  I felt like I was passing everyone that I came up to.  So many stronger swimmers and bikers and with being in the last wave, there was more people in front of me than behind me.  I was happy with my effort with the run.  51:18 

Superseal website showed just under 900 registrants so it is a really nice early season triathlon without an overwhelming number of athletes.  It offers both Sprint and Olympic distances, has amazing views, a great swim, fast bike and nice run course.
Truth is, I would never have gone in this triathon had it not been partnered with Oceanside 70.3 and though it was a bit tight arriving in San Diego on Friday and having the triathlon on Sunday and I was a bit tired, it was totally worth it and a lot of fun.  A great warm up for Oceanside.

The most inspirational part of this event however, was the fact that it is held at the birthplace of the Navy Seals and throughout transition, there were huge banners of fallen seals that were being honoured.

A lot of times I think "oh ya I will totally do ______ again" and don't take the immediate experience and appreciate every moment of it.  I think I will have more and more chances, opportunities etc.  But the timing of things doesn't always work and I am trying to enjoy every moment and not take anything for granted.  I certainly appreciated and enjoyed this event.  It was breathtaking and a lot of fun.  I encourage you to try it out if you are in the area.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Weekend Roundup and Calling all Marathon Veterans

Well, I have been home for only 1 week but Oceanside 70.3 last Saturday feels like a LONG time ago.  Funny how "real" life can make a holiday such a distant memory.

What is very clear however, is the fact that there are many things in life that are tough and require more from us.  I had a couple times during Ironman Oceanside that were hard.  That's the way it should be in my thinking.  Expecting to do a 70.3 and not dig deep at some point is unrealistic thinking.
A lot of details from that day may fade from my memory but the fact that I persevered and didn't stop won't fade.
And it is good that these thoughts are so vividly real as I need them this week.

I am running a marathon this Friday.

Can you keep a secret?
I am trying to qualify for Boston.

And I am really scared, nervous, excited,....
Is that the craziness of taper?  The bouncing around between the great and scary?

Everyone in my house has a cold right now.  Nurse Lesley was on call all weekend.
What's worse than a sick kid?
A sick husband.

What's worse than a sick husband?
A sick husband and 2 sick kids.

Hokey moley.  Between the chicken noodle soup making, dimetab, nyquil, buckley's, deliveries, feet rubbing with essential oils, vapor rubbing on the chest and restocking kleenex- it's been busy.
I am so thankful this is the first time in a long while we have had colds.

So, my confidence is on the low side right now for being able to accomplish my goal.  3:50 marathon goal time.  This will be my first stand alone marathon.  Only ran a marathon while doing an Ironman.

The questions/reflections I have for the marathon veterans for the week before a marathon:

1. Is it normal to feel like crap?
2. Are the emotions supposed to be up and down like a bride's pj's?
3. Is there like a "Lead Fairy" that pours lead into your legs when you aren't looking?
4. Should you feel a bit more crazy than normal?
5. That email that came today that says I have another day left to switch from the full to the half= and I am giving it serious thought.  Normal?
6.Checking the weather 6 x a day to see the forecast for Friday, not the least bit obsessive right?
7.  I really, really want to eat a lot of ice cream!
8.  I got a blister from my last easy run- a sign that this is not going to be?
9. Wondering why I can't be take up a sport like channel surfing or bird watching?
10.  And finally, asking myself a zillion times a day who's stupid idea this was.  Normal too?


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Home Again

I'm back- did you miss me?

Wow, do I have a ton to share with you.  2 weeks packed full of biking and running beside the ocean, a dip or two in the salty water bath tub, a couple triathlons, time in the great California sun and even a trip to see Mickey and Minnie.  

More posts coming!

Leaving you with a picture captured at my favourite spot along our "regular" biking route, just south of Carlesbad.  It was the kind of day you never wanted to end.