I had to take some time to clear my head before writing this post because it wouldn’t have been pretty if I hadn’t. I ran my last long run before the Cherry Blossom 10 miler on April 11, and I decided to go for the whole 10 miles. I figured it would be a good gauge of what to expect during the race. I also wanted to test my fuel intake. What I learned is that I have a few things to tweak to make my race successful.
I started out with my Liquid Carrot Cake smoothie, but I think I added too much to it.
I used a handful of baby carrots, 1 cup unsweetened soy milk, 1/4 cup Greek plain yogurt, 1 tbsp PB and 1 tbsp. flax.
I woke up kind of off. I’m always slow to start on Saturday mornings because I’m just so beat from the week before. I drank the entire smoothie (which I shouldn’t have—I think this was mistake #1) but I wanted to be sure I had enough calories. I packed a small baggie with a handful of raisins and some cashews to eat along the way and figured I’d drink Gatorade at the water stop to keep my electrolytes up.
Since I’ve been noticing slight fatigue after stopping too long at the water stations, I decided to hit it up on the way back. I figured if I made it to the halfway point without stopping I wouldn’t feel so sluggish. WRONG.
The first five miles were OK. I didn’t feel bad, but I never really felt good. My stomach was pissed at me for drinking that entire smoothie so I was feeling a little sluggish to begin with.
I passed by the first water station at mile three feeling OK, and then ran by the station at mile 4 (where the food is.) This was so stupid of me because I didn’t take into account that it would be 6 miles before I got to stop for fuel. (we have stations at miles 3 and 4) So I ran the first 5 miles with no water or fuel. Dummy. And that’s when it hit me-at mile 5, I ran up a hill, turned around and a 70 year old guy (at least!) passed me. It was at the point where I realized I needed to eat something so I pulled out the raisins and cashews.
However, I was having a hard time eating them because I was breathing so hard. I thought I was going to choke. (mistake #2-no more chewable food while I’m running.) At this point, I hit the wall HARD. I was struggling and it took everything I had to make it to the water stop.
I got there, shoved the rest of the raisins in my mouth, grabbed some Gatorade, and kept going. I kept thinking that I was more than halfway there, and that at a worst case scenario I’d be done in 40 minutes.
Holy hell this was the worst 4 miles ever. I was just doing everything I could to keep myself from stopping. I seriously wanted to stop and beg for a ride back to the parking lot. Deep down inside I was cursing myself—why are you doing this? You don’t NEED to do this Nicole. You can stop right now and walk, it’s OK.
But I knew if I stopped, I’d be walking the rest of the way and that wasn’t an option for me. I didn’t want to be out there any longer than I needed to be, and shit, if I can’t finish this now, how the hell am I going to finish the race in 2 weeks? KEEP GOING NICOLE. Run slower if you have to, just DON’T STOP!
And then I was done. I was pissed, miserable, and relieved at the same time. I drank some more water, stretched, and was out of there before anyone had the chance to talk to me. I wasn’t feeling conversation, and if you know me, you know that’s not like me.
So what did I take out of this? A few things.
- I’m bringing honey sticks with me to the race to eat along the way.
- Fuel sooner
- Things change day by day. One day I’ll feel awesome and go out and run with an amazing time and no efforts, and the next day will feel like garbage. Last week I ran a 15K in 1:21. I felt awesome and was so excited about the race. Today, I was miserable and fighting with myself to continue. So setting a goal for myself is kind of silly since it can go either way.
My time? 10 miles, 1:31: 01
I am actually realizing I didn’t run as slow as I felt. I was too pissed to look at my splits before, but my slowest mile was 9:32 at mile 9. I swear I felt like I was running 11 minute miles.
Mile 1: 9:05 (it was cold so I started out not being able to feel my feet)
Mile 2: 8:47 (starting to warm up a little and feeling OK)
Mile 3: 8:55 (passed the first water station, starting to struggle but not too bad)
Mile 4: 8:46 (feeling OK and thinking I’m finally warming up)
Mile 5: 8:51 (passed by old guy and starting to feel like total garbage)
Mile 6: 9:14 (struggling. I mean, really struggling.)
Mile 7: 9:23 (still struggling. I wanted to die.)
Mile 8: 8:56 (picking it up a little but still struggling.)
Mile 9: 9:32 (omg one more mile left??)
Mile 10: 9:13 (Thank friggin GOD!)
I’ll be taking it easy for the next two weeks.
I think I really need to give myself some rest if I’m going to enjoy the Cherry Blossom run. How soon should I start to taper? And how should I taper? I’m still trying to figure this whole thing out.