Monday, April 27, 2009

13.1 miles summed up: Hot, Hilly, Hellish

Here is the race report I wrote up for the tri club:

Heather Zoller-Gritz
Country Music Half Marathon
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Nashville, TN
Race Type:
Run - Half Marathon
Age Group:
Female 35 - 39
Overall Place:
21638 / 22749
Age Group Place:
2058 / 2179

I met my sister in Nashville so the two of us could run our first half marathons. I've been fighting a nagging foot issue but put in the miles and after a good 10 miler last Sunday felt prepared for the race. After running consistently in 50 & 60 degree weather I wasn't prepared for it to be 80 by the time we started (in corral 27, almost an hour after the first runners started) to only get hotter and sunnier along the way. I felt good for the first five miles other than what seemed like constant uphills, not big hills just lots of them (very decieving elevation chart. Cytomax and water on the course and I took some at every stop. At the halfway point I was right where I expected to be, right about 1:30 (I was aiming for 3 hrs).Unfortunately things went downhill (not literally) from there. I started to feel sick to my stomach and felt increasingly dizzy so I sat down in the shade, ate my sport beans and waited for the bathroom. I felt considerably better after about 10 minutes of downtime. At the next water stop I took Cytomax, water and added some salt (literally, from 2 packets sitting on a table).

That did the trick and I was able to alternate running and walking but my calves felt really tight every time I ran. I kept telling myself time didn't matter, I just wanted to finish. At mile 11 my calves started seizing up so bad I couldn't walk, the cramps went all the way down into my feet. I had to stop, stretch and massage them to keep moving, first one side, then the other. I felt like I was getting passed by 100s of people every time I stopped. By that time I just wanted it to be over, it was hot, no shade and I was moving so slowly I really thought it would never end. There were cheerleaders giving out jelly beans and then a Gu station, I had some of each and some water and that seemed to help with the cramps but I couldn't run at all, my calves wanted nothing to do with it so I walked the rest of the way in.

There was good music all along the course and tons (31000 between the marathon and half) of people. There were a good number of shuttles moving people from the finish line to the start. The finish was at LP Field where the Titans play which was pretty cool. I will definitely carry some liquid with me next time if there is any doubt about whether I will need it.

Yesterday at the airport I was talking to a guy in the security line and he said of the 20 halves he has done this was by far the hardest, that definitely made me feel a bit less of a wuss. I am seriously torn between awe of the accomplishment and disappointment that I didn't run much more than half of it. Probably a good life lesson in accepting what you can't change.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The day the oven died

I ran after work and came home to relax before throwing something together for dinner. Gman started up the grill and I turned on the oven. When I opened it to put a couple of things in it, I noticed it was still cold although it had preheated. I switched it from convection to regular oven and still no HEAT. Hmm, isn't that the whole freaking purpose of the oven?! On to Plan B.

is on the case, promising to try and trouble shoot it tomorrow. Part of me wants to get rid of the bugger and put in a shiny new one, a GAS one but I was hoping when I did that I'd get a whole new kitchen to go with it!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Wear Ugly Man Shoes

These are my new "ugly man shoes." When I started running I never, ever thought that finding the right shoe was akin to the pursuit of the holy grail. There are so many permutations of running shoes--what is your arch, pronation, how far do you run, how much do you weigh, do you wear and orthotic--if not, hey we can sell you one. With the formula you'd think that they could pop in the data and come up with a shoe that makes you run like the wind. Wouldn't you?

I have been wearing New Balance shoes for most of the time I've been running other than a misguided detour over to Mizuno. I also ended up at the podiatrist for custom orthotics when my foot started burning and then feeling like I was running with a knife stabbing me continually in the forefoot. The orthotics helped, some. They let me get from 3 miles to 5 miles before the pain got unbearable. This then lead me to the great running sock search.

Injinji toe socks, super thin Nike socks, Adidas bamboo socks. Each were okay but only for so long, like 5 miles. The super thin socks are winning so far but not sure they'll hold up for a half marathon. The bamboo socks are okay but I put toenails (short ones) through them on a regular basis. The toe socks were great for awhile, theory being it separates the toes and helps take pressure off the forefoot. Still, pain between 3 and 5 miles.

Finally, with a 9 mile run staring me in the face I went back to the local running store for new shoes. Anyone in Howard or surrounding counties--go to Feet First, they rock (locally owned, knowledgable staff, new high tech equipment and big new store!). I gotta say that it was the best shoe fitting ever, even if I ended up with ugly man shoes. I learned early on that you have to be willing to pay whatever and wear whatever feels good. The cute or cool looking shoes are rarely the ones. The heavier you are and the further you run the more true this becomes, IMHO. I must have tried 0n 2o pairs of shoes, each of them having some annoying factor, rubbing the top of the toes, rubbing the ankle, slipping the heel, or all of the above. After much trial and error out came the ugly man shoes. Smart sales guy didn't TELL me they were man shoes. Smart guy. It would have made me resistant, because that is just the way I roll. He gave me the super special way to tie the shoes so my heel wouldn't slip. Nothing sewn across the top of the shoe to rub in one spot or another. Ahhh, running shoe nirvana.

Now I feel I must begin to stockpile the ugly man shoe. Unfortunately in the running shoe world the companies remake their shoes all. the. time. And the new, improved version, isn't necessarily an improvement for all of the devotees of the current shoe. I did get a heads up that Hola Bird Sports is a great source for shoes at a discount, especially the discontinued ones. And the best news FREE SHIPPING.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Where Have I Been?

Well, its been a really interesting Spring! Work has been crazy, lots of new people in and old out. New assignment taking an extra 20 hours or more per week. In this world you don't say no. The work has been interesting and exciting but also exhausting!

Gman and I did take a short break and went to Las Vegas with Builder Mama and her Mister. It was a nice break from the chaos.

In between working and sleeping I've mostly been running. T minus 13 days until the half marathon! I ran 9 miles yesterday and felt good. It really made me think I wasn't nuts for signing up for 13.1 miles. Hopefully the good feeling will hold a couple more weeks. My sister has been cranking out the miles considerably more quickly than I but my real goal is just to FINISH.

I dropped out of my first tri of the season, just not enough hours in the day to get in the biking and swimming necessary for that one. I am S-L-O-W in the water and would have to, horror of horrors, buy a wetsuit! Right now I am just concentrating on the running.

Hopefully I will be around more often. Love to you all :)