Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spring Fling 10K Recap

Another week, another race! 

I had this on my radar but it was the post half marathon euphoria that sealed the deal for registering. 

I spent the week between the half and this race running easy. I did run 4 times Monday through Thursday and took Friday as my rest day per normal. All of my runs were very easy - 10+ mile pace with some added pick ups one of the days just to get some turnover. 

I was up super late (for me) Thursday and Friday because, March Madness, and when I woke on Saturday I questioned why on earth I signed up.

My PR was set on the same course in November with a time of 53:52 8:48/mile pace - I knew on a good day yes I could beat that but just wasn't motivated - and had run a half 7 days prior. 

I decided this time around to take my medication that helps with my stomach spasms. So I took that then ate a honey stinger waffle before I left. I had a solid 2.5 hours before the race and decided since I didn't know what to expect that it was as good a time as any to test it out!

To tell just how not committed to "race" I was - I wore leggings. I do NOT race in tights, I wear shorts and a tank even when it is 30 out. (I would later regret them as they were falling down part of the race).

 I was greeted at Roosevelt Island by some brisk but lovely race weather. 

I had about 45 minutes to spare so I got my bib and used the bathrooms without waiting. I then basically sat hanging out until about 10 minutes before when I pinned my bib, dropped my bag, and went to the start line. (again, I love how these are not the NYRR production). 

I tried to get in the middle of the pack but people are ridiculous about where they line up. The girl next to me had never run 6 miles before. Really? then MOVE BACK. Ugh. I don't want to be the jackass lining up aggressively but it gets old that slower folks move up when not corralled. 

A couple minutes after 9:30 we were off! I had my garmin but when I run/race lately I have gotten extremely good at not paying attention to it. I was dodging people to get in a groove for the first 1.5 miles or so. When I looked down at my Mile 2 split I realized I was below my PR pace and feeling good. I decided to go for it. Worst case, I blow up and slow down but would regret not taking the opportunity. 

The course is two loops which I like. I try to get into a steady pace the first 5K and then drop it for the second. I finished the first feeling good and started to try to get more aggressive on the pace. I was passing people and happy as can be. I also had my headphones in but should note I never turned on my music.  

I have come to love that race feeling, embracing that comfortably hard run and knowing I am RACING, pushing myself. By mile 4 I was starting to feel the effort. I let myself ease off for several seconds at a time but kept telling myself less than 20 minutes left, keep it up! I also realized if I kept at the pace I was going to PR which motivated me.

Pain train definitely started at mile 5. I was just seriously focused on the end at this point. 

The unfortunate part of this course is I always overrun. Last time by .2 and this time turned out by .14 - there are a lot of turns and such which makes it harder so my garmin was beeping well before the mile markers that second loop which didn't really help my wanting to be done. 

The final .2 involves a 180 degree turn around a cone then an uphill I was dying to be done! 

And then FINISHED. With a 1:20 PR.

Not to sound braggy but I am SO proud of myself and how I have finally gotten back to running well. And faster than ever! On not really recovered legs and dealing with a lot of health issues I am setting new PR's. 

Here are my garmin splits: 8:41, 8:16, 8:22, 8:03, 8:11, 8:14, 8:06

The mile 1 pisses me off (because of the slower runners that started up front) but I will just look at it as holding me back from blowing up. My mile 4 was close to being sub 8! I really had no idea how fast I was running. I was just trying to be below an 8:40 pace.

And negative split the crap out of that - a 16 second per mile drop from lap 1 to lap 2. Just how I wanted it.   

My training has been so consistent, and I've overcome my fear when racing of playing it safe. I cannot do anything about my stomach issues for the most part; I will deal with Crohn's the rest of my life but my mental game has gotten very strong which makes me happy. 

Excited to see what the rest of 2016 brings me! 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Frozen Penguin Half Marathon Recap

So I need to begin this recap with this: NYCRuns who put on the race did not have me in the official results. So until then I am going off my Garmin time. We are most likely talking a second or two off but I let them know while there (they have the results immediately) and emailed and they are still "investigating". 

And so it begins. 

The day before the race was less than ideal. It began with me throwing up! So there is that. Between that and the fact that my legs felt trashed all week I was afraid to have high hopes. 

Saturday was perfection. High 40's, light wind and sunny to start. Can you ask for better? (actually yes a little colder but whatever, it was beautiful out!). 

I did not think a PR was in the cards. I REALLY wanted to go sub 2 but was going to run by feel as I do a lot lately. Garmin was on but I wasn't going to slave to it. 

As we started I got into a nice rhythm. These races are smaller (less than 400 typically) and within a few minutes was finding my groove. I looked down around 2 miles in and saw sub 9. I felt good I was going with it. 

The we turned around and my stomach started to spasm (I am on an antispasm medication but didn't take it before because of potential side effects aka like Friday's nausea). From there on out it was an absolute struggle fest. I would ease off for a bit let it calm down then take advantage and speed up when it did. There are no bathrooms on the course (short out and back then longer out and back) so my number one concern was BE CAREFUL. I was a-okay running slow if it meant not shitting my pants (sorry, not sorry). 

I could have run into the bathroom on the first loop when we went back to the start but made the decision to run through it. Until mile 11 I regretted that decision when I wasn't sure I would make it. 

At about mile 7 I went to a slight dark place. I was already dehydrated and hungry (I never fuel but didn't even want to chance water) and may have sworn off racing. At the same time I knew I was running pretty well and wanted to keep going for it. 

My stomach hit an awful spot at mile 9 and I let myself walk for 10-20 seconds or so. At this point I was pretty sure I was sub 2 and could afford it. 

The most joyous part of the race was the final water station shortly after mile 11. I let myself finally have 2 cups of water and walked through it to down them. The end was in sight and I knew I would break 2 barring anything crazy.

That last bit was tough I felt like I was barely moving (but looking at splits I was running well). My fingers were swelled up like sausages and my arms were sore. How weird is that? I must have actually been using them. 

Finally the end was in sight and I finished! 

And some seriously good splits:

8:46, 8:58, 9:00, 9:00, 9:02, 8:52, 9:01, 8:55, 9:04, 8:59, 9:04, 9:16, 8:54, 7:57 (.18)

My mental math on the run is awful considering I thought I was cutting it close, haha! 

I finished, then waited to cheer in Beth who rocked the race and we basked in an awesome day of running. 

Honestly, I couldn't be happier with how this panned out. I've been doing the work and it finally came to fruition. I 100% believe I can build on this and run faster. I was running under less than ideal conditions (meaning how I felt Friday and during the race) and would be great to really throw down. My average HR was 154 which I still think is lower for a race.

2016 will be the year I take down my PR! Just need to take ohhh 4 more minutes off of this! But for now, I bask in the glow of everything coming together.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Health Stuff: Crohn's + IBS Diagnosis

Hello there and TGIF! 

I am going to start off with something that warms my heart every morning.

This beautiful golden retriever loves the train. She gets super excited, all over wiggles, when it comes into the station, and her owner brings her every morning to watch. And her rain coat today was just on point. #allthefeels for this duo.

I have been waiting a little while to write an update but finally have some good, and bad news. 

Towards the end of January as I was due for my Remicade infusion I started to feel not so great. I figured it was the Crohn’s and my body was ready for the infusion. Plus the stress from finding out my company is closing. I told my doc (new one at the practice my original one left and I decided to stay) and she mentioned my dose had been reduced from the max. 

When things weren’t getting better I assumed it was due to the dose being lowered. 

Insert blood tests, scopes and a ct scan later…and the good news is, the Remicade has knocked the life out of the disease! As in the doctor who did my CT asked if I was sure I had it. And considering how severe it was this time last year that is AMAZING news. 

Side note: I don’t think I will ever want lemonade again after having to drink like 100oz of this stuff:

The bad news is, as my GI suspected, I am now presenting with IBS (which isn’t all too uncommon with IBD patients). 

She put me on medication, Librax, which is supposed to help with the muscle spasms and I have to say I am feeling a little improvement. 

But, this also means learning trigger foods which shall be a giant (and not so fun) undertaking. 

I got VERY comfortable and felt so good for a while that I loosened up on my food “rules” (part of why I wasn’t really believing it was IBS vs a flare since this came out of the blue again) but now am reigning it all back in. 

I am doing research and linking up with the RD at my GI practice for some help, but I know it means backing off some veggies, very minimal lactose and sugar/processed foods. I won’t be going gluten free. Gluten has never been an issue for me and I have tested for celiac a couple times already. I don’t eat a ton anyway but I know that isn’t my problem.

I have a half marathon next weekend which I had high hopes for. At the moment I am not sure I will be able to race it if my gut is not cooperating so it may be more for fun but we shall see. 

At least I have a pretty new bright pair of Kinvara’s to run in. 

So there we have it.  I am bummed for something else to figure out but honestly I would rather this than to know my Crohn's is flaring.