Although I've been running almost every day - it's always on the actual race day that I learn something and I learned a lot this morning.
It all started on Friday night. My surroundings were calm and cool and I was collected. I rested and I took nutrition advice from avid marathoners. However - I think I just need to learn for myself what food is right for me.
I was told to carb load a few days before the race - and to eat pasta the night before. Being someone from the 'fitness' world where I focused on body sculpting, I'm used to eating high protein, veggies, fiber, fruit and less unsaturated carbs. I'm used to 'carb' depleting before a Fitness show....but as runners we need to hydrate differently with carbs.
I learned awhile back that heavy carbs, like pasta, make me feel bad. So, I will not eat pasta the night before a race anymore. I felt bloated and full and I was uncomfortable. I couldn't fall asleep when I wanted to. To my luck, I finally fell asleep at midnight. I woke up at 6:30 ready to roll. I still felt full but I knew I needed to hydrate so I kept it simple- I drank water,a six ounce shot of black coffee; I ate a small bowl of high fiber flakes with almond soy and a banana. I also had a glass of strawberry nuun. On my ride to Birkdale, I drank water.
Next time: Keep it simple with the carbs and stick with oats. Don't eat cereal or dairy. On the morning of the race, stick with fruit and nuts - as well as water. A shot of black coffee is fine.
I had my clothes ready on Friday night. Long black pants, compression sleeves for my shins, socks, sneakers, "SweatPink" tank top, and black pants. It was chilly Saturday morning and I had my race t-shirt on over my tank top. I also had on my new sneakers - with my "SweatPink" shoe laces. I was comfortable, until I started running. Fortunately I was able to take my t-shirt off...but I couldn't take my pants off.
Next time: Wear shorts - or at least- knee length pants.
3. Follow your instincts, not the crowd.
So here is the part I've been waiting to talk about. The race started out fine...and then when we got to a junction in the course, I had the instinct to take the left turn but everyone in front of me kept running straight. There wasn't a sign indicating the turn, and I was confused. I read the directions and I've run the course before so why did I let myself follow the crowd? I do not know - but I kept on running and moving forward. I was far off track. In some respects - I slowed down a little bit only because I wanted to know where I needed to go. At this point I knew that my timing would be off...as would be my distance. According to dailymile.com, I ran 4 miles. I did not time myself ....and I'm not even sure if we started on time.
Next time: Follow your instincts...and bring a watch to clock my time.
I love music and I've been running with my ipod in hand since I started to run. It's a habit I need to break...today. I got hot during my run and had to take my t-shirt off. So I took my headset off and ran a short distance without the ipod on and it was awesome.
Besides, I always search through songs when I have my ipod on. I hate running to slow music, or country music and even rock'n roll. I'm not saying I will never run with my ipod again, I just want to stop being so dependent on it.
Next time: No ipod.
I felt great after the race. I went home, ate some food and decided to go to a yoga class to stretch out my muscles and relax. It was by far the best decision I made.
I'm now ready to prepare for the next 5K that's scheduled for October 14th. My new goals for the next three weeks are:
1. Run 3/4 miles at least three times a week.
2. Do yoga everyday.
3. Do a full body strength train routine 3 times a week.
4. Nix the pasta!
On a final note, I'm ready to start training for a 10K.