Thursday, August 23, 2007

Looking back--Part II

I remember training for my 1st half-marathon. It was in October, and I was doing my long training runs around Forest Park during Indian summer in St. Louis. Of course, I refused to wake up early back then so most of my runs took place mid-day, during peak heat and humidity. I was stubborn. (No! you say. You? Stubborn? Never!)

My first 12 mile run (2 loops around the park), I was still running without hydration. I didn't know any better. I got so thirsty, I began hallucinating drinking fountains halfway around my second lap. Seriously. I remember seeing a drinking fountain and running off the path to quench my thirst, only to stand in horror and disbelief when it disappeared right in front of me. Like some sort of cruel joke.

Next weekend, I had my brand-spankin' new Fuel Belt, which only held 2 bottles. Still not enough, I know, but I didn't want to be weighed down. I had filled 1 with Propel and the other with good ole' H2O, and off I went. I couldn't believe how much better I felt. I flew through the 2 laps like it was nothing. 3/4 through the 2nd lap, I let myself go, striding out with 2 miles to go. I flat out sprinted the last 1/2 mile, even though my right abductor felt a little weird.

When I woke up from my recovery nap afterwards, I realized I couldn't lie on my right side. My right hip was on fire. Something was wrong. I had pulled a hip abductor. I still ran the half marathon 2 weeks later, and my abductor was still healing. But I got through it. Somehow.

Actually, it was one of my best times ever. But all I was doing back then was running. (It's hard to keep improving 1 sport when you train for 3.) I've learned that proper hydration and nutrition is important. I've sinced graduated to a 4-bottle Fuel Belt that looks suspiciously like a dorky fanny belt. I fill it with water spiked with Elete electrolytes and take along salt tablets and Cliff Blocks. I empty all 4 bottles during a hot 13 miles. I've also discovered sunblock, a visor and a good pair of cheap sunglasses.

And I also learned that when you feel really good in a training run, you sometimes still need to hold back. It was like fueling the tank with rocket fuel but still in the frame of an old VW beetle. My frame simply wasn't ready for it. Not only that, but looking back to this weekend, I've realized it does get easier. 13.1 miles used to be so overwhelming to me. Now, it's no big deal. When did that happen? I have to keep remembering that as I begin to train for Ironman Arizona. It will get easier. I will adapt. At least, maybe it will make it seem easier if I keep telling myself that. And, really, what's the difference?
finishing the final mile of the Silicon Valley 1/2 marathon 10/31/2004.


Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

That's a perfect mindset going into your Ironman training. I think we all started the journey to becoming endurance athletes without any idea where to start, only a burning desire to get started. How we made it through all those mistakes without losing the desire is beyond my ability to comprehend, but I'm glad I did.

Lisa said...

I second Chad- you do have a really good mindset!

I'm currently training for my first half. My longest run so far has been 8.5 miles. I don't carry water with me because it just sloshes around and weighs me down- plus the park where I run has fountains around that I can drink from if I take a Gu. I probably should get a fuel belt though, for once I start getting any longer.

Cliff Tam said...


That's smart. I always hold osmething back when i was training for IM. I never dig deep. At the en d the long ride i can go more and i don't.

I save that for the big day :D..

Hmm i remember those days when i run without hydration :D..yeah...defintely not smart :D

Sara said...

I just have a 1 bottle belt but as soon as new ones come into the running stores in Toronto I'm getting one! It's so cool to hear about the differences of running w/ and w/o hydration. One thing for sure is I do not want to start hallucinating!

Mon said...

its amazing when you look back at it that way, how much you have accomplished, and changed! Good for you!

Shawn said...

Looking back to when I started running, all of 4 months ago, I remember thinking to myself, 5K, no way. Three months later I was running my first 5K. I love looking back and see how far I have come. As for hydration, for me its only before and after a run since I am running only 3 miles at a time. When I hit those big runs I will definitely grab a fuel belt.

Erika said...

It was nice seeing that I have not been the only stubborn one refusing to wear a hydration belt. Sure I had lots of excuses from I'm no really running that far, its' not that hot out. But wow since focusing on proper hydration and upping my calorie intake slightly what a HUGE HUGE difference. You're right though one or two bottles aren't really enough. I have to look for a diffenent system. Interesting to note that upon improving my hydration including electrolytes not only has my athletic performance improved but my memory and academic performance increased also. A month prior to purchasing and using the hydration belt I was constantly getting writers block and generally having a hard time staying focused in class. My advice to anyone running over 10k, incorporate some type of hydration system, you will definately see and feel a difference. Great Post!

Rice said...

great analogy with the frame. But yes it is great how the frame can build onto its self as we go..