Post-Bataan Hodgepodge

The thing about a big event like Bataan is that even after it’s over and I’ve talked about it non-stop, I still want to talk about it! Today I’m offering you a salmagundi of all the Bataan related topics that I didn’t get to yesterday. Feast and be merry!

Race Prep & Ensemble

  • I wore exactly what I planned to wear, and I’d say it was 85% successful. Biggest win was the hat. I thought it might bother me or fly off, but it stayed on, and I loved it. Wearing two SPIbelts was clutch. Why have I never done that before? Double the storage and it didn’t weigh me down or bounce obnoxiously.

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  • I should have gotten gaiters! Everyone told me I should, I agreed that I should, and then I just didn’t. All me to smh at myself. Not much sand got in my shoes, but the sand that did was destructive. Even with stops to shake out my shoes and eventually change my socks, the sand still managed to blisterfy me pretty badly.
  • Another failure y’all warned me about: sunscreen. I took a big bottle of the good stuff and went to town before the race. I was so thorough. I’m talking the eyelids, backs of ears, I was the sunscreen queen. Except for the part where I didn’t put any on my arms because I was wearing long sleeves before the race! D’oh! I didn’t realize how burned I was until I got home. I think the cool breeze during most of the race distracted me from the sizzling of my flesh.
Can you tell where I was wearing my spare hair ties?

Can you tell where I was wearing my spare hair ties? The redness goes all the way up to the middle of my upper arm. A nice farmer’s burn, if you will.

Fueling

  • Before the race, I ate a bagel. Normally I go for toast, but sadly, toast is not portable. I ate my cinnamon raisin circle of deliciousness in my car while killing time.
  • During the race, I carried 1 bottle of Nuun, a baggie of Swedish fish, and a baggie of goldfish. I had no clue how that would work out. The verdict: excellent! Hat tip to everyone who suggested taking something salty. The goldfish were the best thing I ate! Well, besides a cookie at mile 24. Excellent choice by that aid station.
  • Aid stations were almost exactly every two miles and all of them (that I recall) offered bananas, orange slices, mystery sports drink, and water. I took water and oranges at quite a few. My tummy never complained.
  • This misting station at mile 10/18 made me very happy:

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Fellow Marchers

  •  It was really inspiring to see many people wearing signs or shirts for someone. We are removed enough from World War II to put out of our minds what that generation experienced, which we shouldn’t do. I read a book by a survivor earlier in the month. The book was just okay (and I wouldn’t recommend it), but even so, I was blown away reading the first-hand account of Bataan and the POW camps. I also listened to multiple podcasts on the subject. I almost feel like I can’t learn enough about it – I had never even heard of Bataan before this. If you aren’t familiar with the events, I urge you to read about them or listen to a podcast. I’d be happy to make suggestions!
  • Although it’s a silly sign, this one may have been my favorite:
I can relate.

I can relate.

  • Remember the people I met before the race Paul and Buck? (They were the ones who protected me from the wind.) I didn’t see them after the race started, but I checked out their results. They finished in 7:10. Pretty good if you ask me, and if I recall correctly, faster than they did it 3 years ago.

Post-race & Recovery

  • After crossing the finish line and drinking in my runners high, I started heading for my car. Except, my car was nowhere to be found. I remembered very clearly where I was parked in relation to the start. Too bad the finish was in a different spot. Every building on an Army post looks like every other building, cars were everywhere, I was turned around, and I was probably also disoriented from fatigue. It took me a good 30 minutes, maybe more, of wandering around aimlessly.
  • Once finally reunited with the Gold Nugget, I completely changed my clothes. I packed a bag of fresh stuff and my race shirt for this very purpose. The best part was the extra water bottle that I had. I was able to rinse of my nasty feetsies.
  • 1 point for my mother-in-law: she suggest that I buy a bag of ice (for the inevitable ice bath) from Sonic. For $2.50, I got me 10 pounds of the stuff and I didn’t even have to get out of my car. Oh-la-la!
This last about 5 minutes.

This last about 5 minutes.

  • I’m sore, but it’s not terrible. I don’t feel like I’m substantially worse off than I was after any of my other full marathons, other than my feet. My feet are so jacked. Damn you, blisters! I’d go for a short run just to see how everything feels if the thought of stuffing my toes into running shoes wasn’t so repulsive.

If you have any questions about the race, the prep, the post, throw it at me in the comments. I’m not kidding when I say that I could talk about this all day long.

Sprint to Bataan: Oh Crap!

In two days I will be running/marching/walking/limping/crawling my way through 26.2 miles of sand/wind/hills. I can sum up how I feel about it pretty simply: I am not prepared.

Remember when I said I was loosely going to follow Hal Higdon’s 4 weeks to Marathon plan? Well, I kept it reallllly loose. I wasn’t doing the best job staying on top of my running, and then I took a week’s vacation. My running nose-dived to a total of 4.5 miles last week. You’d thinking running a marathon a month ago would have me raring to go and totally ready, but a person can lose a lot of endurance in a month’s time. Gulp. The good news is that, yes, I did run a marathon a mere month ago. I know that I am capable. My body, however, is no longer in endurance mode. I’m going to have to really dig deep on Sunday.

I’ve tried to figure out what I’d advise me to do if I wasn’t me. Would I encourage me to drop to the half? Perhaps.

The course

The course. The half totals 14.2 miles and is just the lower loop.

That’s still an option. The split between the full and the half is at mile 8. It can be hard for me to be completely honest with myself mid-race, but if I’m sucking or hurting by mile 8, I won’t attempt to continue for the full. Knowing me, though, if there’s no injury, I’ll keep going, however slow that may be.

Y’all offered such awesome advice last week, that I’m feeling strangely (inappropriately?) more confident this week. Since there’s a not much more I can do physically (other than hydrate and carb load), my best hope is to get my mind right. That’s the biggest challenge with races like this, right? Mind over matter.

My goals:

  • Time: There is no time goal for this race, other than to finish before 8 pm when the course closes. I might even strap my Garmin to my SPIbelt, so I can’t see it. I’ll be going the distance, however long it takes.
  • Strategy: I want to listen to my body and respond accordingly. It won’t be any fun if I get injured. I’m still planning to run the first 7 miles and play the rest by ear. The challenge will be to make good decisions in the heat of the moment (not my forte!).
  • Attitude: Thinking about the meaning of the race- honoring those who marched at Bataan, those who were POWs, those who perished. This is a race about others, so I want to encourage my fellow marchers, display gratitude toward the volunteers, and thank the survivors.

Every time I check the race website my stomach starts to hurt, a sure sign that I am nervous! This one is going to be a doozy, y’all. Wish me luck!

Run Less, Run…Slower?

My review of the Run Less, Run Faster program!

If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve heard me go on and on about RLRF. I trained 2/3rds of the way through the program last year for a race I didn’t end up running. (I abandoned ship when I realized that running a marathon the week before moving internationally wasn’t a great idea.) I made it all the way through the plan in the train up to the EP Marathon.

A quick refresher (or intro for those not in the know). RLRF has you completing 3 runs a week:

  1. An interval run (repeating sprints of distances between .25 mile and 1.25 miles)
  2. A tempo run (4-8 mile runs with fast middle miles sandwhiched between an easy warm-up and cool-down)
  3. A long run (between 7-20 miles at marathon pace + so many seconds)
A portion of the RLRF training plan.

A portion of the RLRF training plan.

All the runs are pace specific, and the program instructs you to aim to run them as closely to those times as possible. It should be comfortably difficult, which I found to be true of almost every single workout. They were a challenge but not impossible. You are also supposed to complete cardio cross-training (swimming, cycling, ellipticalling, rowing, whatever) twice a week. I don’t much like other forms of cardio, so I would do yoga and walk my dog instead. Not exactly what the plan suggests, but it’s what I wanted to do. This was my only real deviation. I followed the running workouts to about 95% accuracy. There were a few missed or shortened runs, a few times that I threw my pace out the window, but mostly, I did as I was told.

With all that you, you’d think that I would run faster. Did I? No. Sunday’s marathon was 5 minutes slower than my PR, and 8 minutes slower than what I was training for. But but but but but this in no way reflects on the plan. I felt totally prepared in terms of my training. My 18 mile and 20 mile runs were both cake, and I know I have a faster marathon in me. <–That right there is the problem.

Interval run, run less run faster

Notes for a particularly tricky interval run.

The book specifically warns against aiming for a finish time that is faster than what you are capable of at the time (they have a pages and page of charts to help you figure out what time goal is appropriate). The authors point out that runners have a tendency to get hung up on arbitrary goals. Damn you, tantalizing round numbers! (I was training for 4:22, but tried to reach for 4:15 on race day.) I read that part of the book thinking, “Yes, this is logical. I should set a realistic goal based on my current abilities and run an evenly split race. I should ignore the round numbers.” But then I didn’t.

I think my downfall, if you will, was three-fold:

  1. The 5 miles of downhill at the start of the race gave me a false sense of myself. I felt so good that I kept pushing the pace until I gased out. Even if I hadn’t pushed it, a 1,500 foot elevation drop at the start of a distance race makes even splits tricky.
  2. I didn’t show up to the starting line with the intention of running the paces I’d trained for. I didn’t just want to finish, I wanted to smash my PR! Instead, I got smashed.
  3. My plan (fueling, hydration, walk breaks) was abandoned from the get go. I don’t even have a reason why. Endorphins? Foolishness?

When pepping me up prior to the race, a few friends told me, “run your race!” I thought, “yes, yes I will!” In my brain, though, that meant, “I’m going to go for it! I’m going to run the hell out of it!” instead of probably what they meant “run the way you trained. Run your pace. Don’t be stupid!” Whoops.

Would I recommend RLRF? Yes! Absolutely! The book is loaded with more information than you’ll probably ever need (how to train for an Ironman, how to BQ, how to stretch, how to cross-train, and on and on and on), and the plan is sound. It is scientific, it is specific, and it is effective. You know, as long as you don’t blow it on race day.

Where my other RLRF peeps at? What other training plans do y’all love? After only running 3 days a week, I’m not sure I could go back to 4 or 5.