I am having a really hard time writing this race report. I am not sure why.
Let me start at the beginning…
In the week before the race, I trained pretty hard – what I mean is, I didn’t taper. This is a bad idea if you want to race well the following weekend. I know this.
But in the back of my head is the fact that I am going to be in Colorado for 8 days and will not be training hardly at all.
So I pushed it, kept my weight training and interval sessions going. I probably pushed it too far and I paid for that in the race, starting with a body that was already pretty tired.
The night before I had salmon with steamed broccoli and a salad. I also had some white rice avocado & cucumber sushi (without the fish, cause that is just gross) because I wanted to take in a little bit of carbs before the race, and this had the good fat of avocado in it.
Yes, rice is a grain – I do not eat sugars and grains in my day-to-day diet, but I am using them in my longer distance training and racing. More on that at the end of this post.
That morning, I had full fat yogurt with berries, it has been my go-to pre-run meal that has been working well.
Anyway, it was kind of weird set-up at the check-in. First of all, there was no given time, just to be there “before the race start” (WHICH WAS AT 11AM!! So late!) to pick up your bib number. The other weird thing was that there were no signs anywhere. I followed the runner people around and found the door that was unlocked and then the room I had to go to and check in.
A bunch of us got into a line that had formed in front of this table, and one of the volunteers started hollering “SIT DOWN!! RELAX!!! WE PROMISE NOT TO START THE RACE WITHOUT YOU!”
We all looked at each other in surprise, and started to wander to an empty seat. I felt like I was in high school again. 15 seconds later he announced, “We are ready!! Get in line!”
Hmmm. OK. So I picked up my stuff and wandered outside.
I went back to the car and ate an Amrita bar with some coconut oil (I actually dipped the bar in the oil. It was awesome.)
I wondered where the race started, but I figured I would just follow the other runners. As I was standing there literally 15 people asked me if I knew where the start line was. Finally someone announced it was up the hill, and a drove of runners started walking in a direction so I just followed.
The race start was kind of funny, all of a sudden everyone just started running. I didn’t hear anyone say go or anything. But we went.
I feel like I ran really well the first 10 miles, averaging 9:15-9:30 minute miles. It was warmer than I am used to – around 50 degrees and I was over dressed. I had stripped down to a T-shirt by mile 6.
I was fueling every hour+- with what was left of my Amrita bar and a few chews that had faster acting sugar in them if I needed a boost, and taking water at the aid stations. I completely forgot my Salt Stick which was another mistake.
Around mile 11 is where I started to cramp up. My stomach (which never gets cramped) seized up. My right calf cramped up. I was thirsty, I couldn’t get enough water.
By mile 14, I walked through and beyond an aid station, that lap was 10:30…the next 2 were 11 and then 11:31. My HR was all over the place. I just felt bad.
I daydreamed about my mother driving by in her car and picking me up and taking me to Caratunk. I calculated how slow I could go and not be completely disappointed with myself.
I hated life for those 3 miles. The cramps got worse and worse. My HR was high high high and low low low.
That’s when I did what I said I would never do again. At the next aid station, I drank Gatorade.
I was desperate for something that would change my situation. It worked.
My pace started dropping, my HR stabilized, and my cramps went away. I grabbed lemonade at the next aid station, I figured WTF at that point.
My next miles were 9:52, 9:50, 9:23 – by the time I got to the finish, I was back on my original pace and feeling pretty good.
Final time (by my Garmin) was 3:19:52. I’ll freaking take it.
My bonk came from a few places:
1) I was racing on legs that were already pretty tired from training. I pushed them a little over the edge – I think that is part of where the cramping came from.
2) Nutrition/Electrolyte fail. I didn’t take in enough calories, plain and simple. Gatorade has nothing but crap in it really, but it does have calories, fluid, and electrolytes, something my body needed (obviously considering how it reacted to it).
Random thing – I drank pickle juice as soon as I got into the car. That should be on every race course! Don’t ask why I had a jar of pickles in the car.
Getting back to training/racing nutrition vs day-to-day nutrition…
I live day-to-day eating no sugar and no grains – I eat this way because it makes me feel great, and I think that for me anyway, if I eat that stuff when I am not immediately burning it off, it goes straight to my butt. I have no doubt that this is the best way for me to eat in life.
But…for racing (and the really long training days), I am not sure eating NSNG during the race gives me much of a buffer to carry me through. Not as I have experienced it to this point anyway.
So as I am figuring this all out, I think that pre-race (and pre-long training days) I am going to use things like sweet potatoes and rice (things I have been completely avoiding), continue to use coconut oil and Amrita, and add the occasional dose of sugar if as need it to get the job done. The rest of the time (as in day-today in life) I am going to continue to eat clean, NSNG.
Thanks for reading!