Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Amazing Race - Part II: Lessons Learned!

Now that the race has really sunk in and I've a lot of time to think about Sulphur Springs, there are a few things I definitely need to work on and items that I think worked in my favour.


I've been adding more miles to my training and that seems to have brought on a constant state of hunger. O.K., it's not quite that bad but I'm hungry a lot. I can go from "gee, I'm a bit peckish" to "get out of my way I need to get the fridge" in about 60 seconds flat. This need for food was certainly evident on race day too. Jeff had made us oatmeal and I ate it in the car on the way to the race. I figured that would get me through my 25K and if I absolutely needed to, I'd stop at an aid station. I'm think I was at around the 15K mark when I was absolutely famished. All I had on me was a bag of  Stinger Chews and the hope of some good food at the aid station, which was not part of my overall race strategy.

So now that I'll be adding longer runs when I can, I'll have to start playing around with fuelling options too. I also have to get my stomach used to eating while I'm running or walking (O.K., hopefully running). Sugar seems to wreck havoc on my stomach so I'm going to have to do some research and see what works for others minus the Coke, cookies, candy, and gels. I'm also going to try consuming protein shakes during my runs (see below) so I'm getting what my body really needs and not what will satisfy it for 20 mins at a time.


Ah yes. The continuing story of a girl who can't seem to remember to drink during a race.  Honestly, I'm thinking of writing it down on my lower arm in permanent ink so I'll remember. I'm up for other suggestions though!


Generally, the great thing about going up a hill is that there is a down hill on the other side. I tried to make my downhills fun. I'm sure people thought I had lost it when I pretended I was an airplane whooshing down a hill but let's face it, some of those uphill climbs were nasty and enjoying the downhills helped to make it worthwhile!

That being said though I need hill training. Serious hill training. I know for ultra distances of 50K or more, it is suggested to runners that they walk the hills. But even walking some of those hills repeatedly needs some training. I'd like to get to a point where I can slowly jog up some larger hills at the beginning of races. Well, one can only dream anyway.

And now for what I believe worked.


Cath and I had done a training run at the course about three weeks previously and I really believe that had a lot to do with how well I ran. Even though I had run the same race last year, having the route feel familiar really helped me. I've stated before that I like running loops of a race course before an event and I am even more certain of the advantages now.  Maybe it's just because there's one less thing to think about or you know where the more difficult stages are and can mentally prepare but it works for me, that's for sure.

The night before the race, I could honestly visualize myself running the course and going from aid station to aid station. I hadn't taken the time to do that before and it just added some security to my mental state!


For all the notes I made above about not eating enough food, I have to admit that I consider myself a pretty good eater. Before this race, I hadn't had a beer or a glass of wine for about a month. Perhaps longer than that. I had barely consumed any sugar and ate a TON of fresh, raw veggies. I was actually averaging about 4 bunches of carrots a week, 2 bunches of celery, and 4 red peppers. As soon as I got those veggies home, they were washed and cut up and put in the fridge. Now on top of all this, I've been following Isagenix since September. Before the race, I had increased my consumption of protein shakes and was taking a daily cleanse solution at night before bed. The skeptics out there can "guffaw" all they want, but I shaved 31 mins off my time from last year and my two major changes for this race, from the year before, were the Isagenix usage and the reduction of sugar in my diet.

I'm really starting to understand the importance of nutrition now and quality nutrition for that matter. I'm becoming much more adept at reading labels and making choices about what is going into my body before a run and more importantly, after a run to aid recovery and healing. Nutritional training will be as important as physical training for my goals this year!

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