Friday, September 26, 2008

Checking In

Still here....

Taz-enjoying one of his favorite activities...EATING!!! (Sleeping is his second).

My life is actually the most balanced it's been in a long time. Weird, huh? Who ever thought marathon training would be so "easy"? No, but really, although it's been wonderful to focus on my passion for running, I really miss biking and swimming. I've still been swimming and biking 1-2x/week but the main focus is for cross-training. I actually love biking and swimming for the purpose of cross-training; it's much more enjoyable when the pressure is off. It's all about the run right now (4x/week and weights 2x/week). Plus, I'm getting faster just by doing it more. Miraculous!

Last Thursday was our club's final Aquathlon of the season (sniff). I had a blast. I felt very confident in the water and had one of my fastest swim's ever (15:17 for 1,000 m). It's amazing what a favorable current, catching the draft, and a wetsuit will do! Plus, I swim so much harder on those things than I ever do in my Master's sprint sets. As always, the swim of TCSD's Aquathlon was rougher than my Ironman swim. One guy didn't just bump into my foot as I passed but actually grabbed me by the ankle and pulled me backwards. I know who you are, even with your goggles and wetsuit, mister! And, I know where you live! I can't believe how aggressive everyone gets! Two other times, someone came and sideswiped me, knocking me off the swimmer in front of me and stealing my draft. I'm going have to up the ante a little on these swims. No more missus nice girl! Afterwards, we all joke, eat, and pat each other on the back even though we just pummeled each other in the surf.

I allowed myself to catch my breath and settle into a nice rhythm during the first 1/2 mile of the 3 mile beach run following the swim. I felt gooood. I decided to see how hard I could push it. I ran faster and faster and faster each lap. I tried to no avail to catch Brent, just a hair in front of me, although I was gaining on him at each turn-around. He crossed the finish a few seconds before me. If only I'd had 100 more yards! Someone has gotten really fast on his swim!
Brent--beating me out of the water by over a minute.

me--trying to catch him on the run. Soooo close! Oh, well. At least my running form is spot on! Toe runner, anyone?

Celebrity sighting--Jessie Stensland--at the Aquathlon
Go Jessie! http://www.gojessi.com/site4.aspx

I was still really happy with my run. I felt calm and in control. I was able to recover from the swim very quickly and negative split each lap. Fantastic speed workout! Overall, I finished in ~38 minutes, about 15 for the swim and 23 for the run, putting me at about 7:30 min/miles (similar to my 5K pace). I'll take it!

On Saturday, Brent and I slapped on our FuelBelts and took off for our 20 mile run. This was to be my final long run before the marathon. Unfortunately, my stomach had acted up pretty violently the night before, requiring 3 Immodium before I could go back to sleep. I suffer from IBS and sometimes, I am a prisoner to my stomach. I was in pretty bad shape Sat. am. I popped 1 more Immodium and some Tums. My stomach was still bothering me. I had a hard time getting breakfast down; I simply couldn't get the calories in. I was starting off in a hole--tired, dehydrated and calorie-depleted. Oh, and did I mention my stomach was still bothering me? I came this close (index finger and thumb almost touching) to bailing before we even left the house.

We set off. Instantly, I was in pain. My stomach lurched with each stride. I wouldn't allow myself to think about 20 miles. I couldn't fathom it. I decided to give it a few miles to see if my stomach would settle. It didn't. Plus, I was sluggish and tired. I slowed my pace. At mile 3, I almost quit. I came so close. But 3 miles seemed a long way to walk back. Ridiculous thought, actually, because 10 miles back is even longer. But I kept going. For some reason, I kept going. At some point, my stomach downgraded from a stabbing, level 8 to a persist ant but duller level 5. I could tolerate it. I was forcing down the liquid and calories too, much to my stomach's dismay. However, after 30 seconds, the nutrients actually seemed to placate the beast. Around mile 6 I felt as good as I was going to feel...numb.

At mile 10, we turned around. At first, I was jubilant because we were headed back. Then, I became worried. We still had a long way to go. And I was tired. So tired. But my stomach had fallen silent. At mile 16, my stomach woke up from it's nap and started back with a vengeance. It was a level 7, stabbing combined with nausea. This time, it was harder to tolerate. I was so tired. But there was only one way back to the car. I focused on keeping my legs moving. I put my head down and ran at a blazing 11 min/mile.

Somehow, we made it back. It was over. I had done it. I've never had a run go so badly for so long. Normally, I enjoy much more of my runs. This time had been different. The entire 20 miles had been agonizing. Each footstep had brought pain. I figured that if I could run for 20 miles while suffering like that, race day will be cake. At least I hope so...

My short runs this week have been wonderful. My stomach has calmed down, and I recovered very quickly from my 20-miler (thanks to my ice bath, massage, and stretching). I ran a 5 mile tempo on Tuesday that was nothing short of orgasmic. Wednesday was a hard track workout (800, 1200, 800, 1200, 800) but I gutted through it. I can't wait for my trail run today! I have a 16-miler this weekend in Sacramento (I'm visiting my sister--yippee!), and then I will be in official taper mode. Only 3 weeks until race day. Ack! I feel oddly refreshed and excited, not at all what I'm used to when beginning a taper (compared to the completely overtrained, dead Ironman training). Is there something wrong? Am I really fit enough for this?

--finishing the half-marathon at Heartbreak Ridge 2 weeks ago

14 comments:

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

Orgasmic tempo running...you gotta like that!

Sorry to hear about the stomach issues. I guess the bright side is that you managed to finish in spite of it. That's quite an accomplishment.

I found that when I switched over from triathlons to distance running, I enjoyed swimming and cycling a lot more. Instead of feeling under the gun to get all of the different workouts in, I was able to just relax and enjoy swimming and riding without calculating everything out.

Enjoy the trail run. It sounds like a ton of fun.

Sara said...

IBS blows - I thankfully just finished an almost week long lack of action. Can we say painful bloating?!

But wow, I'm always amazing at your tenacity and determination. I wouldn't have gone on the run, and then I would've turned around. But you never quit, it is truly inspiring!!

bunnygirl said...

Good job on the run, in spite of the GI issues. Nice to see a picture of Taz! The bunny pics have been in short supply lately.

Kate said...

15:17!! That's fantastic! Catching up on everything else now :)

Diana said...

I could relate to each little detail. Having that damn IBS sucks! Amazing you could continue the entire run! :-)
I made my first 15k the other day, only a few more to add and then I can start looking into doing my first half-marathon! :-)

triguyjt said...

wow.its amazing all you do while dealing with the stomach issues......

Cliff said...

Rachel,

I am doing a marathon in 3 weeks and my concern is not my leg but my stomach. Like you, when the stomach act up, everything shuts down....

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

I'm envious of your ability to do aquathon's where you live. That would ROCK. Not so popular out here in the desert though. :-(

Sherry said...

Your rabbit is too cute!

I'm really excited for you. Three weeks is really right around the corner. This year has flown by... seems like just yesterday we all waited in anticipation of your IMAZ race report.

Also... check out my most recent blog post when you get a chance. :o)

Karen said...

amazing that you were able to run 20 miles with such stomach issues. I'm impressed. Good job!
Marathon will be a piece of cake..

Steve Stenzel said...

Nice run with those problems!

And congrats on the Aquathlon! I really want to do one of those someday!

Tri-ing with Twins said...

Great job on that swim time! And 20 miles with IBS acting up???!!! You are a rock. I suffer from the same and the thought of 20 miles during an attack??? Well..... I think not!

Way to go on pushing through!

Jay said...

I need to start doing those aquathons. That is going to be one of my priorities next year. I read a lot tri-club blogs and they all say they love them. Good luck with your upcoming races!

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