“The road to anywhere starts with the first step.”
This past Saturday I had the chance to get my race legs back. This is the longest stretch i’ve ever had without racing. Last June was unknowingly my season closer! My goal for this race was to test my fitness, and get back into the game. I haven’t done any speed work, just base building so far. And my run milage has been fairly low since coming back from the crash. So I figured I could hold about 7 minutes per mile just outside comfortable. I’d be keying in on fueling to, as this has been an area of contention with me for years. With Pacific Health Labs as a sponsor now- I get quality nutrition that settles well with me. I’d be using Accel gel’s and Accerade. This race was also strategically placed after a 3.5 hour bike ride the day before. Coach Mary wanted to see how I would do on my biking legs. Were all about race prep here.
I knew I had to stay within myself for this race. A big change for me. Road racing, I would always work on picking people off and working my way at a podium attempt. Not this race. This was the Pacific championship for club teams. And I wasn’t there to place. I was there to test myself on tired legs. So for the first time ever in a race, I used my iPod.
I started in the back of the front. I found a pace that was comfortably uncomfortable and was constantly reassessing. Slowing down wasn’t an option, either I would speed up or hold. I was averaging between 6:45-6:55 the first few miles and they were ticking by fast and comfortably. I was surprised that my legs weren’t more tired from my bike yesterday. I took one gel about 15 minutes before the start, and another at mile 6. The cups at the aid station were tiny, and I struggled getting enough water even after two small cups. I sipped on Accelerade in a hand carry bottle- but wasn’t very interested in getting much fluid in. I should have been drinking more. That bottle should have been empty when I was done, and it was over half full.
By mile 7, I was getting tired. I had to really mentally focus on keeping my cadence up in order to hit my paces. I slowed about 5 seconds/ mile but was still under 7- so I was okay with that. I was also working through out the race to stay on top of my thoughts. Its so easy to talk yourself OUT of a pace, or a cadence, or the race. But today I had the opportunity to practice. I basically turned myself into one of my own coached athletes. I talked to myself the way I would talk to one of my athletes during a race. “Stay on top of your cadence”, “you’re doing great- hold this”, “four more miles is nothing- you’ve got this!”. These strategies really helped me stay tough when my legs were getting tired.
I ended up averaging 6:52/ mile for 10.4 miles according to my garmin. 1:09:03. I was content with that. I know with some speed work and more mileage I can bring that down to 6:45’s with the goal of 6:30’s in the future. But for now, I met myself where I was at and got the job done. Hitting the goal I set for myself felt really good.
Looking back at the race, there are a few things I would have done differently. Post race I became extremely nauseous. I forgot my Endurox recovery drink at home, but I couldnt stomach anything at that point anyways. I felt sick for the next 7 hours. After talking to VTP coach Cristina C., I realized that it was in fact my on course nutrition- even though I thought I did well. I was more dehdrated than I thought, and the timing of my fueling could have been better. The gels worked amazingly during the race, but I hadnt had enough water with them. I allowed myself to become dehydrated, causing my gut to empty much slower- hence the nausea. I forgot my Endurox. And I didnt eat anything after the race. These are all areas I am currently working on. And with PHL as my sponsor, I have all of the latest and greatest information to help me fuel correctly. Here is some of the newest news from Pacific Health Labs about rehydration . Couldnt be more perfect timing for me!
I also couldnt have done this race without KT TAPE. I had both feet taped up for extra support. I do this every single day since having plantar fascitis and heel spurs. They are almost gone now, and I can’t believe what a difference the tape has made. And surprisingly, everyone from the arthritis class at my local pool loves the tape! They keep asking me where they can get it. Luckily I know where to send them 🙂
I am currently working with Quintana Roo to get my new bike for this season. No more riding on a cracked frame! I will be at HITS Napa this weekend working with my sponsor XTERRA as well! Can’t wait to cheer on a few of my friends!
Thank you to all of my sponsors, coach Mary, and my family. None of this would be possible without you!