Tuesday, May 22, 2012


It hardly seems like it can be over already!  I’ve anticipated the Inaugural Portland Rock N Roll Half Marathon for over a year – and it’s OVER.  Oh, and I ROCKED! J

Let’s get the “numbers” out of the way first.  My goal-goal was to finish before the four-hour cutoff.  I knew, with much certainty, that I’d finish before the pooper-scoopers picked me up, as the four-hour time limit didn’t start until the last corral (#24) had started, as I was in #20…so that bought me a few minutes.  But, I wanted to know that I’d really beaten the four-hour mark.  I thought I’d finish around 3:45…but actually crossed the finish line with a chip-time of 3:35:45, for a per mile time of 6:29.  I was super pleased!  (Someone commented if I hadn’t stopped three times to use the facilities, I’d have made 3:30…but I’m not sure – I doubt I was in there two minutes each time!)

(For those offended by Potty Talk – you might want to stop here…there will be gas/poo/and bras discussed at some point!)

Nutrition Plan

So, Coach Lea asked me last week – what is your race day plan?  I admitted that I was just planning to finish…but it did drive me to think about my “real” plan.  The biggest plan was NO G.I. DISTRESS (a.k.a. stomach pains & poo)! (I warned you!)  For any athlete, G.I. distress can be an issue, if you change up your diet in the week before the race – especially in the nutritional supplement department.  I believe it can be even worse for a WLS patient – with our “unique” food restrictions.  So, last week, I was particularly prudent to stick to the meal plan Lea had written for me (I usually do ~90% - but this week I was spot-on!), and to make sure that I had a plan for race day.

The plan was this: carry my 40oz hydration pack with 4 dissolved NUUN tablets (my electrolyte of choice), and drink water at the aid stations – whether I felt I needed it, or not.  No Gatorade (the offered electrolyte), as I hadn’t “practiced” with it.  (No biggie –it was only lemon-lime – and I hate it!)  I ran out of NUUN right before the last aid station, and had one more chug of water…which worked out great.  (Need to have a plan for longer races, though – either a larger hydration pack, or a “refill.”)

Food-wise, (this was NOT Lea’s plan) I had a frozen banana with peanut butter early in the morning, a soy latte on the way to the race, and some trail mix while waiting in the corral to start.  My during-race plan was having a gel every 45 minutes. I like GU peanut butter (the ones handed out at the race expo!) and GU Mandarin Orange – as well as Chocolate #9 (agave energy gel).  Having this many gels in a row was new for me, and I was a bit concerned about a rumbly tummy, but I had them as planned, and except for a little gas between mile 7 & 10, seemed to have no issues.  (On longer training runs, I use gels & trail mix, and sometimes ½ of a p.b. sandwich on Dave’s Killer Bread.)

One thing that I need to work on is my post-race plan.  I really hate chocolate milk, which is the post-race beverage of choice for most folks.   (Though I didn’t see any here…but that may be because of my delirium – more on that later.)  In fact, I am pretty picky about my protein shakes in general.  The only protein drink I’ve really found that I Like-Like is Jay Robb Tropical Dreamsicle Whey Protein powder mixed with soy milk.  I’m going to have to learn to carry it along – even if I have to mix it with water.  Post-race, I just had half a bagel & another jug of water…though they did pass out these really neat little boxes (looks like airplane snack food) with pita chips, hummus, trail mix, and a little piece of dark chocolate. 

Race Execution

I did have a plan, too, for HOW I was going to do this race. If you’ve been following me long, you know that I’m still a wanna-be in the “run” department – though I’ve made great progress the past couple of months.  My plan was to WALK – JUST WALK – the first half.  I knew that most of the up-hills were in the first half, and that a group of friends would be at mile 7.  My plan was to walk until then, and see how I felt.  If I wasn’t having any wonky knee or foot pain, I’d try running on the down-hills and – more than anything else – I wanted to run the last mile.  I wanted RUNNING PHOTOS. 

And, that’s exactly what happened! J  There were a couple of down-hills that looked steep, and slippery with the rain – so I walked those.  But, on the longer, gentler slopes, I ran.  I think, all told, I ran 2.5-3 miles.  I am very happy with that.

Being in the Moment

One thing I’ve struggled with in this process is enjoying the journey.  A planner, by nature, I want to figure out how to get to the end goal – but along the way, I often miss the fun pieces of the process.  Only after the fact, do I realize that the let-down is that the process/journey is over.  So, I made a conscious effort to take note of things I enjoyed about this day, and things that might not have been so enjoyable – but still got noticed.  This was a huge step for me.  Here are things I can think of off the top of my head:

*One of my WLS sisters (Sarah) came from out of town to spend the weekend with me & do this race.  It wasn’t her first ½, but she was as excited as I was.

*First thing, I was able to hook up with a bunch of girls I’d met online (Running Chicks in PDX), most of whom I hadn’t met before.  One thing I did was put a sign on my back “I’m a Chick – Chanda,” and when other Chicks passed me, they said, “Hello.”  It meant the world to me!  (Sarah commented on the fact that some might think I was advertising I wasn’t a “dude.” LOL!)

*On my way to my starting corral, I ran into Iron Man Mike (I knew he was there, but hadn’t figured on being able to hook up).  We had a hug and photo, and were on our way.  Just minutes later, I happened across an acquaintance who is also an Iron Man.  He was encouraging, too!

*As we crossed the Hawthorne Bridge, I noticed a young gal carrying a baby!  I chatted with her – it was her first ½ - and her baby is only THREE WEEKS OLD.  It was, obviously, her baby’s first, too! J  I wished her luck, and kept going.

*I had a gal come up behind me and say, “Chanda?  Like, Enell Chanda?”  LOL!  I believe I discussed last year the importance of good “support” – especially when running – and she’d seen me (my post, not my “girls”) on the Enell bras FB page, saying that I was doing the RnR this weekend.  She was an Enell Sister!  Thank you, Kelly Mooney, for making the effort to say HI (and share your SUPPORT – LOL!) as you passed me.  (I tried to catch you the rest of the race!)

*The bands were great!  The second band was a group of young boys – not even teenagers – that were just the cutest thing!  There were all sorts of bands – all genres – but, my favorite one was at the last aid-station – a country-ish band.  They were singing Sawyer Brown’s “The Race is On,” as I passed by – and got READY TO RUN the last mile.

*At mile 7, a group of non-racing Chicks were there to encourage us & feed those who wanted pretzels, gummy bears, and M&Ms.  (I refrained, though the pretzels looked appealing.)  I stopped to thank them for being there –and use their chair while removing the rock I’d picked up in my shoe along the way.  Thanks to Rose & Shelly (& the others)!!!

*As we were mostly running in residential areas, there were lots of homes with folks out cheering us on.  One lady was even handing out Mimosas!  (Not part of the nutrition plan – and I did NOT partake!)

*There were several medical tents along the way, people stopping for minor (I hope) aches and pains.  I did feel a toe that was a little “hot” – but it wasn’t painful, so I never stopped.  (It did end up being a blister, I found when I got home.)  At Mile 10, the med tent was FULL…I’m hoping that it was just minor stuff, but one lady was laid out – looking not too good.  I am thankful to not have had to utilize their services!

*I did notice along the way that I was having a couple of the “issues” I’ve discovered in training – particularly hunched back & shoulders & bloating in my fingers.  (I’d remembered NOT to wear my rings.)  I worked at making sure to put my hands up over my head at times & to do some arm swings & circles.  It all seemed to help!

*There were folks of all shapes, sizes, ages & abilities in this race…and at all STAGES of the race.  Larger folks who ran the whole thing, “fit-looking” folks who came in right before the pick-up wagon (and at the medical tents), and folks racing in the wheelchair division.  It just goes to show that “fit” is not a size, age, or personality.  I need to keep being reminded of that.  An active lifestyle is just that – a lifestyle, not a demographic.

*We had rain on and off, but it was a warm day.  When out doing a recovery-ish walk today (Tuesday), I realized why it rained. This was the kick-off event for the Portland Rose Festival…and it ALWAYS rains during Rose Festival! J


So, as I finished the race, they took our photos.  I look like I felt – spent & elated.  There were LIMITED tears J  I’m just so grateful to have had this opportunity – a new life. 

I scheduled Monday off of work, and boy am I glad I did.  I wasn’t terribly sore, as I’d had a great session with my trusty foam roller on Sunday afternoon.  But, I was dehydrated & delirious.  In fact, from the time I came through the finish chute, I just couldn’t seem to focus, and Monday was much the same.  I spent the day resting…realizing I’d had 35,000 steps on Sunday and only 1,500 on Monday!  I slept, drank water, ate, hung out with Sarah, and slept some more.

Today, I returned to work, life, and workouts – realizing that my first duathlon is only DAYS away!  Tonight is my recovery massage…and then I’m back to real-life.

I’m not only planning my future – but I’m ROCKIN’ MY FIT DREAMS!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ready to Rock N Roll (inaugural Portland RnR 1/2 marathon)

I thought I’d do a little pre-race rambling…rambling being my specialty, and all!

It’s been sixteen months since my gastric bypass surgery and I’m still so very much in awe of the opportunity I had to change my life.  I am truly “living” my fit dreams – rather than just “dreaming” them.  I had a minor blip in the weight-loss radar last month, but the trip weight has come off –and taken 8 more pounds with it.  I have 18 pounds to goal – and my hope is to be there before my 18-month anniversary in July.

I’ve become an ENDURANCE athlete.  Anyone who can do anything athletic for three to four hours (or more) – is an endurance athlete, no matter the pace.  I’m no longer afraid of not finishing…or even of coming in last.  Quitting is not an option – unless truly injured or sick.

As I’ve said before, for me the planning is usually as much fun as the event itself.  I signed up for the RnR half more than a year ago –and it’s FINALLY race weekend!  Reading back through some of my previous entries, I’m realizing that I need to prepare for my post-race “low.”  I started “training” for this race in October & I do have to say, though, that I did hit an “I don’t really care” phase a couple of weeks ago…which I understand is normal.  I’m past it now – and looking forward to seeing just how much I can do this weekend.  I truly just want to “finish” – but do have a general idea of what time to expect.  We’ll see how much the race-day-adrenaline-rush helps! J

After this race, I only have two more events for the year on the calendar.  I’d “planned” to do a lot more, but anyone who does these events knows that it can be a financial burden.  We’ve had some unexpected things come up, so I’m only going to do the races I’ve already paid for.  This will allow me to change up my plan for the summer…and I’m looking forward to a different training phase.

June 9th, I’ll be doing the Blue Lake Sprint Duathlon.  It will be my last race until fall, and I’ll spend the summer working on “strength”-training rather than “base”-training.

It seems odd to be “ending” my season when others are just ramping up J  But, my goal is to strengthen over the summer (doing Warrior Dash in the fall), and then progress to setting up for my planned February marathon.  (My “I’m going to do a marathon before I turn 40” goal!)  Which means I’ll be off-kilter from others who use the fall/winter months for their strength training & spring/summer for races.  I’ve always marched to my own drummer J

I’ll report again early next week – to share my RnR story.  In fact, the story has already started – but you’ll have to stay tuned!

Living My Fit Dreams!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Still moving...

This is my “high-mileage” week before my slight taper before the Rock N Roll Half, and I’m really enjoying the fact that I’m ABLE to do it.  The week started off with a brick night at Tri Club (with my ride to/from it was 19 miles on the bike and two walking), progressed to 6 miles last night (5 walking, 1 running), and amps up with the Urban Adventure Run tonight (~3 mi for me).  After a break tomorrow, I’ll get in a 12 mile (my longest) walk/run on Saturday and ~6 miles on Sunday.  I’m feeling so great about this!

But, this past month of ramp-up hasn’t been without its pitfalls.  I’ve been on the road three weekends (and partial weeks) in a row.  Though I’m proud to say I’ve been 90% faithful to the training plan, my eating has suffered.  “Suffering” is relative – in that my “bad” days aren’t anything compared with the “old” days – but I’m still learning how to navigate this new lifestyle.

I spent a retreat weekend with a bunch of girls at beautiful Wallowa Lake, Oregon.  The scenery was great, the company was even better, and it was so nice to just relax.  I got out for my daily walks (and discovered what “high-altitude training” means), and really enjoyed the peace and quiet away from the city noise I usually endure.  However, having “let” someone else make my food choices for me (well, cooking the meals – I CHOSE to eat them) was a challenge.  I discovered first-hand what gastric bypass patients refer to as “GI Distress.”  Let it suffice to say that I’ve learned that O.J. is NOT my friend.  J

Then, I spent 10 days in Texas for work & play.  Another 10 days of not cooking, not being 100% on track food-wise – but still MOSTLY on track in the workout department.  When the humidity hit at the end of my trip (oy vey!), I was kind of a wuss. 

One of the things I most looked forward to in Texas was going to Six Flags…and I was NOT disappointed!  Having been too big for roller coasters for many years, I appreciated having no doubts about my ability to ride ALL of the rides.  I had so much fun!

The encouraging part of the trip was that I knew I was still making great progress toward my half-marathon goal.  The struggle was when I stepped on the scale upon my return home!  The number was SHOCKING – but also a reality check.  I am very much back in the “real world” food/exercise/weight wise, and must be very mindful of the choices I’m making.  It’s OK to have fun – but to know there are consequences.  Fun needs to be short-lived, and “special.”  I’m back on track now!

While on my Texas trip, I worked on laying out my training from now until Birch Bay (Feb 2013).  I’ve read through this great book – The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer by David Whitsett, Forrest Dolgener & Tanjala Kole – and I’d highly recommend it.  I’m going to use it as my training guide to get me to & through my first marathon.  The premise is that ANYONE can complete a marathon – and that it’s just as much mind work as body.  I encourage others to check it out!