Monday, January 14, 2013

Random thoughts from race day...

Well, I survived the Aramco Houston 1/2 Marathon! 

It was rainy.
It was windy.
It was cold
It pretty much sucked.

Despite all that, I somehow managed a 2-minute PR!  I will post a full race report in a day or two, but for now here is a collection of random thoughts from the day. WARNING...all distances listed are approximate and there is some R-rated language.

Walking to the start line - Shit, I think I have to pee again.  Sigh. (left my peeps to get in line at the porta cans)
Start line - Holy crap it's cold...I'd hate to see what it would be like without this poncho!  So glad to have found my peeps again!
Gun has sounded, walking toward start -  oh shit, the poncho just ripped down the front more! (asked volunteer for a trash bag) Holy cow this trash bag goes all the way to my shins!
Mile 1 - OMG, it's cold and windy on this bridge!  Damn, the rain is really coming down now!
Mile 1.3 - Why am I still running with one only eye open?  I think it's safe to open it again...the rain is calming a little. 
Mile 2 - Should I ditch the trash bag?  Nah, wear it a little longer...
Mile 2.5 - Ditch the damn trash bag! (pulled it over my head and tossed it)
Mile 2.7 - 10:47 pace??? Damn crowded streets!  (grumble, grumble)
Between mile 3 & 4 - Wow, check out the skyline...dang it's windy on this overpass!
Right before mile 4 - Oh, don't look to your left (trying not to look at the bunch of dudes peeing)  Really, don't look!
Mile 4.5 - Lemme high-five that cute kid...wait, my hands aren't working!  Should I be concerned?  Hey look - 10:40 pace...that's a little better.
Mile 5 - Shit, raining again!  Shit, shit, shit!  Just when I felt like I was drying off!
Between Mile 5 & Mile 6 - 10:35 pace, better.
Mile 6 - Hmmmm, I'm glad I lost that weight, because I think I have 10 pounds of water in my socks and shoes!
Mile 6.2 - Another f-ing hill?  I forgot that there are actually some hills...
Mile 7 - Buwahahahaha, great sign - "Run faster, I just farted"...really, it's not that funny.  I think I am dilerious from the cold.  Oh hey, there's BJ coming the other way...damn she's fast!  Must be nice to almost be done!
Mile 7.5 - 10:30 pace...not bad, that's right between my 2010 and 2011 pace...
Mile 8 - Hmmm, the Hubs should be around here somewhere....there he is!!!!  Oops, wrong side of the road.  Oh well, I'll see him on the way back...
Mile 8.5 - (crickets)
Mile 9 - Hallelujah, at the turnaround!  Dammit lady, walkers on the right!!!  (feeling bad for getting annoyed)
Mile 9.5 - 10:25 pace...hmmm....And look, I'm actually passing people.
Mile 10 - Whoot, there's the Hubs!!!  (kiss, kiss)  Ahhhh, he brought me dry gloves!!! Awesome!  (ditched the sleeves)  10:24 pace...I wonder if...maybe..
Mile 10.3 - Hey, there's my nephews!!! That's impressive - 1) they woke up early and 2) they are out in the cold those guys!
Mile 10.5 - Another funny sign, "You're winning the Wet T-Shirt Contest"...again, not that funny, must be dilerious from the cold.
Mile 10.8-ish - Whoot, last big turn!!!  In the home stretch now!!!
Mile 11 - 10:19 pace...holy shit, I am going to PR....unless I fall and break something. Or stop. Or something dumb like that.  Oh look, it's Houston Fit!!!  Oh look, ORANGES!  Wow, great crowds.  (feeling giddy with this, love this!!!)
Mile 11.3 - Here come the marathon exciting!!!!   Hey, I can feel my hands again! (moving hands)  Wooohoooo!!!
Mile 11.5 - (crickets)
Mile 11.6 - There's that stupid "1.5 miles to go" sign...don't remind me.  Focus Christy, Focus. Let's kick some ass this last 1.5. You're going to PR!!!
Mile 12 - (looks down at watch) 10:17 pace...I'm gonna PR, I'm gonna PR!  I didn't train to PR...shut up, you're going to fricking PR.
Mile 12.1 - One more mile.  Push it.  Don't back down.
Mile 12.6 - Whoot, there's the 1/2 mile marker...don't be a pansy now!!
Mile 12.8-ish - Keep going! Okay, gotta get around these people...let's go, keep going, don't slow down.  Hey, why is my eye twitching?
Mile 13 - Hehehe, I just chicked those dudes...that was fun!  Uh oh, I think I am going to throw up.. Nah, I'm okay.
Mile 13.1 - Holy cow, I am done!!!  That was awesome!!!  Thank you baby Jesus!!!  Let's see...yep, it's a PR!  A two minute PR!  How'd that freaking happen?  Who cares?  Whoot! When's the next race????
Inside the GRB - Where's the food???  Ohhhh, that kid is handing out Oreos!!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Long time no see!

With all the holiday craziness, I decided to take a little vacation from the blog.  The Kiddo returned to school on Tuesday, so it finally seems like we have managed to get back to our regular schedule.  With the Kiddo out of school and the Hubs and I taking a little vacation time, we've tried to have more family time - family game nights (with board games and the Wii), family movie nights, more playing outside (weather permitting), etc.  They've stayed up a little later than normal and had "sleepovers".  In general, we've all had a lot of fun!

And now, here it is - January 11...only two days until the Aramco Houston 1/2 Marathon!  Holy cow, where did the time go?  My running group had their final "long" run last Saturday and Mother Nature gave us one heck of a send off to end our training season - 43 degrees and rain!  Luckily, before the run we had the warm shelter of Luke's Locker.  We had a smaller than usual group, but still a pretty good number of runners considering the conditions.  We debated about skipping our run and just going to Starbucks.  We checked out the weather radar on our high-tech phones...the rain was supposed to continue for most of the day.  Finally, we just said to heck with it!  We were going to do this six miles, so we headed out.  There were shrieks the first time one of us stepped into a cold puddle, but we eventually embraced the suck and just ran.  And we had a great time!

Fast forward to today.  Looks like we might have the same conditions for the marathon and half marathon on Sunday, sigh.  Now, don't get me wrong...I don't mind running in rain.  Sometimes I actually look forward to it.  But rain and cold? 

Not so much. 

For 6 miles, it wasn't a huge deal.  For an actual race...13.1 miles...2+ hours (for me)...NO!!!!!

But, it is what it is.  We can't control the weather, but we can control our attitude about it and how we prepare for it.  I sent the tips below to my running group, let me know if you can think of any that I missed!

First, let's talk about your upper body. You can find a variety of lightweight, weather proof jackets at Luke's or at the Expo, but keep in mind that "waterproof" also typically means "unbreathable"…this means that you can get too warm very quickly. Of course if that happens, you can always tie the jacket around your waist. Another option is to buy a cheap rain poncho at Academy or the dollar store. You can wear it before the race and discard it anytime you feel you no longer need it. And finally, the cheapest option – the trash bag. You will see a lot of runners wearing trash bags on a cold or rainy race morning. Again, you can toss it anytime you want!

If you really want to purchase a waterproof jacket, Runners World has a pretty good article with some recommendations.  Also, look the white disposable jackets at the Expo...they are $10 and a good alternative to a pricier jacket.

Next, let's talk about your head. In the event of rain, you may want to consider wearing a baseball-type cap or a visor. While it won't keep your head dry, it will at least keep the rain out of your face. It's no fun to worry about losing a contact or to not be able to see during a torrential downpour.

Now, let's talk about your feet. I've heard of people putting Ziploc baggies over their socks before slipping their feet into their shoes. I've never tried this, so attempt at your own risk. I will say that you may be more prone to blisters with wet socks and shoes, so it wouldn’t hurt to use Body Glide on your heels, arches, etc.

Finally, let's talk about post-race comfort. If the forecast is still predicting rain, take advantage of the bag check-in service at the race. Pack yourself a change of clothes – especially shoes and socks – so that you can be comfy while enjoying your post-race breakfast!

Have you run a long distance race in the cold rain?  Any tips for surviving the elements?