The Lake Powell Half Marathon is now less than a month away. Running coaches everywhere admonish us, “nothing new on race day,” so it was time to practice. My dress rehearsal run – 13 miles – was Friday, September 25. I put on the shoes (Altra Torins), socks (Feetures), and skirt (Pearl Izumi) I plan to wear for the race. And I put on my Camelbak vest – fully loaded.
I ate peanut butter and jelly on a single slice of bread 1 hour and 15 minutes before I took off. Most running coaches say to eat no sooner than 2 hours before the race, but for this race I won’t have two hours. The race starts at 6:30 AM, and there’s no way I’m getting up at 3:30 AM just to make the two-hour mark. If it doesn’t work I’ll have to rethink the decision. That’s why we practice, right?
At about mile 3 I started to feel a bit of a twinge in my mid-back, left side. I made a conscious effort to keep my posture straight and to keep the vest tight (the lower clip kept slipping) but by the end of the run my back hurt. While I wanted to blame the vest, I’d run 11 miles with the vest fully-loaded with no problem. Fully loaded, the vest weighs only 2 ½ pounds. And in reality, I need the vest fully loaded. Thirteen miles is a long way, especially in a desert climate.
At about mile 4 I started to feel a little bit of rumbling in my lower abdomen. Thankfully it stopped within a few minutes. The same thing happened at about mile 7.5 – after I’d eaten a Gu at mile 7. Again it stopped quickly.
At mile 9.35 the music stopped. My running playlist had ended. Yes, I still use an old-fashioned I-Pod Nano in an old-fashioned armband. Why don’t I use my smart phone? My smart phone is huge and my arm is tiny. Besides, I want to keep my phone available for more important tasks – like taking pictures of the beautiful scenery at Lake Powell.
Two hours and 15 minutes later I pulled in. I’d used most of the water in the vest. My back hurt, but otherwise I was fine. Here’s what I learned:
1. It is safe to eat an hour and 15 minutes before the race, and one Gu midway through the race worked well.
2. I can’t let my back get any worse. Time to visit the chiropractor!
3. I need to add more music to my running playlist.4. Mentally I’m ready for this race. Hoping the training I’ve done all summer will carry me through a couple of weeks of rehab. Lake Powell, here I come!