25k race=15.5 miles of tough running

The 5/3 Riverbank 25k is the largest road race of its distance in the country.  As I mentioned yesterday, 7,000 people take to the streets of Grand Rapids, MI and there are runners from all over.

25k start line

I spent the night with friends who live about 25 minutes away from downtown GR.  Hanging out with friends the night before a race is a great way to ease any anxieties.  Pre-race fueling of pizza and a beer, playing with an adorable munchkin (who loved saying my name – it was adorable) and hitting the sack around 11:30 pm was the order of the night.  I woke up on time (and multiple times during the night) and despite my game plan to leave at 6:45 am I made it out the door at 7 am.

I ate a bit too much pizza the night before as I was too hungry by the time it arrived.  I mention this because on the drive to the start, I almost had to pull over and throw up.  Jostling around for the next few hours was not appetizing and I didn’t eat my peanut butter sandwich until I arrived.  I did manage to drink some coffee though – priorities.

deep cleansing breaths kept the vomit at bay…

I drank some Vega Sport Pre-Workout Enegizer 20 minutes before the start.  I will post a review of this product in the next few days and it’s quality.  I’ve now tried it with training along with a race and I’m impressed.  The race started right on time, 8:20 am and I made it over the start line at 8:29 and this was the 11 min pace group.  The race is efficient.

I felt good for the first 5 miles.  I was using my quads and kept my ipod in my pocket so I could be in the moment.  I got stuck behind one guy who was complaining up a storm because the shirts didn’t say 25k on them.  It was a universal shirt for the 5k, 10k and 25k.  You could pay extra for a tech shirt with 25k on it ($15) but he “certainly” wasn’t going to do that.  He also said how he was going to send a nasty email to the director later this week.  Now mind you, I paid $35 for this race.  CHEAP!  Suck it up dude…

the shirt mr. grumpy pants was complaining about
the shirt mr. grumpy pants was complaining about

At mile 5 I took a powergel – provided, and turned on my tunes.  The water stops started at about 1.5 miles and they were approximately every mile and half after this, sometimes two miles.  The volunteers were incredible.  There was water, Gatorade followed by oranges and more water and then ICE!  Oh my goodness, I have never been offered cups of ice in a race but it was magical.  It was probably around mile 7 when it started and I would take a cup at each one hereafter.  It was heavenly.

After mile 6 miles my quads started cramping a bit.  Mile 8 was my magic mile as I knew at this point there would be no question to me finishing.  This was also my first lovely embrace with some biofreeze.  I think mile 7 was the start of the hills.  Man oh man, the hills kept coming!  I had forgotten about them, conveniently I might add, but I took them in stride = I walked many of them.

While I was keeping 11 min miles in the beginning, this crept to 12 by the halfway point.  Mile 1o I took another gel.  I also kept focusing on what a cool experience this was and how lucky I was.  The last time I did this race, my mental attitude was already in the toilet at this point.

this is a great depiction of my previous meltdown

The last five and half miles were tough.  More hills, more quad cramping, one more biofreeze stop and lots of water.  It was a beautiful day with a breeze, which was lovely but I was seriously reaching my “I’m done” point.  The last mile and half took forever and horror of horrors you have to run UP a hill to the finish line.

25k finish line
this was at the top of a long hill

My leg muscles were melting at this point.  I kept saying, “c’mon legs” almost yelling at them as I wasn’t sure if I could stay standing.  It was so, so tough!  I had nothing left – heck, even the girl who was puking her guts out that I passed a few feet behind me managed to beat me.  I made it though.

at this point, I could barely stand up straight - I kept almost falling backwards
at this point, I could barely stand up straight – I kept almost falling backwards

Hard/enjoyable race and I ran my buns off.  I have some work to do before my next half (it’s in 3 weeks) and I’m keeping some of my newly employed racing strategies.  Good gel timing, starting my music later and a positive mental attitude – putting these into practice again!

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25k… the aftermath

My race recap will be up in tomorrow but the following has been swirling around my brain:

1.  More/real training would have made those 15.5 miles much easier!

2.  I think my rebellious streak comes into play with regards to running.  Maybe a “let’s see what I can do without training!” attitude.  Is this rebellion?  I don’t know but it’s how I used to shoot myself in the foot with regards to my academics as well.  I will also say it’s part of the procrastinator’s creed – if you don’t give your all to the preparation then you don’t have to risk your best being a “failure”.

deep thoughts on the hour drive up to the race and then back

3.  My legs were absolute gelatin as I crossed the finish line.  I completely left it all out on the course!  I was proud of myself.

4.  I stretched after the race, which I rarely do.  Solid plan Amy.

5.  Today my legs are fairly fatigued and sore.  My quads are especially tender.  I see some serious squats in my immediate future.

6.  I have a lot more determination and heart than I give myself credit for.

but I didn’t quit!

7.   I ran with 7,000 other runners!  This is the largest 25k in the country.  We all love running!

8.  Biofreeze is my bestie.

I’m talking to you biofreeze

9.  I didn’t run with my thumb brace because I knew it would be difficult to grab water and other fuel.  Adrenaline got me through the race buuut it wasn’t a great idea later.

10.  I parked about 8 blocks away.  Wow – it was a long way back!  A woman with her two kids offered me a ride to my car and while I was tempted I’ve watched way to much Investigative Discovery to take her up on it.

More tomorrow… all smiles though.  I seriously thought about not running – I had a prime excuse!  A dislocated thumb?  Prime!  However, I needed to prove something to myself.  I’m a proud runner!

 

there’s a marathon afoot

There is a marathon happening outside my front door this morning.

I am wildly jealous of the runners!

Meanwhile, I am working.  Not my first choice.  Today is the Kalamazoo full, Borgess 1/2 and this year there are both  10k and 5k options as well.  It’s fantastic!  I really wanted to at least do the 10k or 1/2 but work commitments trumped.

Did I mention I was at work?

Alright, I need to breathe out the bitterness… Also happening this weekend is the Flying Pig Marathon.  I can’t even tell you how desperate I am to run this.  I collected pigs as a kid and these medals have flying pigs right on them!  I love the fun atmosphere and following them on facebook makes me want to run it even more (seriously, check out their website).  There is also a new run they created, the Queen Bee 1/2, which is in the fall.  Again, adorable and fun.

Now that I’ve lamented about the races I’m not running, I should probably make sure I’m ready for the ones I AM running.  Yesterday I set out for some miles and accomplished 5.  It’s funny because I kept wanting to stop.  “I’m tired.”  “My legs can’t go any further.”  “Why did I sign up for this again?!”

During this detrimental inner monologue I told myself that my brain was tired, not my legs.  Guess what?  This was true.  I could and did keep running.  I also asked myself, “do you want this race?”  I decided I did indeed want to run and finish my upcoming 25k; that I did indeed, want to keep running.  While I didn’t suddenly get a surge of power, I pep talked my brain and legs into running further.  Also, I came up with my mantra for the race:  “I’ll cross this *%$#$ finish line”.  Sorry for the profanity but I am going to need the aggression to boot scoot my booty along next weekend.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my mental game sucks.  So, I reinstated my visualizing yesterday.  I can’t begin to express how helpful this technique is and sometimes I completely forget about it.  I imagine what it’s like to cross the finish line and the euphoria that always follows.  I also picture what the middle of the race will be like – when I want to curl up on the roadside and rock in the fetal position until someone takes pity on me quit.  While prepping myself to feel awful may not be a typical motivational practice, I need to arm myself with the weapons to defeat the negativity.  The only way I know how to do this presently is to figure out ways to encourage my feets to keep doing their thing, no matter what the rest of me is screaming.

I kind of want to make this a shirt…

I’ve got 10 miles on the docket today.  I bandaged up my feet yesterday in hopes that it would stop my Hokas from blistering my feet.  No such luck.  I was kind of surprised actually – I done bandaged them good.  What this does mean though is that I am going to need to wear my NEW shoes for the 25k.  Yet another reason my blog is called “Recipe for Disaster”… I’m going to take the newbies out tonight and the rest of the week to make sure my feet don’t catch on fire but I certainly have my concerns.  I was going to type, “it is what it is” but this doesn’t sufficiently convey my apprehension!

this does a better job…

It’s a BEAUTIFUL Sunday here.  I hope you all are having a wonderful day.  Good luck to everyone running and racing today!