Thursday, June 21, 2012

Marathon Nutrition - Fueling the Distance

**Mom & Dad I put random pictures of the kids in this post just for you.  You can ignore the content.  Everyone else can ignore the pictures because they have nothing to with the content.  haha I am just trying please everyone here okay! :)

I am not a registered dietitian nor am I at all claiming to be knowledgeable on the subject of marathon nutrition. But I do know that nutrition/hydration is crucially important for successfully going the distance and I have done a lot of research on the topic.  I very rarely talk about food on my blog.  I suffered from an eating disorder for three years that nearly took my life and food to me now is simply fuel.  I have way too many fun things going on in my life to let food consume my mind. I eat when I am hungry to fuel my body and do my very best not to obsess about what I am eating.

Gorilla is Hungry!!
Now is when I turn into a complete hypocite because I actually think a lot about what I am putting into my body leading up to a marathon.  The following is what I feel has worked for me and only my opinion.  Keep in mind I am a very petite runner and the numbers I use are based on my weight and may be much different for you.

How you should feel after eating a delicious meal.  So happy you could kiss your Sister!
3 Days Pre-Race:  As I was tapering for Boston marathon (going crazy) I came across this blog.  The author Jackie Dikos is not only a 2:45 marathoner but also a registered dietitian specializing specifically in sports nutrition.  Check out her blog she absolutely knows her stuff.  Through her blog I learned the critical importance of increasing my carbohydrates and decreasing fats the 3 days leading up to a marathon.  Easy right?  Suprisingly not so much.  After carefully tracking my food consumption I realized that my carb intake was far too low.  I live by myself and eat pretty simply so I really had to plan and actually think to get my carbs up to 400+ grams per day.  I know what your in the heck is it hard to eat carbs Rachelle....just go eat a freaking box of Twinkies you stupid idiot!  The trick is eating healthy carbs that our bodies can store and not eating just processed or refined carbohydrates that the body digest rapidly and uses immediately.  To healthily add carbs to my diet the three days before the marathon I simply ate a little bit more.  An extra handful of crackers or pretzels with lunch, and extra snack during the day, thicker bread for my turkey sand which, ect.  I also broke the golden rule!!  Me and my sister created the never ever drink your calories rule ages ago.  I think many women live by this silly rule?  Well I broke it!  I drank about 2-3 32 ounce G Series Gatorades the 3 days leading up to the race.  That's an extra whopping 56 grams of carbohydrates a day that did not weigh me down and leave me feeling stuffed.  Not only did the Gatorade add easy carbohydrates, it was also chuck full of sodium and potassium to stock my body for the warm weather marathon.  Lastly in addition to making sure I was topping out at 400 grams of carbs per day and drinking plenty of fluids I also made a conscious effort to add sodium to my diet.  I snacked on pickles, pretzels, crackers, and popcorn and also took a salt tab with my dinner Friday night.  Sodium is most likely not quite as important if you are not running in warm weather.  But when you are a salty sweater like me and racing in the heat it could absolutely make you or break you in my opinion.  When I weighed myself Saturday morning before Utah Valley Marathon I was up 2lbs from my normal weight.  Perfect!!

Do not attempt flying after consuming a carb heavy meal!
Pre-Race Morning:  I felt strong when I woke up Saturday morning.  I could tell I was carrying extra water weight because my ring that I always wear was tight on my finger but I did not feel bloated or too heavy at all.  This was good because I had 100 grams of carbs to get in me before the gun went off.  I ate a large bagel, a banana, and 3/4 of a 32 ounce gatorade to top me off right around 100 grams of carbohydrates.  Temperatures were predicted to hit 70's by the halway point of the race so I also took an additional salt tab before the race began.

Do not rely on PEPSI as fuel before a big race!
Race Nutrition:  I know from experience, and two trips to the medical tent post marathon that I am a very salty sweater.  It runs in my family and it sucks but it is what it is and I can work around it.  I just have to be extra diligent about replacing that sodium and taking in plenty of calories.  I skipped the first aid station at mile 3 (it was conjested and I wasn't even sweating yet), and drank a full cup of gatorade at every other aid station.  I took water if I was thirsty or was taking a gel but for the most part I just stuck to gatorade.  Gatorade has calories, sugar, and most importantly electrolytes.  Water tastes great but provides no nutrients.  I took gels at miles 9, 16, 21, and one salt tabs at mile 13 and 21.  My goal was to take in 600-700 calories through gatorade and gels throughout the race and I think I did really well at both Boston and Utah Valley Marathons.

Wow now how incredibly mind numblingly boring was that post?  Hopefully it is able to help someone out there.  Again this is just what has worked for me.  If you have additional questions feel free to ask in the comments. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wasatch Back Ragnar Recap

Ragnar's are just so much fun!  I keep saying I am going to quit running them but yet some how I always end up on a team and I definitely never end up regretting it.  I love the teamwork, camaraderie, new friendships, and all of the chaos that goes on in between.  It is really just all about having a good time, running many miles, and making memories along the way.  I love it!

From Left to right:  Julie, Holly, Jorge, Moi, Jake, & Stephanie.  Such a fun team!
My team "Freaks On A Leash" did not start this year until 12pm and I was not projected to run my first leg until 5pm.  Being the OCD runner that I am I woke up early and got a nice and relaxing 4.5 mi run in before the Ragnar adventures began.  I spent the night at my parents Thursday and their neighborhood along the lake is one of my absolute favorite places to run.  I just couldn't resist the temptation!

At 8am I met my team and we made the trek up to Logan.  I had such a fun team and cannot emphasize enough how important this is when running Ragnar!  Jorge, Holly, Jake, Stephanie, and Julie all made this little adventure so much fun and it was so fun to get to know all of them better.  Jake was injured but still came along to drive and support.  I was very excited about this because he is just so much fun and it wouldn't have been the same without him there.

Holly flying from the start line!
I volunteered to run Jake's first leg which was 7.6 miles very hard.  I started running this one around 1pm and it was definitely hot out.  Besides the heat this leg was definitely my favorite of the race.  The scenery was absolutely gorgeous and it finished in my Dad's hometown of Hyrum.  My Dad is always taking me to Hyrum and showing me around so I felt right at home running into the city where my Dad grew up.  I averaged a 7:19 pace for this leg and loved every second of it!

My second leg started at 4:20pm (we had already gained 30 min) and was a steep downhill run down Avon pass.  It was on a rocky dirt trail and seemed incredibly dangerous.  I never run with sunglasses but decided to wear my shades to try and keep the dirt out of my contacts.  I considered wearing a neck brace, shin & arm guards, and a helmet but we didn't have any so the sunglasses would have to do! I somehow survived the 6.3 miles without sustaining any major injuries.  I felt like a flailing sea creature floating down the steep mountain without being able to control my legs.  It was out of control yo!  Anyway I paced a 6:57, my head was still attached to my body, and surprisingly my fastest miles were once I got back to the pavement and it was flat!  I passed off to van 2 and round one was complete.

After this leg we were able to steal as many free samples as humanly possible, relax, get massages from our awesome captain, eat some well deserved grub, and walk around talking to everyone we knew.  I like to talk....there I said it!  I ran into lots of familiar faces and before I knew it it was time for round 2.

Heather & I.  Love this girl!

Julie & I at the first Major exchange.
My third leg was 8.2 miles very hard.  I started running at 1am.  This leg was basically straight uphill the entire way but I was excited because I was still feeling the power of the 5-hour energy I took earlier in the day and I just love running at night in the Summer.  My crazy friend Julie decided to join me for this leg.  Boy I bet our van was PUMPED to get 2 full hours without the two of us talking non-stop.  Anyway Julie was completely toast after running sub-7 min miles in her first leg and talking nonstop since the race started. ha!  So we just took it nice and easy and enjoyed the cool mountain air.  I was so glad Julie was with me because without her I'm sure I would have tried to fly up the mountain and totally burnt out before I reached the top.  We paced a 8:45 and I sprinted into that exchange like it was no bodies business only to see about 100 unfamiliar faces glaring at me.  My team was no where to be found!  Had I known they were going to ditch me I would have just walked up the mountain like everyone else seemed to be doing. haha!  We finally got ahold of the other van and after about 45 minutes of exchange confusion they were off.

After this leg apparently you are supposed to sleep or something.......yeah that didn't happen.  I think I slept for 15 seconds total but it was all good.  Sleep is overrated anyway.  We hung out in the van and I tried to mentally prepare myself for my final 2.5 stretch.  ;)  Holly started with her hardest leg of the race and then "Super Mom Stephanie" took off on her 12.5 mile adventure.  Girl is hardcore because she ran this race ultra and finished with 33.5 miles.  After Steph finished Jorge ran his toughest leg of the race, and then handed off to Julie.  It took Julie about 5 minutes and 3 seconds to run her 3 miles and then I was off. 

My final leg of the race started at 11:30am after the rest of my van was done running.  The thought of running 2.5 miles seemed hysterical at first but once I got my little booty moving I was sure glad I only had to go for less than 20 minutes.  I paced 6:46 for this leg and it felt like I was running 800's the entire time.  It was hard!

And that was the end of the race for me.  I had an incredibly important Birthday party to get to and a freakishly awesome monkey costume to get into for the jungle Party!

Ragnar Thoughts/Analysis:
  • I had a freaking blast!
  • I ran much faster than I had anticipated.  Coming off of a marathon a week ago I had planned to just take it easy and avoid running fast.  But I realized this is much easier said than done.  I am competitive and I really just enjoy running faster and pushing myself.  I do not think I necessarily regret this decision nor do I feel like I was ever pushing myself too hard.  My running felt controlled and just like hard tempo workouts.  But I do think it was admittedly stupid to run a marathon/Ragnar back to back and I am thankful that my body held up so well.
  • Meeting new people and running with a new to me team was so much fun and I am so thankful for the lasting friendships I made.
  • I am sad I had to miss crossing the finish line with my team but being at my Nephews 2nd Birthday party was where I was supposed to be and I had more fun at the party than the kids.

I just had to sneak this picture of my Mom's awesome elephant cake in.  Doesn't it totally rock?

Alright I will shut up now!  Tell me what you think about Ragnar?

There are a lot of mixed reviews/opinions about such events and I think it is fun and interesting to hear everyones opinion.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Utah Valley Marathon Recap

**I have retyped this recap 3 times!!! Blogger officially hates me and I hope this is coming out the way I want it to because I am officially over it.  Can anyone help me transfer my blog to wordpress?

And I'm back with a race recap!  I'm not sure I ever even shared on the blog that I was going to attempt another 26.2 miles post Boston.  But the opportunity to run UV marathon arose and after consulting a few friends on the idea I decided to jump in on it.  After the 5k on May 5th I threw together a condensed 4 week training cycle and jumped back in the saddle.  

Here's the Skinny if you don't want to read the full Report:  I finished in 3:12:36, 69th overall, 12th female, 1st in my age group.

Now back to the boring stuff.  Based on my training and my Boston time I went into the race confident I was capable of running sub-3:20 marathon and if all the stars aligned perfectly I thought just maybe I could even pull off a 3:15. 

I had 3 goals going into the race:

1.  Negative Split!  I had never negative split a marathon and I knew that the course was set up perfectly for a negative split race.
2.  Run Smart!  Keep my heart rate under control and make sure things feel "easy" until mile 16, hydrate/fuel according to the plan, just execute a strategically smart race.
3.  Have fun!  I wanted to appreciate each step.

For the sake of saving time here is the report copied directly from my Fast Running Blog with some pictures thrown into the mix.  Pictures make the monotony a little more bearable right?

Whoa Nelly where to start.  First I must say I LOVE this course.  Love it!!  It is where I got my BQ last year and I was so excited to run it again.

I met up with my friend Julia at the buses.  We got to the top around 5:35am.  Perfect!  Quick potty stop and then time to line up.  I did not have time to warm up but that was fine I had 26.2 miles to get a warm up in.  I lined up next to the 3:15 pacer.  Toni was pacing.  I know him and know he has a tendency to go out too fast.  I talked to him about his plan and he said he would even split.  I decided I would plan to stick with him and see how it goes.

Mile 1: 7:40  I was very confused because there was no mat to cross and I didn't even realize the race had started.  oops!  Started the Garmin about 15 seconds late and then started jogging. Meh whatever it's a long race and I'll catch up that time later.  No big deal! 

Mile 2: 6:52, this was dumb but I was working to catch up to my "pacer"!  Saw this mile click and realized I would be pacing my own race. 

Mile 3: 7:03 a little faster than my plan but it feels stupid easy.  Also the 3:30 and 3:25 pacer were way in front of me.  What the heck?  I know it's just mental but it was bugging me.

Mile 4:  7:12 just grooving along barely breathing.  Met up with the owner of Fleet Feet and we ran together until mile 7.  Nice guy!

Mile 5:  7:18 passed the 3:25 pacer here.

Mile 6:  7:20

Mile 7:  7:14 still grooving along enjoying the scenery and the moment and mentally preparing for the hills.

Mile 8:  7:39 I was definitely feeling the headwind here and very worried about the next 11 miles down the
canyon.  Oh well I wasn't going to let it get me down.  Effort felt good on the first hill.

Mile 9:  7:45 Hill #2.  Felt incredibly strong going up all of the hills.  I think running up Nebo every weekend really paid huge dividends today.

Mile 10:  7:22 this mile is downhill but it is also where I really noticed the wind.  I met a girl Allison!  She was sweet and had just run Provo marathon in 3:17.  She was going for 3:10 or something so I figured I was safe to hang with her for awhile. 

Mile 11:  7:27  Saw the 3:15 pacer about 100 meters ahead and told Allison we should try to catch up to him (he is tall) and draft for awhile.

Mile 12:  7:58 Not really sure why this mile is so slow?  I was just trying to hang with Allison and Kristie that I ran into.  Kristie almost always beats me in my AG at races so I knew she was a strong runner.  I did not want to pass her and have her pass me back (this has happened too many times!)  We were also chatting up a storm which was a nice distraction from the headwind.  Me and my big mouth!

Mile 13:  7:23 finally realized I was going to have to let Christi and Allison go.  I felt good and they were slowing.  I saw Kelli about .25 mi ahead puking on the side of the road.  Oh no, oh no!!  I was so sad for her.  Passed her at the aid station and tried to encourage her

Half time:  1:37:25 

Mile 14:  7:16 Running by myself now and trying to draft off of taller guys whenever I can. I really suck at drafting!  I'm too dang impatient! My Garmin lost Satellite here which was awesome because I hardly looked at it again the entire race.

Mile 15:  7:16 still just cruising down the canyon.  Trying to draft but sucking at it because everyone is slowing and I cannot find anyone that is my pace.

Mile 16:  7:39 Hill + headwind.  Tough mile but I knew once I conquered it it was all smooth sailing.  Goal was to be at 2 hours and I hit 16 at 1:58:22. 

Mile 17:  7:37 Not sure why this mile is so slow. Headwind? Again I wasn't obsessing about pace and the effort felt right.

Mile 18:  7:15 

Mile 19:  7:06  Cam was planning to meet me at mile 20 and I was in shock that I was already that far.  I started to get excited. 

Mile 20:  7:22  Yay there is Cam!  We talked and caught up for a minute.  He was an AWESOME pacer!  I cannot thank him enough.  He told me to only talk if I wanted to and that he would talk if I wanted him to.  He had Gu and a salt tab ready for me.  Awesome!

Mile 21:  6:59  I see my parents and my sister cheering!!  Adrenaline is pumping.  Yay, yay, yay!  My sister joins me and Cam on the bike with my hydration pack and plenty of Gatorade.  Random side story:  My sister is pregnant and my hydration pack wouldn't fit around her waist so she was wearing it above her belly and right below her boobs.  Holy hilarious!  I was dying laughing.

Mile 22:  7:04 me and my personal team are cruising along.  Cam on my right, Sister on the bike on my left.  Just enjoying the moment. 

Mile 23:  7:12  :)  It hurts but whatever I'm almost done.  This is freaking fun!  My sister passed me Gatorade whenever I want it and Cam grabbed me water at all of the aid stations to drink and dump on my head.  I think this is where I saw Smooth and that was a huge mental boost!

Mile 24:  7:23 Last hill is finished!! I felt strong running up the hill and was passing marathoners, half marathoners, who even knows.  I was passing a lot of people and that felt good!  There was a guy I was eyeing in front of me and a girl about .25 mi ahead of him I could tell was a marathon.

Mile 25:  7:05 caught the guy and just kept on cruising.  Big ole smile on my face.  Cam and my sister Amber cheering for me the entire time.

Mile 26:  6:58 Tried to stop to get water and Cam threw the smack down (thanks so much Cam!)  "Water is not going to do you any good at this point you only have 1 mile to go" Push it, push it, push it!  Passed the girl we had been chasing down and then Amber and Cam both left me on my own to finish.

Kick:  6:27 I see Josse and she is cheering and runs with me for a second.  She tells me to calm my breathing.  Thanks Josse!  I honestly think I was just so excited I could not control anything!  I look up at the clock and see 3:15?  That is weird I know I am faster.  oh well just run hard.  Stop my garmin and see 3:12!!!!  WHAT?  So so very happy!

After Math:  I still have things I need to work on and room for improvement.  I am incapable of drinking from a paper cup while running and that slows me down when I have to stop to drink and then get going again.  I also need to learn to draft, and learn to not let it get in my head when slower pacers are in front of me.  I am smart, I do not need a pacer, I can run my own race!  That said I am beyond thrilled with the way I ran today.  This is my first time ever negative splitting a marathon and it feels so good.  I felt strong the entire time and am excited to see what my future holds.  Even now as I sit here icing my sore calf's I can't help but smile. :)  Today's race was a great reminder of why I train hard and why I love running! 
I placed 1st in my age group so my parents were kind enough to wait around with me until the awards ceremony.  Major congratulations to everyone that raced today. 

Quick Nutrition Note:  I took in 100 grams carbs/roughly400 calories before the race.  1 salt tab before the start and 2 during the race at 90 minutes and then again at mile 21.  I drank an almost full cup of Gatorade at every aid station except the first, and took 3 gels at miles 9, 15, and 21.  I feel like nutritionally I was right on point today.

So there you have it and Congratulations if you made it through the full report.  I set a 10 minute marathon PR Saturday and a 19+ minute course PR as compared to UV marathon last year.  Beyond the numbers and most importantly I reached my three goals and I had so much fun doing it.  Call me crazy but I can truly say I loved every single step and it was one of those rare races that you never want to end because it is just so magical!

Our bodies are truly amazing and I never want to forget this incredible experience.  Above all else this race helped me to realize that there truly is no limitations on my abilities as long as I continue to believe in myself.  Set a goal, reach it, set the bar higher, and keep on reaching for the stars.  There is no ceiling!  Two years ago I would have laughed in your face if you told me I would become a marathoner.  I hadn't ever even ran a 5k for goodness sakes!  

I would not be nearly the person or runner I am today without my amazing, amazing support system.  I am so grateful to my amazing friends and family that continue to support and encourage me through all the highs and lows.  I am one very lucky girl!  Running is the easy part, but coming out week after week to support me and chase me around is true dedication!