Monday, November 21, 2011

I am a marathoner!

I officially finished my first full marathon yesterday. The first half was fun, then it started to feel like work. And then my running partner for the race and I fell apart at mile 20. We "ran" that mile in about 15 minutes (according to my Garmin splits). Ouch! But we pulled it together and improved our pace ever so slightly for the last few miles. They were slow, but we did cross the finish line! Official chip time was 5:42:05. Though my main goal was just to finish and not get hurt, I was hoping for a 5:30 finish time. I'm not sure yet if I'll do another, but I suspect I will want to take another shot at it next year and get a better time. :)

I had a plain bagel for breakfast with some blueberry preserves (from a local farm - delicious!). I can't stomach too much before a race, so that was about the most I could handle. I lost count of how many gels I had during the race, but it felt like a million. Probably around 10, though. Sometimes I feel gross after a long run, from all those gels, but I recovered enough to start eating shortly after the finish line. I got a bag of pretzels and water going through the chute, and then headed to the Four Seasons hotel for the Runner's World Challenge Post-Race Reception. My wonderful group of friends met me at the finish line and accompanied me to the reception.

After a great tandem massage (two people doing a gentle massage and stretch, legs/feet only) I got some more snacks. They had smoothies - though they were using yogurt, they made one up for me with just fruit and juice - peanut butter banana sandwiches, some other dairy items and some dried fruit and nut mix. I stuck with my smoothie and some of the fruit and nut mix, along with a cup of green tea. Once I got through that (though I shared most of the fruit and nut mix), we all headed out to lunch. We settled on Chinese, since there is generally something for me to eat and close by. I got buddhist vegetables with tofu and brown rice, which was quite yummy. After lunch I headed home to get cleaned up and put my feet up for a bit.

For dinner I steamed and then sauteed some kale with a little cider and maple syrup, heated up some leftover root veggies I had cooked in the crock pot the day before for dinner, and cooked up a veggie burger to have on a whole wheat bun. Oh yeah, I baked up a few waffle fries I unearthed for the freezer, because I was really jonesing for some fries. haha Not the healthiest, but delicious!

Dinner hit the spot, but I still wanted dessert. So I melted up a 1/2 square of unsweetened baking chocolate with some vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (maybe 1 tablespoon?), and 1-2 T of unsweetened coconut milk, in the microwave. Sliced up a banana, and bingo - delicious dessert.

 I am still working on re-hydrating, which I'm not very good at. Pretty sore and stiff, but that should get better in a few days. Overall, it really was a great race experience. I think I learned some lessons, so maybe if I do it again I can improve. But, as I was told, once you've done one, you're a marathoner for life!

I can't say I have been very productive today, but I have been plotting what comes next, and looking back over my training. Since July I have run 454 miles! I know that doesn't sound like much to hardcore runners, but it's pretty exciting for me. This is definitely the longest stretch that I have run regularly, and obviously the most weekly mileage I have ever put in. Though I definitely plan to rest for this week and ease back into running to give my body time to recover, I don't want to lose my momentum. I'm afraid, based on my history, that I will revert to a couch potato now that my big goal is done and winter is approaching. So I have been collecting gear to keep my nice and warm, and hopefully motivated to run even in the cooler weather. I definitely want to focus more on strength training as well, but I think I will sign up for a 5K or two over the winter so I don't completely stop running.

Do you have winter running plans? Know of any fun winter races in the Philly area?

P.S. In the winter spirit, Vegan Heartland is hosting a giveaway with So Delicious. I always loved egg nog, so I am a sucker for a good vegan 'nog. I'm excited to try the new So Delicious flavors! Check out the giveaway!

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