Monday, September 17, 2012

Chicago Half Marathon!

I know this post is long overdue, since the Chicago Half Marathon was last Sunday (Sept. 9). I really just wasn't on the computer last week and then went camping this past weekend. Also, I completely crashed in the race so I haven't been as excited to share it with you. But, I think its important for me to share my successes and failures because I'm human! On that note, maybe I should share my failed recipes, but that would mean a lot of posts haha.

I was really excited for this race and thought I trained pretty well. My last training run before the race, 11 miles, went well at a 9-minute mile pace. So I was shooting for this pace during the race and had it for about 3 miles and then I literally completely crashed and wanted to quit. But, I finished the race at a very slow pace and a horrible time of 2:13:39. I know that this isn't really a horrible time and that many people would be happy with it, but it was one of my worst half-marathon times and I definitely trained to do much better. I even did better at the Miami Beach Half Marathon last December without training, while injured, and during extremely humid weather. So, that's why I've been so disappointed with this race.

I'd like to dissect why this race turned out to be such a disaster for me. First of all, the weather was quite perfect, mid-60s for most of the race, which is what I was hoping for. The course was also very flat and not too crowded, so I can't blame it on those things. I think that ultimately, my preparation was bad and my mind wasn't in the race. I didn't eat much the week and days before the race because I was having a bad week and it made my stomach upset. I tend to not eat as much when I'm stressed out. During the race, I literally felt like I hit a wall and had no energy. I hadn't felt this way at all during my training runs. I posted on preparing for race day but I really didn't follow my own advice. I did not adequately carbo-load the days before the race and I'm pretty sure this is what caused me to hit the wall so early in the race. I definitely should not have crashed after 3 miles.

I mildly had a cramp in my stomach during the race and I think that what I ate before caused it. My picture below shows my fuel before, during, and after the race. I had toast with peanut butter about an hour before the race and I think this is what caused the cramp. I hadn't eaten this prior to running before, which was a mistake. I also had the Vega Pre-Workout Energizer about a half-hour before the race. I've been using this before crossfit workouts so I don't think that it made my stomach hurt. Finally, I had a banana right before the race which I've eaten plenty of times before races so that wasn't the culprit either. My stomach hurt so much from the cramp and being lethargic that I couldn't even eat the Vega Endurance Gels or Honey Stinger Energy Gel that I packed in the race. I've eaten these during previous runs and they are great for sustained energy. I really should have tried to eat them.

The final thing that I think contributed to my demise was the lack of sleep. I usually don't sleep well before races because I'm nervous anyway but our downstairs neighbors were having a huge part with very loud music (the kind that vibrates the whole floor). And regardless of my several calls to the front desk complaining, they didn't turn it down, so that was annoying. So I think that lack of sleep and food and a bad breakfast contributed to my much worse than anticipated race time. This really proves that preparation the hours/days before the race is just as important as months of training. And, in fact, I would call both of those aspects nearly equal because I had similar times for this half and the Miami half. During the Miami half, my legs were hurting a lot because I had been hurt and didn't do any long training runs (just crossfit and biking). But I didn't feel lethargic because I got adequate sleep and ate well before the race. This half was the opposite in that my legs didn't really hurt but I felt like I had no energy. Therefore, even though this race was a disappointment, I definitely learned something valuable and I'm glad that I can share it with my readers!

My boyfriend caught up with me around mile 11, I was dying and wanted him to take me home right there, don't let the smile fool you. By the way, I like how they write your first name on your bib so that people can cheer for you. However, I could tell that people would glance at my bib and start to say my name and then just give up or call me "Linda" or something haha.

My stomach hurt so much after the race that I threw up all of the lemon-lime gatorade I had drank (ewww). I finally ate this amazing Qdoba burrito after my stomach settled and it really hit the spot. 

Have you ever crashed during a race?

Do you have any races coming up this fall?

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