Monday, March 27, 2017

Just a Short Run 2017 8.1 Mile Race Recap

First things first, I feel like I have a million things to post this week. Today is my birthday (Whooo!) - and while I would normally have some sort of birthday post up, I'm saving that for Wednesday so I can squeeze in my race recap today. All before I post my April goals + a Q1 update on my year-long goals. Moving on...

I've got BIG goals for my April half marathon. I'm aiming for an 8:30 // mile goal pace and therefore a new PR. I'm using a totally new to me training plan and putting in some serious hard work to make this happen. I wanted to use Just A Short Run as a gauge, could I really do this? Or was I crazy?

You may remember that I used this exact same intro for my Spring Thaw Race Recap that while my overall pace for my last race was right on target for a new PR, and only 2 weeks deep into my training, I really fell off in the second half. And my final mile was by far my slowest of the race.

My goal was to make this race different. I wanted to run consistently. I knew there would be pacers, so I planned to become BFF with the 8:30 pacer and help myself get a better feel for an 8:30 pace after my last few attempts at pacing had gone wrong.

But let me back up.I laid out my Flat Jessie, scarfed some coffee, and toast with banana and peanut butter before heading to North Park.



Before it was even time to head to the start line, Steff, Ciara & I hosted a We Run Social Meet-Up to meet some other Pittsburgh runners, folks we follow and interact with on social media, but hadn't necessarily met in real life. I loved getting to meet Instagram and blogger friends in real life! Obviously we had to snap a picture before we all headed to the start line.



And one more picture with the Pro Bike & Run group - who seriously keeps me sane each week where the 9:30 pace group keeps me company for more long run miles than I could ever count.



After plenty of pictures it was time to frantically rush my way through the port-o-pottie line before heading to the start line.

Mile 1 // 8:43, Mile 2 // 8:04, Mile 3 // 8:12

Just A Short Run offers 4 race distances, 5K, 8.1 mile, 1/2 marathon and 30K - all but the 30K have the same start line. The 30K starts a few minutes earlier, and merges .5 miles in with the rest of the distances. The 8:30 pacer started with the 30K runners. So I situated myself in between the 1:50 (8:22 pace) and 1:55 (8:44 pace) HM pacers.

When we merged in with the 30K runners I couldn't see the 8:30 pacer. I hoped that as we carried on I'd be able to see his sign and could keep my sights on him. The first mile includes a large uphill. I knew my pace was slow heading up the hill, but I was shocked to be getting passed left and right, until I saw the 7:30 pacer pass me. I was well ahead of the pacer I was looking for.

I knew I couldn't slow down in hopes of him catching me, so I soldiered on. I looked at my watch after the 1st mile marker, and when it beeped for mile 2. I kept psyching myself out, wondering if I was going too fast, or too slow. It always seemed to be one or the other. I made the decision after mile 2 to ignore my watch, to check it for distance if I so desired, but to ignore my pace, and just run my race.

Mile 4 // 8:22, Mile 5 // 8:14, Mile 6 // 8:13

At the end of mile 4 I chatted for a few minutes with a gentleman who was nearby. Shortly after that we rounded the corner for a slow and steady uphill. I was excited to be past the halfway point and headed for the home stretch. At mile 5.75 we rounded the corner to hit the backstretch of the Lake, and it hit me. It was hot. It was humid. And I was drained. I was thirsty, and starting to feel sick to my stomach.

I've purchased salt caps and plan to use them on my next long runs and speed workouts to test them out. I am a heavy sweater, and a salty sweater, which I believe leaves my electrolytes out of whack by the end of a hot race.

Mile 7 // 8:47, Mile 8 // 8:35, .2 // 8:39

Mile 7 was rough. I felt sick. I felt like I might puke, but I could see the finish line through the trees and I knew I was in a downhill stretch of the course. I had no idea what my average pace was, and I resisted looking at my watch.



Amanda from The Running Resident came up behind me, and introduced myself, told me I was rocking it, and gave me a much needed boost before speeding off.

I rounded the corner, the final stretch to the finish line and I was spent. I really wanted to look good for the cameras (you're so vain! Haha) to get a few good action shots. I did my best, but I felt like I was trudging through a swamp. 



When I finally stopped my watch and caught my breath, I was ecstatic! 8:28 average pace!?  I had done it! I had managed to hit my goal race pace all on my own, without the help of a pacer!?

Chip Time : 1:09.26 // 8:33 pace // 8.10 miles
Garmin Time : 1:09.20 // 8:28 pace // 8.18 miles



As I look at my Garmin data I am even more pleased with my performance. I expected my first mile to be slow given the uphill, but I was pleasantly surprised to see my overall consistency otherwise, and especially pleased that my final mile wasn't my slowest. 



My next challenge, for my final 4 weeks of training is my mental game. My race outfit worked well, but I need to work on my race day and racing nutrition. I cannot make it 13.1 miles without some sort of calories during the race. I'm not sure I could have done another 5 miles on Saturday, nor do I think I could have maintained that pace for another 5 miles - not because my legs were spent, but because I felt sick to my stomach, something I've often experienced in races past, and now attribute to electrolyte imbalances caused by lots of sweating without anything to replenish.



What is your best pre-race fuel?
How do you fuel during a race?
Any tips for using Salt Caps?

Linking up with Holly & Tricia for Weekend Highlights
Linking up with Marcia x Patty x Erika for Tuesdays on the run to share.

Linking up with Steff.

28 comments:

  1. Way to go, girl! And way to go for sticking through the grossness!

    Humidity is a killer when you're just existing - so I can't imagine running a race in it! Yuck!

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    1. It feels like such a swamp - especially the first few warm humid days of the year, it makes everything so much hotter!

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  2. That humidity came out of nowhere! I'm so excited to see you finish your half & be your personal photog!!! Happy Birthday!!

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    1. Yessss! I think a video + screenshots is the ticket. I felt like I got some good ones of you doing that.

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  3. Happy birthday!! Hope your golden is a great one!!

    Humidity is so hard, uuuggghhh. Electrolytes are so important - Nuun, Gatorade, salt tabs, all of it. I can't rely on water alone during a really humid run.

    One thing I've learned about race fueling over the course of numerous full and half marathons is that what you do leading up to the race is just as important, if not more so, than what you do during. The week of your race, make sure you are staying very hydrated in the days leading up to it, eating good food and lots of carbs, and getting those electrolytes in. If you are waiting until race morning to do all of this, it's too late.

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    1. I am testing out salt tabs + some sort of fuel during a run. It has been 2+ years since my last HM PR, and it was a chilly day, I struggle with fueling since I don't usually have pockets or a belt to store things in.

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  4. Wow, great job pushing through and hitting your goal even with the stomach problems! Hopefully the salt caps help out with that issue.

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    1. Thanks Chaitali! I tried salt tabs out for a speed workout the other day and felt pretty good.

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  5. I'm so proud of you! That race was something. And happy birthday!!

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  6. happy happy happy birthday to you!
    i am definitely in the minority, but i hate fueling/eating/doing anything during a race. i know that's not common, but it doesn't help me and often makes me feel worse. so i just let myself be.
    i have a half marathon in april (1 month and 1 day away to be exact) and i wish i had been better with training. womp womp.

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    1. I don't know that I actually LIKE eating // fueling during the race, but I feel like death if I don't, so I know I HAVE to figure something out.

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  7. HAPPYYYYYYY BIRTTHHDAYYYYYYY!!!!
    I laugh that you put off a birthday post for a race post. You are a true runner my friend.
    & LOOK AT YOU FLYYYYYYYY>>>> So glad you killed it!!!

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    1. Bahaha, I wasn't thinking about it like that until now - but I guess that's pretty much the definition of a true runner.

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  8. Great job! You kept a great pace! I have never used salt tablets in any of my training runs or races. Happy Birthday!

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    1. I haven't either prior to now, but I'm starting to test it out.

      And thank you. :)

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  9. Happy Birthday! I hope you are having an awesome day!

    It is so awesome that you stayed on your goal!! You didn't need a pacer!! What do you normally eat before long runs? Do you drink water before a race?

    I eat a bagel with cream cheese and coffee before a half marathon, half for 10K or 5K. And i'll take a sip of Gatorade during the races, if I drink too much of it, my stomach starts to fight with me.

    I hope you figure out the fuel for your next race!

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    1. I do drink water beforehand - but not enough I'm sure, since I hate feeling like I have to pee. I don't stick to a typical long run breakfast, because I always seem to forget I need to eat a pre-run breakfast. I ate 2 pieces of toast with PB & banana before this race.

      I've done overnight oats before races before with success. Just have to REMEMBER to do that. Haha.

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  10. Great race! I am going for the same pace (and also a PR) at my half marathon in June. Trying a 10K next weekend so see how it feels and hopefully will be right on like you! I know that nauseous feeling very well - I attribute it to being dehydrated. GU type gels are my favorite race fuel - I think they are the easiest and less energy chewing = more energy for running!
    PS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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    1. I agree that less chewing is better, I can't seem to take Gu without water, which makes it hard for me to time not necessarily knowing when the water stops will be.

      And thank you. :)

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  11. Awesome job!!!! Huge congrats! Talk about nailing it! I would not be able to run without salt caps. I'm also a heavy and salty sweater. I take them every single run in hot/humid weather because otherwise I'd be overcome with nausea. I take a ton on long runs and speed workouts. For long runs I usually take them with my energy gels (which, for me, is after 30 minutes and then every 45 minutes after), but if I start feeling nauseated, I'll take another. Don't worry about taking too many. I think on one long speed workout on one of the hottest, humid days last summer, I took 9! It kept the nausea away, and I was fine. Oh, and happy birthday!

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    1. Do you just take them with water? How do you store them when you're running? Do you feel like you're fumbling to get one out of wherever you're storing it?

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  12. Salt caps will help you so much. I used to throw up every hot race but since getting them I haven't felt nauseous at all. Definitely practice with them because for me they don't go down easily at all. Great job in the race and crushing your goal!!!

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    1. I tried one before my speedworkout last week, and I didn't have any issues, but not sure if that was the salt cap working, or it just not being so hot.

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  13. Congratulations on your race! I've tried to use pacers to gauge how I'm doing but somehow I'll end up starting too far back in the corrals and completely lose them! I've been using Honey Stinger Chews as fuel and haven't had any digestive issues. Considering you were almost sick during the race you really toughed it out!

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    1. I have a Honey Stinger Waffle I am planning to try this weekend during my long run, I'm hoping it'll work just fine.

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  14. First: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Second: OMG -- What a great paced 8 miler. So jealous. Third: How can you "chat" with a gentleman while running that pace? That's my I'm Dying Right Here 5k pace (aka: Do Not Talk To Me!). Fourth: I do use SaltCaps for long races 'cuz I live in humidity hell. I pop one in just before a fluid stop everything 45 minutes or so. Thanks for linking, Jessie!

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    1. Good tip on popping one in before a water stop. I plan to test them some more on my long run this weekend. I think I may need to get myself a fuel belt of some sort to carry my fuel.

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