After an absolutely wacky couple of months, I am finally catching up and getting around to blogging again.
On Saturday, June 12th, 2010, I reached my goal of hitting the starting line at the 35th Annual Run the Rockies half-marathon as a 100% raw foodie. Yay me! I now have a new appreciation for people who do this sort of thing. It takes a tremendous amount of time, dedication and childcare to participate!
The week leading up to the race, I 'carb-loaded' by eating a lot of fruit (bananas, especially) and made sure I was drinking ample water so that I was well hydrated. The Asian market was sold out of young coconuts, so I went back to the internet to search for an electrolyte replacement drink that wouldn't send me to the hospital. I learned that if I soaked raisins in water overnight, I could use the liquid that is leftover. It sounded disgusting to me at the time, but I discovered that it is actually quite delicious and does the job nicely!
I continued on my raw food diet without wavering, and with the final weeks of training for the race, hit my lowest weight, losing a total of 18 pounds between January and race day. I feel like I have hit my ideal weight, which has been nice. I haven't been this size since my early twenties when I was forced to fit loosely into a size 6 for my job as a glamour-puss. I think it should be noted here how very slow and steady my weight loss was between January and June. It goes without saying that if you have more weight to lose, you will lose it on raw food, and much faster than I, but only if you add in a good amount of exercise. The old adage of 'eat less, move more' applies here like it does everywhere else. Sigh.
The race starts across the street from the Copper Mountain ski resort and goes downity-down-down the mountain into Frisco, Colorado and beyond. (approx 9600 ft elevation) 75% of this race is downhill, which sounded great to me. I discovered prior to race day that aid stations were few and far between, mostly because the access to the trail by race workers was spotty. I decided to carry my own hydration pack with me, bringing regular water and raisin water in that.
We stayed overnight in order to get up early the next morning to get our bibs at 6:45a. My cohort, Michelle, was there, too, which I was glad for. I don't know that I would want to ever do this sort of thing by myself! I was able to eat a great salad in Frisco for dinner, and I brought along my Vitamix and all the stuff to make myself my beloved green smoothie in the hotel room the morning of the race.
No, I'm not kidding.
I was trying to keep everything as normal as I could so as not to whack out my system. I'm sure my next door neighbors appreciated the sound of my blender/jet engine at 6am!
We awoke to a forecast of 1 to 3 inches of snow! Yes, it was COLD! Nevertheless, I felt excited and definitely got choked up with emotion at the starting line. I couldn't BELIEVE I was actually doing this! I am so grateful to Michelle for roping me into this crazy pursuit. It has been so fun to see what my body is capable of when it is fed real food!
The race started and down we went. Immediately Michelle and I ran into a friend and fellow raw foodie, Jenni, who was also running her first half-marathon and the three of us stuck together for the most part. We were doing intervals, running two minutes, walking two minutes.
At mile 5, it started to drizzle. Did I mention how cold it was? I was wearing dumb cotton gloves I just happened to stuff into my raincoat pocket on a whim, and my hands got so wet and cold I lost feeling in them. That part was miserable. But, in a bit the drizzle stopped and despite my popsicle hands, I felt great.
By mile 9 I decided to pick up my pace a bit. The other runners had made the turn around and were zipping by me on the way back to the finish line with words of encouragement. I thought to myself, "This is fun! I would do this again!" By mile 11, my right knee was saying, "This is NOT fun! No more running for you!" At this point, I had to gear down and just walk fast. I think all the downhill did me in.
See a video here of us at the race. Typepad is not cooperating, for some reason.
We paced it slowly enough that there were very few people on the course by the end. Like I mentioned, I had picked up my pace and left Michelle and Jenny behind me, far enough that we couldn't see each other, but not too far. By mile 13, I saw no sign of life. No race workers. No one. Not ahead of me or behind me. I walked on.
Another Entry For 'My Most Embarrassing Moment' List
A half marathon is 13.1 miles. I have to say that that final stretch was the longest tenth of a mile I have ever seen! The race workers had obviously bugged out for the free beer when the last actual runner had gone by. They were totally gone! I walked on and on for what felt like another mile, and finally saw a cyclist heading the opposite direction to ask where in the world the finish line was! He directed me ambiguously 'to the right up there', so off I went. I got off the trail on what looked like 'to the right up there' and found myself in a residential neighborhood. I saw a contractor in front of a house under construction and had to ask for directions to the finish line! (this definitely is on my list of embarrassing moments...) Thank God, he knew where to send me, and I finished the race, squeaking by in just under three hours. I am glad I had my mountaintop moment at the starting line, because the finish line was less than anti-climactic. The finish line was still up, but pretty much all the festivities were done, the food was eaten, and everybody was cleaning up. It was sad.
I wouldn't call what I did 'racing', nor even 'running'. I don't want people to get the wrong impression. It is more 'jogging' and 'walking fast'. Wogging? But I did it. It felt great to start AND to finish, when I finally found the finish line, that is. I would definitely do it again, and would like to work on being faster.
Recovery was quick. After Michelle advised I take an ice bath at the hotel, which was the WORST part of the entire experience--training to race day, bar none, I felt like I was walking on stumps the rest of race day. The next day, however, I woke up feeling great physically. I was tired, but not one bit sore. How is it possible to not be sore after what I did? Raw food. (just reminding you, hee-hee) My right knee has not given me any more trouble. It was just pooped, I think. Emotionally, I did feel blue for a couple of days following, but that is typical for me when I hit the letdown after a big event.
I have been especially grateful for the stress relief running gives me. The final three weeks before the race kicked my tail on multiple levels. Life was peeling off and flying at me from every angle. It was not pretty. Running kept me sane and able to keep going emotionally. The endorphins I got from it helped me not to float down the river into depression. The past month, life has been so wild that I have gotten out to run only one time since race day. I have decided I definitely need firm goals, people to run with, and a healthy addiction to the flood of endorphins I get when I do it, to keep this up. Mostly, I need life to be less crazy. And I need to keep blogging...amongst other things.
I'll keep you posted when any of this occurs and I take hold and start running in earnest again. Until then, thanks for all the encouragement!