Sunday, October 2, 2011

What happens when your rituals fail.

Saturday I "ran" yet another half marathon. This one, NYRR's Grete's Great Gallop, was two and half laps around Central Park. My goal was to continue the experiment on pacing that I started in last week's half marathon.

For those from not around these parts, Central Park is relatively hilly. While there are parts that are flat, sometimes it seems those parts are few and far between. I had to alter my pacing schedule since I didn't want to spend the running time uphill and the walking time downhill so I introduced more flexibility to the mix. The day was humid (the race site says 93% at the start) but that seems to be the norm these days. The experiment wound up being successful by cutting a few minutes off of last week's time even with the hills. I finished this half in 2:56:32.

It is hard to get excited about this time. Yes, I know that I'm slow but I'm not that slow. Yes, I know I'm gimpy (and I'm sure be feeling this tomorrow) but can't be that gimpy. The biggest issue was my pre-race ritual got messed up, specifically my pre-race constitutional that, in addition to dropping a pound or two it sets up my abdomen for racing. Not that I didn't try, but nothing was happening. Of course a few miles into the race it felt like a turtle was poking his head of his shell. This wasn't good.

Another thing that contributed to this negativity was getting lapped. Each loop in Central Park is about 6 miles. The wheel chair competitors (who fly down the hills) left a few minutes before the "elites." I started in the back but with almost 5000 runners in the half, it took a while to get to the starting line. The wheelchair guys passed me at about the 3 mile mark and the elites a short time later. Each time someone passed me, especially when I was walking, I cursed under my breath. People near me may have thought I had Tourette's or something but I podded along.

At the end of the race while I was getting my stuff from the bag check, my body tried to make up for missing it's ritual. I had to go EXACTLY then. After a short sprint to the porta-potties (probably the fastest I ran all day), I took care of business. Or so I thought.

But nooooo, I had to spend most of Saturday afternoon sprinting for bathrooms. Each time it smelt like something crawled up inside me and died. Flaming asshole disease started just in time for my ride Sunday morning.

I had 95 miles scheduled on the bike. I started late since it was raining.It stopped raining so I figured I'd give it a shot. The more I was on the bike the more it hurt. I took some breaks along the way. Then it started to rain. I finished up with just under 82 miles and called it a day. Short of my goal but I'll take it.

I'm blaming my gastro issues on a sauce I had with pasta on Friday night. For the next few weeks I will be practicing both race day nutrition and pre-race nutrition almost religiously. I don't think I need to practice post race nutrition and celebration though. That is a ritual that will hopefully take care of itself.


Jim ... 50after40 said...

Ah, I feel ya bro! I've had a couple of race where the same thing happened and it was miserable. That's my morning "ritual" every morning when I run. On the days that it doesn't happen, it literally ruins my run.

TriMOEngr said...

Great finish with those hills even if not ideal conditions. Bummer about the gastro issues - turtles are the worst and sprinting for any kind of potty is awful. I'm totally impressed with the long bike following that. Ouch! Best wishes for improved intestinal fortitude in the coming weeks.

Patrick Mahoney said...

A poking turtle is never good.

Kathleen said...

None of that sounded like fun but I can relate! Hope things get better for you in the weeks ahead.

Kate Geisen said...

That's an atrocious feeling. My past two races have marked the first time in a year that my digestive system hasn't been at war with me during a longer race. Running has given me a lot, but it's sure taken a lot of the fun out of pre-race eating. Hopefully you take less time getting nutrition worked out than I have.

Teamarcia said...

Oh geez. Sounds like quite the domino effect. Rituals are key. Some are deal breakers.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

That sucks, at least you did it

Carolina John said...

82 miles is still a good training ride. I bailed after 50 saturday to go to a football game.

Don't sweat your run times too much either. With IMFL being a 2 loop out and back there will be people out there for hours and hours. If it's disheartening now it will really get you down then, and nobody wants that.

Heidi Austin, PT, DPT said...

booo... i hate those days... happens to all of us at some point :( can't wait to maybe meet you at IMFL! But watch out cuz i might be a draft marshall lol