Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Third time's a charm

Some days I don't feel like a runner - granted they are pretty few and far between, but there are those days. This weekend ended up being one of those 'days'. I had planned to get up on Saturday and get in an easy 12 miler. Easy because I was still recovering from Adventure Race, I gave blood, and rode for 1-1/2 hours the night before. I went to bed early on Friday - got up feeling good Saturday - got dressed and headed out. It was 9am and it was hot, not 90 degrees, but sticky, thick, dense air. I didn't make it two miles before I stopped and had to catch my breath. I kept telling myself to slow down that I wasn't in a hurry, but it didn't help. So, knowing it was a long weekend I decided 'why do today what I can put off till tomorrow??' Bad idea - but isn't it always?? The rest of Saturday was filled with a construction project that included help from my niece & nephews - we didn't eat dinner till 9pm and I went to bed shortly thereafter - exhausted! Sunday came and went without a run - I just didn't feel up to it from the time I got up. I did do core and arm workout before getting back into the construction, but legs were revolting.
Day three came - Monday morning - after a fun-filled Sunday of dinner and a movie with the kiddos. Japanese Steakhouse and 'Night at the Museum, Battle at the Smithsonian' to be exact. I got up before anyone else and headed out - got in 5 miles before meeting up with Brooke at 8am who ran the last 7 with me. I think that's what I was missing - a running partner! ;-)
It ended up being a pretty good run - got me back into anyway - I feel like a runner again!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Giving Blood and Running??

I haven't blogged in a month - now I feel I have so much to say.
This is really a question though. I've been giving blood for quite a few years now - I think yesterday was my 23rd donation or something like that. I try to give at all the blood drives we have at work and sometimes I'll give when I'm at the mall - I think it's a great cause and something easy to do.
Anyway, it does take some out of me each time I do it. I assume this is true with everyone?
I make sure I don't give right before races or even important long runs. This seemed to be the perfect time - I had just finished two major events and it was even a recovery week. I gave right before lunch, ate a decent lunch afterwards and made sure I drank lots of water all day.
I did my run at about 5:30pm and it was still pretty warm out. I felt pretty good on my out route of 3 miles - kept a good pace - just got thirsty so I stopped by the Y and grabbed a drink. Afterwards headed out to pick up another mile before taking the straight 2 miles back to my house. That's when it hit me that I wasn't feeling so good. Seriously it's recovery week so I just backed off my pace a bit thinking that would help and I made it through the rest of that mile fine - no problem - only had to run back to my house - an easy 2 miles.
It was terrible - I felt dizzy and faint - was seeing black splotches. I just don't know is it all from giving blood, is it b/c I am recovering, was it the heat??

What I want to know is - does my heart have to work harder with less blood in my system? Or, is my heart not working as hard, just faster to get it through? Or is it just that blood is what supplies the oxygen and I wasn't getting sufficient amounts for the activity I was performing??
Just curious - I'm sure I'll do more research into it - for now I'm just pondering it...

OGAR - year 3

Adventure racing - you have to love a team sport where you get to get down and dirty don't you??
May 16 was the 3rd year in a row I've done the Ozark Greenways Adventure Race with the Dirty Nelly's team - Don, John, & Jonas. This year it was held again at Gasconade Hills resort. Has anyone noticed how much rain we've gotten?? Yeah, so did race organizers - water levels were up, up, up. So much that they opted out of having us canoe so the race course literally changed the night before we started.
Luckily Brooke was on it this year and reserved our team a couple cabins so we weren't stuck in tents during the downpour that came on Friday night - complete with impressive lightning and wake you up out of a dead sleep thunder!!
So, team was up at 5am - Don (team leader) went and got our packet and we met at 5:30am to review the maps. We saw we started out biking on roads (combo of paved and dirt), followed that up with some running/trekking, then to single track biking, and finally back to roads to the finish. Sounds pretty easy! ;-)
Team meeting was a 6am where they reviewed rules and cut-offs and then they gave us some extra time to review the changes they had made before our official start at 7am.

7am came and we were off - it was pretty crowded at the beginning with everyone on bikes and heading in the same direction. Our team did pretty good (you're only as good as your weakest link) getting through the first bike segment - only a little waiting. We were about an hour in when we ditched our bikes to run the first run segment through about a 1-1/2 of single track. It went well until we hit the road again and accidentally went the wrong way - only about 1/2 mile before we realized we had done something wrong. So, we get back to where we started and head the other direction and it looks wrong too - we went a little further and got our footing again - I think with the rain they had rerouted the trail we were on so we didn't pop out where we thought we would. Oh well, all part of the adventure!!
Next was the real trekking segment - our first check point was terrible - no joking it took us 40 minutes to find it - talk about feeling like you are out in the woods and lost - we were!! Luckily the next 3 check points were much smoother - we found them without much issue. Had minor troubles (meaning we didn't go directly to them) on the next 3 then we headed back out to our last trekking checkpoint. Ran back to our bikes and hit the single track. I felt our team did really well here - we passed at least 3-4 teams. Talk about riding through mud - we sure did - those poor trails - I don't think they will ever be the same. Still surprised we were allowed do do it. I kept saying we don't have to canoe the river, but we are biking it. Water was literally running down most of the trails. We were filthy - it was hilarious. I fell at least 4 times and I know my teammates had their share of biting it as well. I wasn't too upset - it was my first year riding clipless in one of these races - so I was happy with no major falls and I didn't have to get off my bike for much.
Jonas broke a chain really close to finishing the single track, but he got it changed quickly and we headed out to our check point. All we had left was road biking back to the finish - a total of about 7 miles - I was so excited and ready to be done. Don't get my wrong - not an easy 7 - these were some seriously hilly roads - great on the downhill, but kick your butt on the uphill. We whipped through the first 5-1/2 then waited on our struggling teammate - 20 minutes - as we watched teams pass us - more teams than we passed in the technical. :( Once everyone got there we took off again - determined to make it the next 1-1/2 miles of mostly downhill to the finish. Not sure what happened, but we still lost one and had to wait at the entrance to the finish for another 5 minutes on our last teammate. But, like I said earlier - it's a team sport and you're only as good as your weakest member. That's why we do this - you can't do it alone. We ended up finishing in 10 hours and 30 minutes. Way ahead of the 14 hour cut-off. Overall it was a good day considering all the rain and the mud. The weather was great - stayed pretty cool all day.

We finished and then got to eat the customary burgers - they taste so good after that many hours living on gu's and blok's and peanut butter & honey sandwiches. And don't forget the Fat Tire beer - it wouldn't be OGAR without that. All we had to do then was relax and enjoy the rest of the day - knowing we had earned it.

OKC Marathon

Not sure if I've been procrastinating, or really just that busy, but I haven't blogged about anything in quite a while!
So, OKC Marathon - ah, not what I was hoping for at all. But, after almost 4 weeks (really??? - didn't know it had been that long - dang!!) I have come to terms with the fact that we all have bad days and sometimes Mother Nature is against us. :-)
The weekend started out great - Brady & I headed to OKC after work on Friday, met up with my pal from college Richelle & her husband Eric and one of Brady's good friends from college, Michael and had dinner. It was good times, but we said goodnight early to Richelle & Eric since they were heading on to Vegas early the next AM. Then it was just B, M & I and we went to look at a bike B had found on Craig's list then back to M's and watched Flash Gordon (yes, we seriously did this!).

Saturday we got up, had breakfast then went and looked at another bike that B was interested in - so interested in that he bought it - such a nice bike! Then, we got on the bikes and rode to the expo for packet pick-up. I had missed the deadline for online registration so I was doing it that day. We got there and saw the signs that said 1/2 marathon full & that you had to have vouchers to run the full??? I didn't know what this meant so we hurried back to where you registered and luckily I was able to get in, but this meant that Brooke & Debbie, who were on their way, would not be able to register for the 1/2! :-(
It worked out better for me in a way - since Brooke wasn't running she ended up deciding to ride my bike with me - more on this later.

So, it was going to be Don & I running the full and Scott & Robert running the 1/2. No worries. We all met up for dinner at Romano's Macaroni Grill at 6:30 - so we'd all have plenty of time to prepare and sleep before the big run. Service was terrible - not just a little either - really, really terrible. We sat for 15 minutes before we got water and only then b/c Scott went and asked, but I won't go into all that! I had my ususal - spaghetti & meatballs and a glass of wine. Thought everything was good and we headed back to M's house. B & M dropped me off to get ready and they went to the store. I went in to shower and all of a sudden felt funny - let's just say dinner did not stay down. :-( Luckily, it seemed to be short lived - I felt fine right afterwards so I continued to get ready. B & M got back and we all went to bed to prepare for the early morning.

I had plans to stay with Robert & Scott since they were planning to run a 2 hour 1/2 - this worked until about mile 5 and I looked back and they weren't there. Brooke was going to meet up with me around mile 4 or 5 but b/c of congestion (there were so many people there) she couldn't. Also b/c of congestion I went without stopping (b/c it would have literally been stopping and waiting) for water until mile 6 (not good on hot day I would find out). So, she ended up catching up with me around mile 7 maybe. I was feeling ok then so she went to check on Don.

Fast forward a bit - day gets hotter and we end up at the lake with the wind - I started to come apart. It was so sad because my 1/2 was 2:01 I think - not too far off where I wanted to be. Coming off the lake we had a 24 mph head wind and I was nauseous. It got so hot compared to normal training, I tried to catch up with fluids, but it just wasn't working. I tried to eat, but it made me feel sick. I slowed down - a LOT!! Brooke helped me, but once I knew I wasn't going to make my goal it was hard to push myself through the pain & fatigue I was having. I eeeked it in at 4:30. Such a hard day, but I was happy to have my friends there at the end.
I ended up hearing that lots of people had hard days, but it doesn't really make you feel better. You just can't always have a good day and that's that. Mental notes for Chicago - drink fluids at all stops even if it means sacraficing a little time in the beginning - it may pay off in the end - oh, and don't eat at Macaroni Grill ;-).

I just can't lose sight of the fact that I finished another one - number 6 - I didn't give up - didn't finish where I wanted, but sometimes that's OK. I have to feel good about making it through something that most people will never do.