Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Where's the Dam Trail Half Marathon

     So, I ran 13.1 miles yesterday.  I think I said somewhere in a note on facebook that I wasn't going to run that distance this summer.  I did...but I feel I was smarter about training this time.  During this run I had a lot of time to think.  This is where I do some of my best thinking, while running long distances.  I have a chance to look deep inside of myself while the endorphins are rushing and when I feel the most alive-in the great outdoors.  What did I think about?  My training, running form, what I've read and studied and know about running form, and my NE Ohio runner friends from back home. 
     Why I couldn't pass up running this 13.1mi race?  It was only $7 so I started awhile ago slowly building up my longer runs to 10 miles and I didn't want to push it past that.  Starting in January up until now, I only run 3-4 times a week, with one long run, one speed workout (sometimes every other week) and 1-2 easy runs of an hour usually.  Why?  I kept getting hurt training for long distance, actually anything past 30mi a week running seems to hurt me right now.  So my decision was to train for triathlons this summer (besides, I think it may be more of my thing than just pure running).  Um...what I'm about to tell you may sound crazy and if I have time I'll post my training log later this year (I've kept each workout in a log since January, I got lazy with logging mileage in March though)  but I will do anything in order to keep running long distances.  Plus, I like swimming a lot, and cycling.  If I'm sore in one sport, I'll push hard in the other.  Sometimes I won't push hard.  Sometimes I'll take it easy.  I do something every single day.  I really listen to my body.  Sometimes I'll even workout on the AMT trainer for an hour (kind of like an elliptical, but you get the fuller range of motion).  I get in at least 2 strength workouts a week.  I am training for life now, not a certain event, really.  And I like endurance, so sometimes I'll get an hour to an hour and a half in the morning, and maybe an hour of something else in the evening.  Or more. (this will end once school starts lol-back to one hr/day).
     I have talked to my friend Rachel about natural running and barefoot running.  She lent me her book, “Natural Running,” by Danny Abshire.  It was interesting and made perfect sense-landing in the center of gravity, slowly transitioning yourself to land on the balls of the feet.  I’m not going to get into too much of what the book said (read it!), but after I ran this race, I was chatting with my friend Bryan (1:17 half marathon PR at Glass City!) and he is also a personal trainer at the Y like myself so we often chat about the field of exercise science.  Anyways he was telling me it’s going to be hard to change to landing on the balls of my feet if I’m a natural heel striker (he watched me, I am).  He said to just focus on landing under your center of gravity and to do this-drills before EACH run (high knees, skipping, butt kicks, leg swings, etc.)  I watched him run-he kinds of springs off his feet and lifts his knees up.  His stride was perfect.  (I overstride when I’m tired and try to book it.)  So I feel that along with the book I read and Bryan’s advice, I might be able to slowly transition into better running form, but it will take awhile.  I’m still going to run in my orthotics because I do have a forefoot imbalance which was causing knee, hip, and foot problems as well as shin splints from tight calf muscles which could have been due to the bad running form, who knows.  I have to stretch my soleus (muscle under gastrocnemius-your main calf muscle) every single morning for a full minute at least.  (Because I had heel pain, and heel pain can be either from plantar fasciitis or from tight calf muscles because if they are all tight, they will pull at their insertion on the heel bone.)  So I’ll run in the orthotics until I figure all this out-form, my imbalance, training smartly, balancing my body out, etc.
     Ok so now that I’ve blabbed about my training and running problems, I will finally post about this race.  I read online that there was going to be water stops every 2 miles, so I didn’t bring my hydration belt (mistake, now I know to always bring it no matter what!).  I get there, and ask again if there’s water every 2 miles and the guy I asked said “no, there are only 2.”  So I knew I was going to be in trouble.  My goal for this race was to not push it too hard because I have my first sprint tri this coming weekend.  I just wanted to use it as a training run, so I definitely held back starting out unlike my usual excited quick pace at the start lol.  I stayed around 9:30-9:45 the whole time (sometimes closer to 9).  I also knew that if I started out too fast in that heat (it got up to 95 Sunday) I would be in trouble.  Especially with only 2 water stops!  I stayed with this couple that I had met at the start-very nice people by the way, the woman said “nice job,” to each and every runner we passed that was coming back from the 6.55mi race or 13.1 (out and back course).  So, naturally, I started praising every single person as well, even on the way back.  This woman had to slow her pace down and walk at the halfway mark so I continued on running myself.  I am not quite sure how I was able to keep running when I probably needed water.  I actually didn’t feel too dehydrated.  Because of this, I believe, is why I ended up passing a ton of people on the way back.  Which surprised me, I got “looking good!” and “you’re still smiling and have a ton left in you, good job!”  (I tried encouraging them by saying, we’re almost there!) and chatting about the lack of water stops.  But the reason I think I may have been able to do so well is 1) I paced myself well on this run and 2) I kind of train myself normally not to drink much water during exercise.  I am going to explain this in the next paragraph because it may take awhile…….           
     Ever since I was born, actually, I remember LOVING to drink nothing but water.  Milk?  No.  Pop? Ew it always made me burp and it burns going down and coming up.  Not too much of a juice drinker either.  Anyways…I have to drink water with everything.  Even gum sometimes.  If I eat something, probably a whole glass goes down.  If it’s a full meal, (I’m not joking here…) at least 6 cups of water (I use a huge cup, so I’m guessing it is 3 cups worth, and I will re-fill it twice for meals, if not more.  Ok I just measured-yep, about 3 cups!  I don’t know why I drink so much, guess I’m always thirsty.  I will also drink coffee (at least 2 cups a day) and a glass of crystal light a day.  I have no idea, but I probably drink at least 20-24 cups of fluid daily.  When I’m NOT exercising.  So…I know I may be setting myself up for hyponatremia, but then…I don’t drink much during exercise.  My boyfriend is always telling me to drink while we ride on the bike, mainly because I haven’t figured out how to grab the water bottle from my friend’s tri-bike that I’m borrowing lol.  So I have to stop riding to drink!  (I don’t plan on stopping during the sprint tri-it’s only 13 mi so I’ll gulp water before and after at transitions)  Plus, I’ve been in dehydrated situations before-backpacking in the Smokies and not getting to rivers soon enough to purify our water, which leads to severe headaches (Please, no one try this, carry enough water, too) and during the adventure race that I did with Rachel-dropped my water bottle early in the bike portion and didn’t have much until the last few miles of the backpacking portion, an event that lasted 5 hours and 12 minutes.  Thankfully she let me have some of her Gatorade!  But this is not smart.  Not smart at all.  I do wonder if I’m able to make it during these events because of how well hydrated I am before, but I do know if you drink when you should, you will perform even better.  Guess I need to race more to figure it all out :)  I do feel that mentally, I am able to carry on when dehydrated, but again, not smart!  Oh and I read this book called Running Hot, by Lisa Tamati, where she had to ration out her water supply while she was running hundreds of miles across the Sahara, I believe.  So in my mind…I kinda do really want to partake in long, long endurance expeditions, but I must be smart about it!!  Water and Gatorade are very important…if I don’t want to die haha.
     And lastly, during my run…couldn’t stop thinking about all the people I’ve met along the way through running.  Runners are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met (we’ve all heard this before).  I should thank NE Ohio runners for especially being so friendly and welcoming when I first joined the Medina County Road Runners back at home.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into, joining it to train for my first marathon!  (There was no way I was doing 20 milers by myself!)  Anyways…I was introduced to the world of ultrarunning…and felt like I finally had found a home, somewhere I truly belonged.  I may not be an ultrarunner yet, but I sure put in enough time in all 3 sports, plus skating, snowboarding, or exercising in general for hours on end.  Through the MCRR I met more and more runners from NE Ohio.  They are ALL so friendly!  And the area to run is phenomenal!  I am ALWAYS missing home, missing the beauty that the scenery we run by brings, and the many friends I have met.  (I joined a triathlon club here in Sylvania, Team Toledo, and people are just as nice!  But the scenery is not as nice lol)  but, miss you all and will run with you whenever I’m home :)  Thanks for inspiring me. 
     Ok I am going to end this blog.  With a quote.  Thanks to anyone who reads this, I always have so much to say and don’t know how to shorten it. 
“I am my own enemy
The battle fought within my mind
If I can overcome step one
I can face the 99, go one more, don’t stop now, go one more.”  ~Superchick

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