Monday, April 30, 2012

I did it - my new Half Marathon PR - sub 2:30!

It was my American River Parkway half-marathon last Saturday - the 2nd official one of my life. I was so excited about it since Shavi was going to pace me. I wanted to do it in less than 2:30 hours, which meant a pace of 11ish. I had been training for the last 3 months at 12:30 pace but I was least worried with Shavi pacing me. I had been hydrating myself very well since the last week to avoid cramps; resting myself well; loading myself with carbs 2 days before; keeping it light the day before and tried to have a good sleep as well.

The race day was supposed to be very warm - high in late 70's and low in mid 60's. And believe me, it was hot!! I could feel it, especially in the last 2 miles when there was no tree-shade. Since I was running at a faster pace than my normal pace, I could hardly talk, indicating that I was indeed running at a faster pace.

I am thankful that Shavi paced me. It gets so much easier when someone else is doing the pace calculations for you and watching the garmin gps for you, carrying the water for you and even stopping at the aid stations to get you water. I had the mp3 player but I hardly used it. One thing that really helped was when Shavi poured cold water over me. It was such a relief in the sun even. I was resisting to water earlier but after Shavi did, it felt sooo good! I did not take any restroom breaks, took a few 1-min walk breaks when I felt super-tired.

I was very happy on completing the 13.1+ miles in 2:26 hours, which was an improvement of 15 minutes from my last half-marathon time. Unlike the last time, my shins did not hurt, only the calves were tight. In fact, I felt so good after the run that the next day we went on a strenuous trail of 3 miles in Muir Woods, San Francisco. At the end, I would say that training, hydrating and massages helped me achieve my new PR (Personal Record). And hopefully this does not stop here....

For this run, I cannot thank Shavinder enough!:)

Here is the Garmin graph for my run: Garmin

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Anu - the new runner

Here comes another runner in the family! Anu's first long-distance official race: 10-miler on April 29, 2012 (Sunday) in Virginia, called Parkway Classic. It is a rain or shine run but Anu really wishes that it should not rain. She has done a 10K before. After having signed up for a 10 miler instead of 10K accidently and knowing about it only a month ago, Anu had to go through a training program designed by Shavi. She did well on the training schedule. Since the course would have some elevation trails, lets see how it goes for her.

Next would be my second half-marathon, American River Parkway half on April 29, 2012 (Saturday). I have been training with Sacfit since January 2012. I really want to do under 2:30 hours. My last one was 2:41 hours. Shavi is going to be pacing me so that I can do my PR. I am very excited about running with him since I hardly get to do that. It is like a teacher guiding you. He will have to run much slower for me. Thanks Shavi! Hope it doesnt get hot that day though I know it will:( Even then, I am super excited!!!

Quick checklist for Anu:
- Hydrate well (very well) few days before and during the race to avoid after-run cramps.
- "Gu" after every 45 minutes and at the start as well to energize your muscles and prevent them from cramping.
- High carb diet (like chicken or turkey, pasta, potatoes) 2 days before the race and light dinner the night before (little or no fats).
- Sleep well 2 nights before the race since sleeping well the night before can hardly happen because of waking early and due to anxiety.
- Wear sun-shade and sun-screen. Have sun glasses ready.
- Do not forget the mp3 player, if allowed.
- Eat well after the race after stretching.
- If you get injured, apply ice packs after the race. Take ice bath for at least 5 minutes after the race to avoid cramps.
- Trim your Toenails 3-4 days before the race so that they don't hurt on the race day.
- Last but not the least, when you feel tired or not wanting to run anymore, remember Shavi who ran 50 miles. Keep your will power up!:)

Good luck, Anu!!! I am sure you will do great:)

Update (post race): Anu did great. She finished strong, running the 10 miles in 1:54 hours. Good job, Anu!!

Link to her Garmin graph: Garmin

Monday, April 9, 2012

Shavi's craziest endeavor - the 50-miler endurance run (AR50: American River 50-miles)

Finally the day arrived and it was such a proud moment for both of us! Shavi finished the 50-mile run in high elevations in 10:33 hours. Even though "they" say that sleeping well 2 days prior to the race is very important, none of us could sleep properly due to anxiety. We were both up at 2:45am that day for all preparations. I had 4 bags and ice chest ready for him since I had to meet him at most of the accesible points during his run (0 miles at Start point, 3 miles at Guy West bridge, 8 miles at William Pond Park, 23 miles at Negro bar, 26.5 miles at Beals Point, 31 miles at Granite Bay, 41 miles at Rattlesnake bar and then 50 miles at the Finish line at Auburn Dam Overlook). The bags contained everything one could imagine including food, first-aid, extra set of clothes, shoes etc.

Going back 2 days from the race. It was Thursday evening and I reached home from office. At the door, I saw a familiar face and I thought I was hallucinating. It was Anu, my sweety sister who had come all the way from Virginia to surprise us for Shavi's AR50. Shavi had the same reaction when he reached home and saw her standing there to welcome him at the door:) Thanks to her for being a part of Shavi's proud moment and for all her help during the race that eased my stress.

The race day was Saturday - April 7, 2012. The last longest run that Shavi had run before this was 31-miles (Way To Cool) in March. He had gone through a very tough endurance training to get to this point. It was a rough day weather-wise, very sunny and of course hot. The highest temperature was more than 75 deg F. This made it worse for Shavi at around 25 miles but he kept going.

The runners were allowed to have 3 separate pacers. The pacer pick-up points were at miles 26.5, 31 and 41. The last 9 miles were purely elevation and very difficult. Shavi had two wonderful pacers, Leslie, who paced him for the first two legs of almost 15 miles and Paul who paced him for the last leg.

The signs we made for Shavi read:
- Only runners have balls, all others just play with them. Go Sacfit Ultra! Proud of you, Shavi!
- Beer, Nap and We are waiting! Finish strong Shavi. You are our Superstar!

Anu and I were waiting for Shavi at the finish line. We were anxious after Shavi had been feeling tight shoulder muscles and had needed a shoulder/neck run at all the points we saw him, after mile 31. He was really hot and needed lot of ice and water to ease the heat generated by his body. It was not just hard, but beyond hard. Good thing is that he was sane enough to realize that he needed to slow down his pace towards the end when it was a hilly terrain. The time was not as important as was finishing the run.

I had never been so happy to see Shavi as I was when I saw him emerging from the trails, amidst the cheering crowd, approaching towards the finish line. It was a sigh of relief for both Anu and me. I defintely have to appreciate the wonderful support to Shavi by our Sacfit running crew and all the others who were there cheering him. For me, it was simply a proud, unforgettable moment!

By completing the 50-mile run in under 11 hours, Shavi qualified for Western States 100 (100-mile run along the western state trails). Nope, he is not doing it at present but it is an honor to be qualified for it.

Looking at the results site, it is amazing to see that the first person to finish the race did it in 5:55 hours. Crazy! There were many people in the age group 60-67 who ran the race and finished great. What a special proud moment must have been for them! I could only see their happy, teary eyes at the finish line. 250 people out of the 900 people running could not finish the race. Congratulations to all those who finished and for those who did not, there is always a next time! Keep up the hopes:)

Here is the link to his Garmin graph: Garmin

Some tips:
- Eating "real" food and energy food to fuel your body at regular intervals is very important during such long runs. The aid stations and my sandwiches did a good job at this ;-)
- Beware - it could be really hot as it was this time. Ice pads for cooling and lots of water at aid stations to be poured over you can ease the heat being generated by the body.
- Changing shoes,clothes, hat during the run at meeting points for regular roads vs elevated trails is a good idea.
- Since those are trails, be ready to face Poison Oak/Ivy. There is always Calamine to fix it. Carry sanitizers and alcoholic wipes for injuries.
- Carrying a chair for the runner when he/she changes shoes etc.
- Having the right pacers who can keep you engaged while running is important.
- Have your aide carry an extra pair of mp3 player, GPS.
- KT tape Pro is great to relieve knee, shoulder, back pain etc. Remember to get KT Pro and not the regular one since the regular one doesnt stick for long.
- Use lot of Glide to prevent chaffing.
- During the race, never do anything new: clothes/shoe wise and food wise
- Fill up on carbs 2 nights before and eat light the night before. Relaxing for the entire last 2 days before the race is healthy.