Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Dress Rehearsal

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!

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