Saturday, February 19, 2011

Training Update : Half Marathon

It's Cinco de Mayo and we have a BBQ at work. The food is delicious and the margaritas pack a punch! My co-worker, Margaret, is a big supporter of my running.

Over lunch Margaret asks if anyone would like to join her this fall for the San Jose Rock 'n Role Half Marathon. I respond yes! At this time, I was running about 2.5 - 3 miles about 3 times a week. I also didn't believe her when she said, "If you can run 1 mile, you can run 2. If you can run 3 miles, you can run 6." But my runs were getting stale and I wanted to push my mileage and try and be a real runner! So I convinced hubby to sign up with me. This gives us a good challenge and we have plenty of time to get up our mileage.

I had a great routes planned that were 6.67 miles, 8 miles, 10 miles and 12 miles. I thought this was nuts! I was amazed at how well my body and my mind responded to adding mileage. It took time, but I made a running calendar and I carried it around with me everywhere I went. Nutrition was also big on my mind. What will maximize my fuel for tomorrow and then help me recover after the run.

We did our long runs on Saturday mornings. Most of the time we ran in the evenings after work, but the race starts at 8am and we need to be mentally, physically and nutritionally prepared for that. I could wake up and run 6.67 miles on an empty stomach no problem. However, things changed for me at 8 miles. I now had to set my alarm clock for 6am on a Saturday just to wake up early enough to eat something to then let it settle for 2 hours and THEN run! That was just the strangest thing for me.

My mom came in town the weekend of the race to be our cheerleader! It was really super to have her around. Hubby and I set two very simple goals for this race: finish & have fun!

Let me tell you, the finishing part was simpler than the fun part. We decided to run 12 miles together and then duke it out in the last mile. All of the practice runs went very well for me. I had descent times and felt great. Race day was different. Call it nerves or excitement, but I lost track of my breathing. I had side stitches by the 2nd mile and around mile 5 my shoulders started to hurt. It took all my focus in the world to breath out the side stitches and lower my shoulders. I did not stop!

By mile 9, the bottom of my feet started to hurt. Never change your shoes 3 weeks before the race - no matter how many miles you put on them before hand. Hubby kissed me goodbye at mile marker 12 and said, I'll see you at the finish and took off! I was doing my best just to keep pace. Well, splitting up only lasted 30 seconds before we joined up again. Hubby said, "We did all of this training together, how could we not finish together?" And we did. My secret goal for time was 2 hours and 30 minutes...

We crossed the finish line together at 2:30:18.

Margaret was unable to do this half marathon with us, however she did the Silicon Valley half marathon two weeks later and she had a finish time of 2:30!

Training Update : Skyline to Sea hike

Yes, it's been a while since I wrote anything. 2010 had some overwhelming moments and when life goes into super drive, I sometimes just need to take it easy on what I can. However, I committed to training for the Skyline to Sea backpack trip and to run the San Jose half marathon. I completed both and surprised myself with the results.

Turns out, I love backpacking! I was totally afraid at first of carrying 25lbs on my back for 3 days, hiking 30 miles in total, but I was not going to back down! Hubby and I prepared the food for the team.

The car shuffle took a while longer than expected, so we got a late start and were only allowed to go 2.5 miles in at Castle Rock State Park to the first camp site. This now changes everything we planned. Instead of breaking up the mileage in descent sized chunks, we now needed to this:

Day 1: 2 miles
Day 2: 17 miles
Day 3: 10 miles

I thought it was going to be horrible. Especially doing 17 miles the 2nd day! That's about the same distance as Half Dome we did last year and I couldn't hardly walk the next day, let alone put a backpack on! I'm worried. Turns out I'm in much better shape than I was when we did Half Dome. Plus, this was a totally different hike. Don't be fooled: this hike is NOT all downhill.

The best part about the 17 miles is when you arrive at Big Basin. We are sweaty and disgusting and dirty. Everyone else just drove there and did a tiny day hike around. We did evil laughs and went into their amazing convenient store and got ice cream & beer!!!! I remember being so giddy after 1 beer. Hubby looked at me and said, "Oh hell no! You need to drink more water!"

Day 3 was easy! I was in "Mission Mode". I wanted to get my feet in that Pacific Ocean so fast our team mates actually called me a "Machine"! ME? I couldn't believe it. What was I so afraid of in the beginning? Whatever it was, those fears I no longer carry with me.