Not sure where to start. Perhaps I will start by talking about how super sore my legs are right now. My calves down to my ankles are killing me today. I don't know if my racing flats do it to me or if it was just the course and the way I pushed the body. All I know is that my legs hurt something fierce. Recovery might take longer than expected.
Friday night we headed down the the Jr. Bix for the kids. Aiden and Addy both ran the .5 mile. I love watching my kids run and compete. I don't know what it is, but watching them give their all in something just makes me so proud of a parent. Addy ran with the 6 year olds(yes, she is 5, but she needed more of a challenge than the 70 yard course of the 5 year olds). She did great. What cracks me up about Addy is her outlook on things. We asked her how she did and she told us, "Good, I was first, but some of the kids just budged me in line!" That cracks me up and it such a typical Addy perspective.
Aiden ran with the 7 year olds. He is not much of a runner, but one thing he does is go all out. He just went hard from the start. This is one of the few times where we get to watch him push himself. He does not have a competitive bone in his body so this is always great to see him challenge himself.
Afterwards I could not resist and tore up some hotdogs, popsicles, and Hostess snacks with the kids. I told myself not to do it, but how does one pass up such greatness? I had been eating clean all week so this food put my body in shock later that night.
This year was great as Amanda decided to do the Bix. She has not raced any type of race ever. She has been working hard on her running, trying to stay motivated and increasing her time she can run. Since we were both running the kids headed to Fulton to stay with their grandparents(thank goodness for such amazing grandparents to help us out in a pinch). Being that we did not have kids Amanda said we had to go out to eat. She chose Sportsfans. I will be honest and was thinking this is not going to be good. How do you there and not eat complete junk. I had my race goals and did not want to ruin my race by food, especially food I have kept out of my system for a week. I have no self control so I had a Pretzel sandwich with turkey(not terrible), but popcorn and a few mason jars. We then watched the Olympics and I was sleeping early as I was wiped out from my big swim earlier that day.
3:00 am I wake up having to pee. I tried to hold it, but could not. As soon as I got up my body went into feel like crap mode. My blew up with congestion, I started doing my morning sneeze routine, I started getting hot and sweaty, and just was a mess. About 30 minutes of making noise and tossing and turning I decided to get up to not wake Amanda anymore.
4:00 am - Thank goodness the Olympics had started. I watched some vicious Badminton. I ate two waffles being that my nutrition plan did not start until 5 am. I was starving. I had a cup of coffee and some agave nectar with my waffles. This started my stomach down a whirlwind path of pain. All that crap I ate the night before hit me. It put a shock on my body. I felt sick to my stomach big time. No more details are needed except I was worried about even being able to race 7 miles without messing myself on the course. I also foamed rolled my legs. My right calf was tight and felt terrible.
5:00 am - Three hours before race I started my nutrition plan. I have been working on this pretty seriously lately. I went all liquid from this point on. No solid food for me. I made my carb/protein drink with some Hammer Nutrition. I began sipping on this over the next 2.5 hours along with some water. I just alternated back and forth. Typically, I would just eat waffles and coffee and then water until the race with a GU right before. I went a new approach along with my change of eating habits.
6:00 am - I am out the door and to the the course. I always need to leave early due to my nerves. My stomach was still a mess. Thank goodness many restrooms had not been used and abused yet so early in the morning. I got all set up and then just walked around for a bit trying to get my gut to settle. It was a beautiful morning.
7:00 am - I took my Endurolytes and headed out for a mile warm-up along the river with about 6 pick up where I took off at a mid sprint to get the legs and heart ready to go.
Pre-Race - What a cool experience to be in the Elite area. So many amazing athletes. I was not feeling nervous, but questioned whether I belonged or not. I stretched a bit and after talking with Jeff and Jen Paul I switched my race strategy. Jen told me to just hammer the first few miles as well as Jeff telling me that my mile 2 would be much faster than what I had in my goal plan. I was glad I talked with them because my plan would not have allowed me to hit my time. They are such great people and have helped me so much this year in attaining my goals by the knowledge they share. I told myself to get after it the first three miles and gauge how I felt.
Running up Brady in the Elite group was awesome. I was able to run straight and now bob and weave all over trying to get around people walking. I was moving up the hill at a much faster clip than I wanted, but it did not feel overly difficult. I told myself to just hang on and stay relaxed. With so many people cheering the runners on it makes it easy to stay relaxed. I just checked them all out to keep my mind off of things. I would check my watch here and there to see where I was time wise.
I was getting nervous after the second mile. My watch was telling me that I was running a faster pace than what the ladies at the mile markers were reading. I kept thinking my watch does not matter because it is not official, but I was not sure I had another gear.
Looking at my Bix strategy I was way ahead of schedule.
For mile 1 I wanted to be under 7:49, but more around 7:35. I killed that by running at 7:02. Not too bad with Brady St. hill.
Mile 2 I wanted to be around 7:00 - 7:05. I was at 6:44. I could have ran faster, but wanted to save my legs a bit for the uphill battle after the turnaround.
Mile 3 and 4 I wanted to be under 7:20. I killed that by staying under 7 for mile 3 and must missing it for mile 4. I slowed down a bit to take a Hammer Gel and water and I had a small section where I zoned out and was not hitting my time. It was around the end of mile 3 I was still feeling good where I decided to change my goal plans. I realized that if I could keep my pace I could hit 49 minutes which is way above my 50 minute goal. I broke the race into mile sections to gauge myself. For mile 4 I tried to hold on and missed the 7 minute mark by a few seconds, but was not too worried because I knew we were starting to climb a bit.
Mile 5 and 6 are my weak spots on this course. Last year I ran 7:37 and 7:52. I wanted to stay strong. I was starting to watch my average running time lose ground. It was here that I told myself to push. Don't be weak. You are not tired. You have to go and go now! I thought about my dad and the message he sent me about kicking the race a new one(a little more detailed than that, but you get the point and to lose all thoughts of self doubt. I flipped a switch. I had a glimmer of a thought to either collapse and fall back or push. I pushed. It was time. I did not just run 4 miles at this pace to not hit a great time.
I hit 7:05 and 7:12. Mile 6 was tough. I was running and I felt like I was flying in terms of my energy output, but just could not get my time down any more. I did not beat myself up as I knew that I could make up some ground on the last mile. I knew that I would just have to hammer that long stretch after the hill descent. I always die on the stretch to the finish. This year I knew I had to dig deep. The last mile I took Brady St. by storm. I cruised down the hill and looked at my watch seeing my average pace dropped to 6:59. I knew I had to hang on the last .4 of a mile. I just found a this high school girl who was floating and everyone was cheering for her. She was waving and smiling and I kept thinking how she was making it look so easy. I just hammered it home trying to follow her and was able to just squeeze in under 49 minutes!
I completely blew myself out of the water. I was beyond surprised. I never imagined even when I was running fantastic that I would hit sub 7 minute mile pace. This was quite unexpected. To say I was happy is putting it mildly. This PR is huge! 58 minutes two years ago. 52:36 last year and now this year 48:54. Another 3.5 minute reduction in my time. That is a huge improvement. My goal of running 7:08 - 7:12 average pace for a 50 minute time zone race time was destroyed Saturday morning. I could not be more happy. This is something that I honestly did not know I had in me.
It is great to have this moment. It really puts things in perspective in terms of what I am doing is working. Yes, I still have much to improve and can always get better, but this is a sign that my training is working. I am getting my nutrition dialed in slowly, but surely. I felt great the whole race running. I am starting to understand more about the body and how it works while training.
Things I Learned
1. If you treat your body right, it is amazing how powerful the body is and what it is capable of accomplishing.
2. Surround yourself by amazing people and take time to learn from them at all times
3. Believe in yourself. Mindset is 90% of success once the time has been put in. I had not self doubt and I felt mentally strong without those thoughts creeping around my brain.
4. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself. If you don't make it, then it is not a failure. Rather, use it as a tool to learn what went wrong and how you can improve. Sometimes these moments are more important than the successes we have.
Amanda did great for her first race. I am so proud of her for tackling this course for her first race. She does not give herself enough credit and is going through all the phases that someone who gets into running goes through. She is in the, "I am not a runner" phase that I sat in for a while and we all go through when we start off. She is battling some heel and back pain, but was able to finish the race and enjoyed herself as well. I look forward to seeing where she goes from here.
More importantly I just hope I can continue to push my body and mind for my family. I hope that I leading by example and that slowly, but surely my determination starts to absorb into my kids. I don't know where they are headed into their sports/activities/hobbies, but whatever they choose I hope they work hard at it.
It was great seeing so many people yesterday. Another great Bix. The weather was perfect. Congrats to all of you who finished.
Today I am back to eating healthy again. No more Sportsfan or junk food(yes, we ate there again for lunch after the race!). I will be back on track. I will sit down at some point today put together a plan for the next few months. Time to make some decisions
Thanks for reading!
Here is a slideshow of some pictures from the weekend.