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!)
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.
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!