Monday, May 27, 2013

Ottawa Race Weekend Half Marathon Recap: the time I lost my fuel flask

It's Monday morning and I'm feeling pretty good, quads and foot a bit sore but certainly not doing the "marathon walk," I feel for those that ran the full yesterday.

Saturday night Ryan and I went to the movies, my plan was to keep my mind off the race and relax.  We watched 'Fast and the Furious 6" I still can't tell who has a thicker neck Vin or the Rock? lol.  We even had our nuun and pretzels, my pre race ritual, while watching the movie.

Sunday morning I was up before my alarm, eager and ready to go.  I was dressed, packed and ready really early.  I had filled up all my bottles, carefully double checked and triple checked my supplies. (this is important!).

Ryan and I headed to the race with our friend Jenn who was also running the half.  The weather was better then I thought it would be, not to cold and not to windy yet.  We parted ways and I headed to my corral.  The corral was PACKED..not even at Disney was it this packed.  I had no elbow room.  The good thing was that it created a blanket of people to keep me warm, since I had ditched my throw away long sleeve.  I had about 15 min to wait...nerves running high...and then.....GO!

Only my garmin didn't start properly, I crossed the start line and it hadn't picked up satellite (Garmin Forerunner 210 is really giving me grief!)  It felt like I fiddled with it in panic for the first 5 was actually only a minute give or take.  But it was enough to lose an accurate capture of what my time was, enough so that coming into the finish line I had no idea if I was a seconds off or minutes off my time. (insert major grrr).

My plan for this race was to REFRAIN, SUSTAIN, and HERE COMES THE TRAIN!  I had a plan for pace for the first 3 miles, 7 miles, and last 3 miles.

The actual theme for the race was more like this:


Just like the Manotick Road Race I started off too fast, I was running my sustain pace in the refrain portion.  I was nervous and put off by my garmin troubles.   But I felt great so I thought just go with it you'll be fine.  At the 4 mile point I reached for my Gel Flask for my first of two fuels and it was gone! I LOST MY FUEL FLASK!  I was in did that happen.  (sadly I had packed two extra gels in my bag in the CAR, I should have had them in my belt).  I panicked, I did, and then I calmed down. I told myself you can run 16km without fuel no problem.  You can do this!  You have lots of flub Katie, it better break down and fuel you! (too bad I was going to fast for fatty acid oxidation lol).  Time to see how hard you trained and go for it! Give it what you have. 

I was doing ok with maintaining my sustain pace. I hit the 10km split at 52:04.  But by 12km I was losing speed, I was still anxious and worried about the fuel.  The second half of the race I struggled mentally and then physically I hit an energy wall.  My legs were heavy and I didn't feel like I had ummph to turn my legs over at the pace I wanted.  It was a push to keep my 'slower' pace.  The last push home, the last 3 miles where I was supposed to be A TRAIN...felt much more like a broken down old car.  I saw the 750 meters sign and tried to sprint...thinking of all my sprint training...and my legs would not turn over...I was struggling.  

This is where I get mad at hurt.  I didn't push past the hurt.  In my mind I had resigned to not meeting my sub 1:50 goal...I thought I was a couple minutes off it (garmin trouble remember) if I had known I had 37 sec! I would have pushed.  I know me...I would have given it my all.  Full disclosure here...I gave up!  I was running hard, and hurting...but I wasn't giving it every last inch because I thought I failed.  

This isn't a new thing, this is the mindset that holds me back and where I self sabotage myself.  Regardless of Garmin troubles and Fuel issues I let myself give up.  I crossed the finish line and instead of being happy that I just ran my fastest half marathon ever! and PR'd I was defeated and sad.  I felt flat.  
I sat on the grass, shivering and shaking in my foil blanket, just flat.  Thankfully, I have amazing support and my friends online told me to shake it off and be proud.  Even though I was still beating myself up they cheered me up.  

Official Sports Stats time 1:50:36! 

37 stinking seconds away from sub 1:50! Later I realized my garmin had me at 1:49:44 for 13.19 miles...thanks to zig zagging I had hit 13.1 before the finish line so technically I did get it.  Yes this makes me feel better, sad to say it's the way I am hard wired.  Now to get a sub 1:50 on the all mighty Sports Stats! WINK :) 

I waited on the grass for Jenn and Ryan, shivering and cramping up.  I took a picture of the crazy muscle cramps in my calfs.  Yep I'm a doorknob :) But yeah they are kind of bad cool? no?

I saw Jenn come in and she rocked it pushing hard right to the end, she told me Ryan had hurt his knee.  I forgot all about my own silly troubles and focused on waiting for him.  Poor guy's knee went out 12km in and had to walk/run the rest.  I'm so proud of him for finishing and not giving up. Funny how we are more proud of those moments then we are off sailing into a great finish.  

I love this guy so much :) 
After fighting stairs and locked doors and crazy traffic we finally made it to the BIG RIG to meet our friends Rob and Laura. KUDOS to them for entertaining their kids for an hour waiting for us and having beer ready.  Laura is the bestest friend you can have after a race, she always has beer waiting for me :)  Jenn, Darryl, Laura, Rob, Ryan and I celebrated the morning with good food and cheers.  Right then it was all worth it. My favourite part of the race is the celebration with your friends after.  

I've had the night to digest the day's race.  This morning I saw a friend's picture on Facebook of her at the finish line getting her medal, with a huge smile and look of pride on her face.  It struck me then how silly I am.  That's how I should have felt.  I'm ridiculously hard on myself.  It's the way I'm built, I don't think I can change it.  It's also why I push hard and keep on pushing to try harder next time.  But I am learning after my initial "woes" to let it go, be proud and carry on.  

I am so lucky to be able to do what I love, to be physically able, uninjured, and have the support that I do.  Number one being my amazing husband and friends. 

So today I set up the Run Less Run Faster app on my phone for:

YEAH BABY! July 1st, first official day of training for the Toronto Marathon!  The second part of this year's plan.  YAHOOOO!!!!! 


  1. As I said in my recap today, every race is different, and we learn from that. Not having fuel, having to push, that is tough. Bonking is a mental AND physical reaction, and you pushed through that to finish, even though you did feel like you didn't push the way you wanted. WOOT! Here's the thing: 1/2 marathons are HARD. 2. Not everyone can do them. 3. You did a sub 2 hour with NO FUEL.

    You are one fit mama, and I am super proud of you. Glad you had a chance to reflect, see positive things, and learn about yourself too. I was looking for you as I waited fur my hubs to run past, and I must've missed you when I looked away to deal with the kids. I wanted to scream and jump to point towards the finish line, and say "That's my friend KATIE! She is amazing!" So I'll do it now. :) *FLAIL*

    I hope your hubs recovers quickly, and it was great to see you for the brief moment in the parking garage, even though you both looked frazzled. :)

  2. First time stopping by your blog... amazing recap. :)