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Long Beach 1/2 Marathon Race Report – Part Deux

13 Oct

In which our heroine almost melts but eeks out a PR

Welcome back! When last we saw our heroine, she was waking up after only about 4 hours of sleep. Yikes!

Long Beach Outfit

Yes, it's blurry. Yes, it was 4:15 am. Deal.

I had laid out all of my gear the night before. When I thought  I was running the full marathon, I was worried I’d still be running when the Giants’ game started. I’m one of those crazy superstitious people who thinks that they can affect the outcome of a professional sporting event by wearing or failing to wear certain clothes. So I knew I had to wear a Giants shirt and I finally found a Giants’ shirt that wasn’t cotton (kids large) – scoured every Target in the tri-state area for that baby. Once I realized how warm it was going to be, I threw a tank top on underneath. I figured if I got too hot, I could always take one shirt off. I also opted for a Giants visor. In general I don’t wear hats when I run. I’ve got a lot of hair and it gets really hot under there. For some random reason I grabbed the visor at the last minute and I’m really glad I did [see what I did there with the foreshadowing?].

oh, hey.

I grabbed 2 mini Lara bars and a Starbucks instant iced coffee and I was off. Yep. Breakfast of champions people. At least I remembered breakfast this time [I’m looking at you, PCRF 1/2 of death]. Getting to the race was relatively smooth. Unlike a lot of other runners I didn’t get stuck on the 710 largely because I got lost and didn’t take the 710. Deplorable sense of direction to the rescue! I did circle my pre-paid parking lot for about 20 minutes before realizing it was where I needed to be. Because I’m great.

I was debating back and forth between taking a Gu every 4 miles and every 5. I grabbed 3 before I left the house, figuring I could make the decision based on how I was feeling. I also decided to carry along my handheld filled with Strawberry Lemonade nuun. I don’t know if it was the smartest idea. Yes, I got more electrolytes, but I also ended up cruising through some of the water stops when I should have stopped. It was more of a security blanket than anything else – I had run all of my long runs with it and couldn’t quite imagine not having it.

As I was leaving the parking garage to head over to the start, I saw on Twitter that one of my Ragnar teammates Elisabeth had locked all of her gear in her car. Oh no! I told her I had some extra Gus she was welcome to – decision made, I was doing every 5 miles instead of every 4. I tried to catch up with her before the start but got caught in the obscenely long porta-potty lines. Luckily I was able to catch up with Lis and Heather (another one of the Ragnar ladies) around mile 4 and was able to give Lis my extra Gu.

So how was the actual race?

Meh. I felt really good at the beginning. Much, much too good. The energy of running in such a large crowd was great but it made me start way too fast. I knew I was going to positive split, I knew there’s no such thing as banking time but I just couldn’t help myself. I wasn’t drinking enough water but by the time I realized it, I was already well into mile 8. It was also stupidly hot and sunny on the course. I’m convinced if I hadn’t worn my visor, I would have absolutely melted. Most of the middle of the course is out along the beach path which is beautiful but provides no shade at all. Once again, the New York football Giants save the day. All hail the New York Giants! [and if you know that movie reference, please move to LA and be my best friend.]

you can't tell from this photo, but when I run I ACTUALLY look like Phoebe from Friends.

Around mile 11.5 I got a really bad knot in my right hamstring that just wouldn’t go away. I also realized that I had somehow added almost .5 miles to the course according to my Garmin. Because I’m great. My Garmin beeped 13 mile and I couldn’t even see the finish line – that was a mental killer. I did way more walkin in these last 2 miles than I’d like to admit. Add that to the list of things to work on for next time.

ugh, another 1/2 mile? really?

I eeked out a PR but considering how poorly my first 2 1/2 marathons went, that’s not saying much. Overall, I was pleased with the beginning of the run, disappointed with the end and frustrated with the heat. Still, I would definitely run Long Beach again [hopefully in cooler temperatures]. Everything from the expo to the post race space blankets (which I totally stole to use at NY) went so, so smoothly. The organizers did a tremendous job. For a race that big it was outstanding – definitely better than R’n’R LA last year!

yeah, i'm slow, it's cool.

Stay tuned for our next installment: Mistakes I made in Long Beach that I absolutely cannot make in NY.

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Product Review: Nuun Electrolyte Tablets

27 Sep

Now that I’ve been running longer and longer distances, I’ve found that just drinking water on my long runs isn’t quite cutting it. Here’s my problem – I really like water and I really dislike sugary drinks. I don’t drink a ton of soda or juice. And I REALLY don’t like Gatorade. By itself it’s tolerable, but when I’m running, it just makes me want to throw up. I’ve never really used it during training at all. I accidentally tried it during the PCRF 1/2 Marathon with disastrous results.

But I felt like I needed something extra during this season’s training. I was running more in the heat and it felt like I was drinking obscene amounts of water that didn’t seem to help at all. So I figured I’d give Gatorade another try. Maybe if I cut with a lot of water, I’d like it more. Nope. I went all the way down to 1/4 Gatorade and 3/4 water and I felt like I was gagging every time I drank it. It left a syrupy taste in my mouth that I just couldn’t get rid of. But I did notice that having SOMETHING did seem to help my runs a little (although it’s definitely possible it was all in my head). Enter nuun.

Hello, Lover

I had heard about nuun all over the internets [I follow a bunch of the ladies on their Hood to Coast team among other things]. I loved the idea that nuun doesn’t contain sugar. I also loved that I could carry them in the little pouch of my water bottle – that meant that I could drink regular water, a nuun-filled bottle, and then more regular water. Excellent.

Still, though, I am very poor. Being very poor, I refuse to buy anything that is not on sale. While shopping at REI with a friend the other day, I came across a sale on nuun. How awesome! I grabbed 2 packages – Strawberry Lemonade and Tangerine Ginger. I tried the Strawberry Lemonade flavor after my 5k on Sunday (I really wanted to try it out and I was too excited to wait until an actual run). It had a very, very light taste to it. I was worried that because it had no sugar, the nuun would have that diet soda flavor to it. Luckily, it didn’t at all. It tasted really light. I was a happy, happy girl.

The real test came when I tried it out on my last long run. It was great! I know I don’t drink enough water when I run (largely because I’m afraid if I stop running to refill my water bottle, I’ll just stop). During my last few long runs, I’ve noticed that my fingers have gotten pretty swollen. I was hoping that by adding electrolytes, I could avoid that. Well, mission accomplished! I started with a bottle of nuun, switched to regular water and then finished up with a bottle of nuun. 15 miles later, no swelling. Success!

Overall, the nuun was fabulous! I’m seriously thinking about carrying it with me on race day. How do you hydrate on long runs?

And don’t forget to vote for our Ragnar team name!

>things to do that aren’t watching the super bowl

6 Feb

>

Workout: 4.3 mi., 45:20

Finally got my 4 mile “long” run in today. Friday was a no good, very bad day which led to a very drunk Friday night and a very hungover Saturday. So I knew the run wasn’t happening. Yesterday was a draggy hungover-ish sort of day. I took some Tylenol PM (read: several) and hoped to but up early to get my run in. Ah, the best laid plans … By 9:30 I was awake but laying in bed playing on my computer and catching up on blogs. It was cold in my apartment and warm in my bed. I finally forced myself to get up and get dressed, then fiddled around with my music. By the time I actually got out the door, it was almost 11am.

And let me tell you, it is hot in Los Angeles at 11 am. I have to work on getting up and out earlier or there is no way I’m ever going to make it through the summer. It’s only February, people! The first mile I felt tired and sluggish and I just couldn’t get going. My right calf was stiff and my breathing was funny. I couldn’t find shade and the sun was gross. I sort of settled in by mile 2, but I started getting some weird right ankle/foot pain. I think it’s because the sidewalks I was running on were slightly slanted. I felt like my Garmin (whom, I believe, I have decided to name Henry. Apparently to be a cool running blogger you have to name your electronics? Ok.) beeped way early for the end of mile 3. that made mile 4 seem absolutely interminable. I just wanted to be finished and not hot and curled back in bed. But i finished and that’s all that counts, right? Right?!?

I’m going to try to come back with another post this afternoon sort of re-evaluating my life and where I want to go (to say that there are some major changes going on would be an understatement). I make no promises, though. Not that there’s anyone reading this out there.