I may never have another PR with this much time—17 minutes! I can hardly believe it. I am pleased, but the actual experience was the smartest and most enjoyable race I have ran to date. So all this gabbing and running in training really did pay off in a big way.
Our goal was to run 10:30 splits and we were close with 10:25 during the first half and 10:40 during the second half. And, this was included one restroom stop!
There were a few things I consciously did to power thru this:
1) I fueled correctly starting two days before. I made a big deal out it and gave no excuses not to have food that could become glycogen for my muscles.That means, the whit stuff that we are told is so bad; white rice, bread, flour tortillas with hummus, pasta and more white rice. I also met a friend for dinner the night before who was running her first 10k—it has to be fun too! Unfortunately, I did have a dream that I gained 50lbs and couldn't run in the morning. Good thing that doesn't happen overnight.
2) Pro KT Tape. I have a strained Achilles tendon and this it a must to keep it feeling good and give it a little extra support. The Pro version of the tape does stick better. It comes in a plastic case to store it. KT's site is loaded with videos demonstrating how to apply the tape for your particular strain. www.kttape.com/instructions/
3) I ran with one head phone on and the other off so I could hear my run partner and interact with spectators and other runners. I felt the cheerleader in me from the late 80's surface and I loved ever howl of it. I even thought of my old coach—CheerLEAD. I believe that these bursts of excitement, thanking volunteers, telling runners "Sweet Skirt!", and slapping high-fives to every stranger that looked like they were energized and ready for it, actually springs more bounce to my step. However, the talking was consciously kept in check. I am not making that mistake again. We mostly checked our Garmins to say, "we're doing great, I love this course, I am feeling good, or there's the photographer!"
4) I have found my new favorite thing to energize with at mile 20… Pickle Pops. It is a packet of crushed pickles in pickle juice with 250mg of precious sodium. It is an instant kick in the can.That is twice that of GU Roctane and about 4x that of regular GU. I first tried pickle juice at the Grand Rapids, Michigan Marathon and it gave me an awakening boost. My run partner tried the Pickle Pops at mile 23 and she was amazed. She said it saved her. Pickle Pops will now be part of my training and big race days. I will have 2 of them in my next Marathon. http://bobspicklepops.com
5) My mindset or "mission" was really on keeping as close to goal as possible and enjoying the circumstances of this race. I wanted to have a smile on my face and to have the new experience of running with someone without completely turning inward. There are plenty of future adventures that I can rely on just me. But this moment I wanted to LIVE the experience of a little teamwork, and fun and it payed off.
6) I had 4 GUs. That is a first for me. I seem to loose my mind and stop taking them—not this time.
7) I pulled out a mantra: Don't…You…Surrender! When my body was spent I told myself to relax and slow the breathing and repeated Don't…You…Surrender! Every race is hard, and if it is not for you, maybe you need to go faster or move on to a longer distance. Unless I am running with a five year-old, I am on "E" for Empty at the end of every race no matter the distance.
8) Time to recover with CherryFlex. I have been taking this real food product for a couple years after runs of 8 or more miles. I would take it more if I was a beginner. It is particularly important for me after a race or when I have a strain. I take more of it then (4 pouches or 2 teaspoons of the tub) usually within 30-minutes after going long. Tart cherries reduce muscle and joint inflammation and have strong antioxidant properties. This product tastes like concentrated whole tart cherries and that is what it is. I believe it helped me recover quicker to run my first Half Marathon after a hamstring-pull that I could not run on the week before in 2011. I was sore the day after the BayShore Marathon going down stairs, but I was still able to be active. My in-laws didn't even notice I was sore or stiff. I could actually run 3 days later, but due to my rules of recovery I am waiting a week no matter how good I feel, and depending on this CherryFlex to help the swelling in my Achilles tendon so I can recover faster and better. www.cherryflex.com
Other Racing Highlights
Family: One of the highlights was seeing my two children and husband as I was approaching the track finish. I lost 16 seconds hugging them. But it was worth it and I would do it again. I want to mark their memories as they have marked mine and when 98% of this is about me, it is important to give it up a little. It is not like I was heading to Boston Qualify. I knew I was heading in for a PR and it is their time too.
Massage: Another factor that made this a great experience, included a trip to the Excelerate VIP tent where I received a leg massage and my swollen Achilles tendon got some attention. It was the best massage I have ever had. There has to be something different about a sports massage technique. I am thinking that the foam roller needs to come on these trips so I can drive after. I am not kidding in the least bit. Rolling out those super tight muscles is painful but relieves tension.
Food: The BayShore Marathon has homemade cookies at the end and chocolate milk! I will pass on the Doritos, and premium ice cream (sorry, I can't stomach that after all this) but you would have seen me down 5 homemade snicker doodles, sugar, m&m, and peanut butter cookies with a chocolate milk. They also had a large spread of other carbs like bagels, pop and oranges—which I usually lean towards, but the homemade cookies swept me away.
What I need to Fix
Choking up: I don't know how to fix this. But I need to NOT think about anyone dear to me in the last 3 miles. I get emotional. I did this in my first Marathon and decided then, that dedicating the last 5 miles to my loved ones made me gasp for air and tighten my throat. Apparently my run partner has a similar issue. She was getting emotion in the last 2 miles. My squeal about having a monthly visitor at that moment changed the game and slapped us both out of it. This race needed to be over now. And add this to a tip: I bring extra clothes and was glad I did this day.