On saturday I woke up at 3:15 am to wait in a painfully long line to board a bus that took me up Provo Canyon where I ran 13.1 miles back down with a couple thousand other people, holding up traffic, sweating like a fiend, and for the most part smiling and having a grand time.
A few things to preface, I am not a runner, nor was I ever before, but I kind of love it. This has very little to do with food, well maybe a little. This post is long, really long. No this will not become a running blog, but the subject may make mention every once in a while; like today.
I had hoped to run the race with my brother who ran his first half marathon october of 2010. I had always wanted to run a long distance race but was just too scared to do it on my own. He encouraged me to pick a race and we would run it together, but due to an old injury of his I ended up in the early morning bus line alone facing the longest run of my life with 2 and a half hours worth of music to accompany me.
Then a sweet girl named Whitney sat by me on the bus. We introduced ourselves, confessed it was our first race and that we were running alone, then we stood in the porta potty line together, became facebook and instagram friends, and ran 9 of the 13.1 side by side getting to know one another. It made the race go so much faster than if it would have been just me, Florence, and the machine.
So basically the race went like this.
the mob of people I am a part of begins to move.
My joints are creaking and my fingers are still chilly.
A water station (already?).
We keep running, passing a few people, being passed by even more, Whitney and I chat about where we're from, school, family and the like.
My body begins to warm up and I am running more smoothly.
I see my twice a week running buddy and kiddie pool friend Makenzie, say hello, introduce myself to her sister and they run off ahead (they're fast).
Whitney and I both shed our jackets because it's starting to get warm, I lose a few almonds and raisins from my pockets in the process.
We keep running and talking, passing more aid and water stations where I quickly learn it's necessary to slow down to a walk if I actually want to ingest the water.
Conversation continues and we realize we're almost out of the canyon, and that we're both harry potter obsessed = all of a sudden we're best friends.
We start seeing families on the side of the road, families who are there to show love and support for their racing relatives.
We talk about what ours are doing and then realize we've only a handful of miles to go.
I start to see the cars held up on our expense and give a silent apology because they will be there for quite some time.
We see more families and imagine our names are on their big posters, we run a little lighter.
By the time 9 miles come around I can't keep up, did I mention she has legs like a model? So I wave her on and my thoughts and music keep me company for a bit.
When I reach bulldog boulevard I realize the end of the race is in a different place than I told my family. I call husband and tell him where I am and where I am soon to be.
I am going to beat him to the finish line.
I will beat them all. My brothers and sisters are on their way from Orem and I am 3 blocks to the end.
I see the clock at the finish, it's one minute under 2 hours, so I start to pick up the pace, I'm flying. and then I'm done. 30 seconds before the goal I set for myself; 30 seconds under 2 hours.
I am handed a medal, grab an orange slice and water, then look for someone I know.
(please don't mind the swoobies)
The rest of the morning (it felt like afternoon) was spent looking for family, looking for bags, eating a creamie (first dairy in so long!), taking instagrams/tweeting/facebooking, getting definite results and then going home for some food, a recovery drink, a rinse, then to the pool where I sat around and enjoyed the sun while toddler and husband enjoyed the slides.
Overall it was a fantastic experience. So much so that I am already planning another race in the fall. One that's a little longer since I figure I'm already halfway there. Of course that is, after a short break.
As for food, I mostly followed Sheena's race day food advice, although I found out afterward that it was a little too much for me, specifically right before the race. I was used to eating little to nothing before my runs in the morning, so what I ate ended up being too much in addition to my nerves and the water I drank. I was having to keep it all down the first 5 miles. not fun.
fuel - day before:
brekky - muesli with blueberries and strawberries, almond milk
lunch - huge salad with greens from our garden, sweet potato, frozen raspberries, chevre, walnuts and brown rice syrup vinaigrette, a tortilla or two, water.
snack - fruit + nut bar, water
dinner - a pasta party, whole wheat spaghetti, sauteed veggies in a marinara, green salad, fruit salad, lots of bread and water
fuel - race day!:
brekky (3:30am) - whole wheat toast with peanut butter, raw honey and a banana, water, a little gatorade and a spoon of coconut oil
an hour before (5am) - some water, a couple sport beans
during the race - water (i grabbed a gu just in case but didn't end up using it)
after the race - whole wheat toast with avocado, a glass of chocolate milk, and lotsa water
a few things I learned:
. training with a friend is the best way to consistently prepare yourself; my twice a week morning running friend makenzie was an answer to a prayer.
. I should have stuck with the things I did during my other long runs. Eat a little right before, maybe a fruit + nut bar, and bringing along almonds and dried fruit for the ride.
. I want to try out more natural/whole food alternatives to sports drinks/beans/gu chews like coconut water, nuts, and dried fruit. I actually really liked the sport beans, but they seemed to throw me off balance; any recommendations/advice?
. note to self, get a new running top. One that doesn't rub or show sweat marks. people will think you're lactating..
. wear less, tying my jacket around my waist wasn't too bad, but I think next time (despite the cold) I'd wear a long sleeve shirt over a racer top and shorts instead.
. doubling up my support was a good idea. very good.
. if you can't walk down the stairs the day after, walking down backward is much easier.
. I am much stronger than I thought; and it felt awesome meeting a goal I initially thought would be incredibly difficult.
now for another one!