Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Nike Women's Half - DC

After a loooooong weekend, I can finally sit and type this out.
my name on a wall!

For starters, I had high expectations for what Nike would do since the registration price for this race was about $170.. holy moly. But thankfully mine was paid for by UIC. I expected really good gear, expo freebies, you name it.

scale of 1-10... like a 7.
It wasn't crappy, but I love Chicago Half, Rock N Roll expos since they have a bunch of vendors and they host the expo in a big place. It was crowded at the Nike expo. Good stuff but it was a small place to have it. The only freebies that were offered were Nike bracelets if you showed them your Nike+ app on your phone, Luna bar bites.. 10 min Paul Mitchell something (not sure if it was like a makeover or what.. didn't bother to look, oops), Nuun samples.. and the packet pick up. In order to buy race gear, you would have to walk about half a mile away from the expo, to the Nike store and purchase it there. They had only limited stuff available.. and said there would be more finishers gear at the end of the race. I found this a little inconvenient. I know they did this to not only make more profit but also to keep us surprised. What if I had a flight right after the race and couldn't afford to finish the race and wait in line to just SEE what other finishers gear they offered. and yes, there was a very very long line after the race, JUST to get into the Finishers Boutique.

Getting to the race was a piece of cake, we only had to take one train and walk less than 2 blocks. Their gear check was super fast with no lines and everything seemed very well organized. My expectations for my time were very low, since I was still coming back from minor injuries. This was def a tough race to finish.. because of course my knee and foot problem resurfaced and all I could think about was getting to the finish line and icing my damn knee. But anyway, the course was awesome. It was awesome running towards the Capitol.. the only monument I actually saw/recognized haha.. maybe I was too zoned out and in pain to notice the others. I was actually REALLY thirsty the entire time. I felt really bloated with water, but I couldn't satisfy my thirst. Maybe because I'm not use to running anymore.. (more than 3+mi since February).. or running in 60 degree weather, it sucked. During the race they had Nuun, water and FREE SHOTBLOKS! awesome, because I had devoured mine haha. yummy.

Noticing my split times, I was all over the place.. starting out too fast, slowing down too much.. walk breaks all the time. I don't regret the walk breaks tho. My knee hurts today but not as bad as after the marathon. I was able to limp/run/cry through the finishing chute at 1:53. Not my slowest time, so I'm not complaining. I really got emotional as I neared the finish line... Nike decided it was very convenient/inspirational to put runner "reasons" why you run. Right around the time I was running past them and reading for "Me", "My Family", "To feel empowered", "To Prove Them Wrong" I got a text from JV back home... telling me to keep pushing. I couldn't hold it in and just lost it. I was in tears. Coming back from injuries can do that to you. They have made me somewhat weak, but they have also made me stronger. I took a small walking break to take deep breaths. Thank God I was wearing sunglasses, because I probably looked like a hot mess. I was able to finish and recieve my really cute Tiffany necklace and awesome finishers T-shirt.

They had the usual snacks, bagels, fruit cups, water, Luna bars, bananas. Still have to figure out why my stomach has issues with eating after a race.. usually I feel super bloated and just uncomfortable. but anyways. This was def worth $170 (necklace, awesome course, t-shirt..) if you're into cute jewelry and a trip to the Capitol.

Before and after the race I accidentally ran into the great Joan Benoit and Shalane Flanagan. I was too shy to ask for a picture.. lol oops. So I just took one from afar. I'm not sure if they get annoyed, but all I needed after crossing the line was some water and an ice bag haha.

Added Bonus

VIP Concert: So.. a week or so before the race I received an invitation to the Ellie Goulding concert sponsored by Nike!! .. if you haven't heard of her she runs. and she also sings.. and is sponsored by Nike. I happen to like her music. So when I got this email I screamed!! Ahh FREE concert! the night before the race. Man oh man.. I got lucky. Only some runners got invited.. and I still don't know why or how they chose them but I'm so glad I got to attend.. free snacks and beverages were served. YEEE! This def helped us get pumped for the race. I wonder if they will do this with other famous artist and or people?

This was also the first time I got to come to DC.. and I got a chance to tour around DC the day before the race. The only thing that kind of caught me off guard was how expensive it is to take public transportation.. uhm.. should've rented a bike lol

Overall, this was an awesome race. Would def do it again.. if UIC were to pay for it again lol
I had no time goal.. except to try to squeeze in under 2 hours.. and keep my pain relatively tolerable, by taking walking breaks. I got to run in a new place.. and really enjoy the ability to run (..uhm.. limp?) I am enjoying this time off from racing.. I feel like I was given this time to reflect. I have not lost speed.. but I am def 100x (more) sore than I usually am after a half marathon. Maybe because I was only averaging about 5-8miles a week, in the weeks leading up to the race.. or because I haven't been running more than 3miles at a time.. but def worth the pain for the awesome experience.

I am opting out of the Cinco de Miler next weekend.

Next Race: YMCA Leaning Tower Sprint Tri

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Nike Women's Half Marathon: Goals

The DC Nike Women's Half is this weekend.. AHHH!!!!!

Am I ready? hahahahaha.  no.

Will I wimp out? Nope.

As it turns out.. I'm not ready to race quite yet. I've been able to get some really really short runs in during the week. I registered for the Leaning Tower YMCA Sprint Tri along with Christina! So this was able to take my mind of running and focus my energy on my swimming technique and biking. My knees took a beating after the marathon, so this left me with no choice. I'm gonna run the half ... but not race it. I will try the walk/run method.. depending on how I feel.

I am expecting no miracle. Because really, I just want to finish. It will be like last June all over again. Lining up at my first half... about to face the unknown. I really really want to finish. I WILL walk to the finish line if that's what it takes. Plus, they have a really cute Tiffany necklace waiting at the finish line ;)

This will be a girl's getaway trip right before finals, so all I want is to enjoy and take a tour around DC.

Expected Finish Time? uhm... I don't know. Maybe I'll get lucky and score a sub 2? :-)

I have to admit, I am a little sad that this will break my Half-PRing-Streak. But God does things for a reason.. I have to learn the hard way... I will not always PR. I will not always RACE. I will not always have a good time.. but I will try :)

Gosh... I miss my speedier/workable legs..

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easing back in...

6 weeks off from running was both hell and heaven. I started doing things I should've been doing while training for the marathon
-I swim more! and by more.. I mean more than once a week haha
-With the weather being nicer now, I started commuting on my bike to school/work
-I foam roll more often :-)
-I am upping my protein intake! I am horrible at eating anything protein-wise... why can't cereal have like 15g a protein.. I can eat a box a day. I'm not kidding.

Week of March 18-22: Full Recovery week

Mon-Friday: Rest
Saturday: 3.5mi bike ride, 300yd short swim & Stretching

Total Running: 0
Bike: 3.5mi
Swim: 300yds
Strength: 0

Week of March 25-29: Re-adjusting
Mon: Swim 500
Tues: Swim 800
Weds: Run 0.5mi Bike 4.45mi
Thurs: Swim 1000
Fri: Rest
Sat: Bike 8mi
Sun: Rest

Running: 0.5mi
Swim: 2300yds
Bike: 12.45
Strength: 0

This will be week 7 since I haven't had a decent run. For now, I'm not complaining about anything.. instead I'm liking my new "training/recovery"schedule I've been working on, which will mostly involved swimming, biking, strength and stretching.. sounds more of a tri training plan huh? ;-)
At the end of the month is the Nike Womens half in DC.. and I'm actually not stressing over it. As of now, it's chill mode.. haha.

Nutrition: Since the marathon, I've been tracking what I've been eating in order to make sure I get in all my nutrients hehe. And I cannot manage to eat enough protein. :( but I have noticed I bounced back to my pre-marathon (more like pre-injury) weight! HURRAY! not that it matters too much.. atleast I am not feeling pressured to jump into running yet. I feel goooood, with or without running, as long as I'm doing SOMETHING.

April will be a good month :-)

(...and if it's not, oh well.. I'm 20 yrs old.. I'm too young to be stressing over the little things in life haha)