Monday, April 16, 2007

Night and Day

It was the tale of two races Saturday, or a tale of two different runners. The first half (32.5 miles) was sub par, but I rebounded emotionally on the last half to have a great race, setting a 35 minute PR from my 2004 battle when I finished in 11:07. I was very happy with my time, but happier that I made the necessary adjustments mid race to finish strong.

Goals included having a good nutrition plan, sticking to it, and adjusting when necessary; no injuries; get in/out of aid stations under 3 minutes; and to run within myself.

Here are some highlights and notes:

- Easier said that done, but don't go out too fast. It's so easy to get caught up running with others instead of going at your own pace. For me, the race didn't really 'start' until we reached Hemlock again at mile 16.6, so everything else before that point is just a warm up.

- When you have to go to the bathroom... GO! I spent too much time being ANALytical (ya puns!) and scientific while playing the mental guessing game of "Gas or Solid??". Finally, four hours into the race, I hit a porta john near the soccer fields on the way to Bull Run Marina (mile 21.1). Well worth the break.

- Address any issues early and often. I was experiencing chaffing under my bra strap and up front from the collar of my shirt. I kept telling myself to get the Aquaphor from sherpa at the aid stations, but forgot more than I remembered. I did remember enough that the chaffing wasn't too bad.. nor was the post race shower when I REALLY found out where I chaffed.

- Start drinking pop when you're feeling down. I skipped it at mile 28.1 when it was first suggested to me and the following 4.4 miles to the next aid station were miserable. I felt so down and a few 'why am I doing this' questions popped into my mind. It was SUCH a boost and I continued with 2 cups at the remaining four aid stations.

- Carry a small pack of tissues, Pepto tabs, and gas relief tabs. At some point in the day, all 3 will come in handy. I think the Ensure was bothering my stomach and the Pepto helped calm it down. The tissues were handy for when I didn't want to play the mental game of "Did I just shart?" anymore and I knew there was no way I was going to make it to a bathroom other than a 2 sided stall of downed trees. And praise be to the makers of Mylanta tabs. A few minutes after sucking on a mint flavored one, it was like my Grandfather was with me for the last 12 miles. I had to look behind me to make sure.. and to make sure there were no other runners immediately behind me.

- And I think it's common courtesy to look before farting. Running through someones fart cloud is disgusting. Curses to all of you in front of me!!

- I have to thank my employer for the Pepto tabs, too. The well stocked first aid kit really does come through in a pinch!

- Common sense. Sometimes an upset stomach isn't a nutritional thing. Loosening my waist pack made a world of difference. I keep it tight to keep it from moving around and chaffing my lower back, but it was doing more bad than good.

- Familiarity is nice. I knew a handful of people working aid stations and running, so the short conversations to check up on how the day was going was nice. The playful "I know you, you kicked my butt at MMT last week!" brought a smile to my face even though she was heading back as I was still on my way out. Even the casual 'good job' from the lead runners is welcomed even if it's passed on half heartedly. And knowing I had someone waiting for me at each aid station put a little more kick to my run. I didn't want to be out there any longer than she did, so the sooner I finish up, the better.

- I'm still undecided about wearing an ipod while running. I heard a guy behind me trip and I heard his comments as he tried to regain his footing. I made a comment and it took a few seconds before he replied, "I'm sorry.. what did you say?" I noticed the buds when he passed me prematurely on a flat. I have a hard enough time running and not tripping with my own thoughts in my head, I just don't know if I could do it with other peoples thoughts and beats and lyrics in there, too.

After fifty miles and a few rounds of icing the knees, I'm still here to talk about my fourth battle of Bull Run Run. I'm sure the additional soreness will creep in today, but I will do my best to keep it at bay. Again, I'm very happy with my performance physically and mentally. Yes, there are some kinks to still work out, and I'm trying to do so in the next month. But this close to MMT, I'm not sure how much more I can do.

MMT isn't Bull Run Run 50 X 2. It's a whole different beast. Night and day.


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