On Saturday I completed the Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon. I had been so amped leading up to this race.
After the Carolina Donut Festival Half Marathon I just KNEW this race would be another PR for me! That of course was until the weekend before this race. I set out for a long run and seriously struggled to move. I wasn't quite sure what was happening but guessed I was just having an off day.
After this past weekend I think I am having an off month...
I started the Whole 30 challenge on May 20th (with about a week before hand beginning some elimination of things from my diet) and Saturday was my seventh day.
If you have ready anything about the Whole 30 you will see this disclaimer regarding the sixth and seventh day:
"Days 6-7: I just want a nap…
Okay, so its day 6 and you made it through the last phase without smiting anyone. The thing is, today you don’t feel like you could smite anyone if your life depended on it! It’s 10 am and all you can think about is crawling under your desk for a catnap. As the day drags on, the surface of your desk is morphing, from hard wooden surface to snuggly warm pillow, right before your eyes. You hit the gym, but only halfheartedly, unable to face the barbell with any kind of conviction. You crawl into bed at 8 p.m. only to drag yourself out eleven hours later feeling no more rested than you did the night before.
So what’s the deal?! Isn’t eating like this supposed to increase energy levels? Yes…in the long run. Right now, your body is learning that it can’t rely on all those easy access energy sources it used to know and love. Gone are the days of cinnamon crunch muffins and Frappuccinos. Now your body is learning to efficiently burn fat and protein as its fuel sources, and that takes more effort – and some time. If you can hold out just a bit longer, you’ll definitely reap the benefits. (Besides, you could probably use a day off from the gym anyway, right?)" ~ Whole 30 Timeline
I naturally did not carb load the night before, nor did I take along with me the Cliff Shots and Nuun that I typically carry. That said I still felt pretty good the morning of the race. I did bring my water with some elete Electrolytes and I had goji berries and salt packs in case I needed them.
The race starts at 6:01am and we had to pick up our race packets by 5:45am. They encouraged runners to be there by 5:00am. That required us to leave town at 4:00am to make the 45 minute drive and that required a 3:30am at the latest wake up call! I got up, got dressed, had a cup of coffee and was out the door!
Kathleen and I drove up together and met Kim and her husband when we got there. I also ran in to several other friends there too!
The packet was our bib, a sticker and the shirt. I am struggling with shirt sizes right now! Normally I get a small but lately the race shirts have been sooooo small so I have gotten Medium. This one is soooo big I wish I had gotten a small. It's like a night gown! We asked if we could exchange and they said after the race. After the race however we couldn't find anyone to exchange them.
We took our stuff to the car and lined up at the start.
I took off too fast and ran my first mile at 8:49!
The second mile I was still feeling pretty good and ran it at 9:28.
At mile three I started not feeling so great and I started having leg cramps. At some point between miles three and four there is a pretty big hill and I slowed down quite a bit and began walking.
At around the four mile mark I thought about stopping but I decided to press on. It was super humid. The weather data says it was 73 degrees with 81% humidity. Super muggy!!
Even with the mostly downhill elevation of this race I could not get going. The leg cramps became severe, rolling up not only my calves but also through my front left quad! I don't think that has happened to me before! I decided that even if I had to walk the rest of the course I was going to finish! I walked a lot, I ran some. I decided I would just enjoy the beautiful scenery and appreciate the ability to be out in this beautiful place!
There were aid stations every two miles which was great! Each time I stopped and filled up my water bottle. I drank SO MUCH WATER on this run! Way more than normal!
At about mile 9, still on the struggle bus thinking I needed to pull out a feather suddenly appeared in my path and stopped me in my tracks!
"When a feather appears an angel is near"
I felt like I could push on.
Even though I was walking a lot I had trouble catching my breath miles 10 - 13. I felt like I was breathing through a straw!
As I was walking a lady came by and said "you're doing great!" I had to do a double take, she reminded me so much of a young version of my Nana Mayer and her voice sounded so much like her too!
Shortly after that , still struggling, I saw another feather and just a moment later a woman ran by and said "Remember we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us".
I was feeling so bad, by now my stomach was bothering me, my breathing was still and issue and my leg cramps made me want to cry! Regardless I would finish! No matter how bad I felt!
I managed to make it to the finish STRUGGLING!
My legs were so cramped up so I just kept walking around a bit.
I finally grabbed some more water, fruit and sat down for a bit.
We then peeled ourselves off the pavement and walked across the street to catch the bus back to our car. The race is a point to point with shuttle service! Next time we may split park though. It's not a ton of fun to ride on a school bus 13 miles with a ton of sweaty stinky runners back to the start when you are not feeling well.
I think that a combination of being early into the Whole 30 with my body is transitioning out of using sugars and carbs as fuel and instead learning how to become fat adapted using fat as fuel and the heat and humidity where the main culprits to my very off day, my horrible cramping and breathing issues!
Needless to say I did not PR this race but even still I really enjoyed the course!
I don't think I will run this race again, I don't love downhill running (my quads still hurt) nor do I love racing in the heat and humidity but I totally recommend it!
I have since decided that I need to take a break. I have been training for big races since last summer! I trained for Detroit and then went straight into to training for my marathon and I have not stopped since! This is sooooooo super hard for me to do! Last year I ran twelve races over the year and I love having a race on the calendar to keep me motivated so having a plan is kind of my thing! I am also signed up for a 6 Hour Race next weekend but I know that I am just not able to pull anymore out of my tank right now. I am spent. I am in need of some rest! I need to fill back up my tank and re-charge. I of course will keep running but I am going to scale way back on miles and take the summer off races!
I am registered for a 40K race in October so I will work on coming back through the fall! We will see!
When our bodies try to tell us something we need to listen and I feel like my body is telling me it needs a minute to rest and recover without being pushed to do the next thing.
Here is to a summer of fun and relaxing as I look forward to the fall!