Friday, September 24, 2010

The Night Before the Night Before

Back when I started running cross country in high school - 10 years ago (makes me feel ancient!) - my friend's dad, who ran a lot, told me that it was important to get a good night sleep the night before the race; however, getting even better sleep the night before the night before the race was even more important. At that time, I believed "Mr. C." and didn't question it. I tried to get a lot of sleep the 2 nights prior to racing. I don't really know if it is true or not, nor do I care a whole lot because I know sleep every night is critical to how well I run. Maybe you don't need much sleep, but I do.

Tonight is my "night before the night before" night. I am running the Quad Cities half marathon on Sunday. As I sit here and type, I am getting more and more excited. Tomorrow morning I'll get my things packed up, leave the Chicago suburbs, and drive two hours west to the Quad Cities. I am staying with my aunt and uncle, who is also running the half.

Everything for this half is so different than what I am accustomed to. Normally, I taper totally different than I did for this race. Last weekend, I did 7.5 miles on Saturday and then 11 on Sunday. However, when I hit mile 10 on Sunday my knee started to hurt. It was a weird feeling, and I couldn't stride right. Monday was okay and so was Tuesday, but Wednesday I only ran 3.6 miles before stopping because my knee was killing me. I took Thursday, today (Friday) and tomorrow off. I don't know the last time I took off 3 days in a row. My knee feels better now, so I'm hoping for a wonderful race.

Have you ever experienced something hurting during a training run so close to your race? If so, what did you do? Do you have a long taper or short taper?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Breaking Through to 22!

I LOVE running, perhaps a little too much. I like how it makes me feel. I like that it is individual and I don't have to rely on a teammate. I like competition and the thrill that comes from it. Therefore, I love racing and, even more, PRing.

This morning I got up at 5, had something to eat, and busied myself for the next hour and a half before I drove down to where the 5k I was running in was starting. I ran in this same race last year and clocked 23:03. I don't run 5ks usually, and I REALLY wanted to PR. I have been trying to work on my speed while training lately. I knew I could break on through to the 22' was in me.

I was pleasantly surprised that my stomach was as calm as it was this morning. Perhaps it was because I knew the course and it was in my hometown, or maybe the stars were just aligned for me. At the starting line I got my iPod cued up and ready to go so when the gun went off I would be ready to run. And, off I went.

I knew that if I wanted to PR I would have to start fast, and that I did. I ran the first mile in 6:56, and it felt soooo good. The second mile was into the wind, but I was still feeling good and ended up clocking a 7:20 according to my Garmin. The third mile was glorious, as the wind was now at my back. Although I was running on a straight road, it felt like I was running downhill. My last mile was 7:17ish. I knew when to sprint to the end, and ended up finishing the race in 22:24 (7:12 min/mile). I got a nice flying foot trophy for placing in my age group, but more importantly I was happy and proud to join the ranks of the sub-23 5k group.

Diabetes-wise, I tested about 20 minutes prior to race time and got 108 on my machine. I had a little Gatorade because I wanted to start at a higher number. When I was done racing, I tested again, only to find out I was 245. This has happened to me for my last several races, where I get high numbers. I know when I race I have a lot of adrenaline going through my blood and think that might make my numbers high? Does this happen to you?

In other news, I have decided to run the half marathon at the Quad Cities Marathon and not the full. I've been having some knee/leg issues that have prevented me from logging the appropriate number of miles. I am hoping to become stronger and PR for the half. In a way I feel like a failure for not doing the full, but the good thing about marathons is that there are tons of them. I can do one next year. But for now, I'll stick to the half.