Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kahtoola Snowshoe 50K Jan 30, 2010

Kahtoola Show Shoe 50K- or rather 30K

I signed up for this race only having been on Snow Shoes maybe 3-4 times in my life, and the last time probably 13 years ago! But I have run in the Kahtoola Flight boot a few times in the last couple of years. I have a fight next week, so I decided to go in cautiously I know when my legs are going to be a little weaker for a few days after a race, and I knew that this race would use a few different muscles then I was used to. So because this race has the option of dropping to a lower distance (5k,10k,15k,25k, marathon, or 50K) even after you start the longer race, that I would allow myself to drop down before I felt like my legs would be too week to be 100% at full performance on Monday and Tuesday when I need to train with as much precision as possible for the Smoker Bouts next weekend.

There were a couple of factors that lead me to this decision. The race is all about my own goals and accomplishments, it does not affect anyone else if I drop, but the fight is different. I have committed to my instructors, trainer, and the gym that I am fighting, and because I am doing so part of my responsibility is to give a good performance to the audience watching. The fact that a few hundred people are watching puts pressure on me. They are coming to watch me give 100%, and so that is what I am going to do. I knew completing as much of the race as I felt was reasonable would be good for my cardio and endurance during the fight, give me an edge, and force mental discipline. Completing a race takes being comfortable with discomfort, and learning to relax and not allow pain to discourage you or stop you, unless it is pain that would cause injury to continue.

However, my body is intuitive, and I know at which point the pain switches to enough muscle fatigue that I will be recovering and slower the next few days to one week. I can still run and perform, but it is not at 100%, nor should it be. Being intuitive means listening to my bodies needs to heal and back off. But I was very excited for a few reasons.

1. I had a horrible night at the CJC. I had a client who disclosed some very serious abuse that was never reported, despite it going on for 3 years, and many people including friends, parents, and teachers knowing about it, but ignoring it. I was angry for what this girl had experienced, and no one had cared enough for her wellbeing, and it led to other abuse that had been disclosed, and being in a very bad situation. I talked to this girl for over an hour and informed her that this abuse needed to be reported, and spent an additional 45 minutes with my supervisor assuring this girl that we were there for her, did not judge her, and would help her through this tough situation, then also talking to her mother and assuring her that we would do the best we could to help she girl and the situation. 

Because of the disclosure, I had to write a report that will be turned in to law enforcement, and the amount of what was disclosed was so much that it took me nearly 2 hours to write the report, and than I was so upset and angry, that I spent another 2 hours debriefing with me supervisor. Thank goodness I had a supervisor who saw how much it affected me, and took the time to debrief, and eventually making me laugh a lot. I felt better, but I missed the fighter meeting for next week, didn't get home until 10:30 pm, and was not even packed for everything I needed in the race. I was so tired, I could not think straight so I just grabbed in a hurry anything I thought I might need for the next day and threw it in a pile, deciding I would be more effective in preparing if I just went to bed and got up early. This was a good decision, but I had strange dreams from the trauma this case caused me. I am fairly good at not taking cases home with me most of the time, but I am human and compassionate, and I can't expect that no case will ever affect me. Especially because I work in a place that the worst cases come to for individual therapy. I am amazed at how resilient these people are, and end up feeling a sense of protection to help them because in many cases no one had stood up for them. I want to help them find functional relationships and support in their lives so they don't end up repeating patterns that will lead them to be in bad situations for many years. I work with mostly teen girls and adult women, and I actually like working with them, but it is hard emotional work.

So the race could not have come at a better time, because it allows me an outlet to feel better about the world when I see nature, and realize God still provides a lot of positive, and the whole world is not evil.

2. I have been meeting with a nutritionist who specialized in sports nutrition and eating disorders. I consider myself to be fully recovered, but I still need someone who understands where I have been and can help me nutritionally in a way that will not trigger old patterns I have overcome. Elena Yorgason is great! Since I have been meeting with her I have gained much more confidence that I can control my weight, and have optimal performance nutrition without ever needing ED again. I am amazed at how much my thinking has improved, my moods are stable, and it really had improved my endurance, speed, and ability to feel good for the whole race or event. She recently gave me a plan that includes what to eat and when before, during and after the race. I have never done a race on this plan, and was excited to try it to see how I felt. I feel like on two races that I DNF'd last year nutrition and not knowing how much I needed of what, and when were huge factors.

It turns out I was not eating enough for my activities before I meet with her. I had no idea, and so although it was hard for me to adjust to increasing my intake, because physically I was not used to eating that much, and it felt uncomfortable at first. Now I am getting used to it, actually maintaining weight better, and losing weight when I am on her plan 100% (that is what I am working on) So 3 hours before the race I was trying to get the 200-300 grams of carbs for performance. It was hard, and I think I was really only able to get 150 grams in, but it was still more than I have done before, and it really DID make a difference. I was also not eating enough during the race. I was only eating about 250 calories per hour before, and I really need 400-500 per hour. That also made a huge difference for how I felt during the race, and after. Eating at the intervals after the race, in how she said was almost 100% intuitive; because I was very hungry at the times I was supposed to eat! So eating on this plan has made me more intuitive then I was before, and I have almost no cravings for junk food. I am eating a lot of quinoa as a base grain with a lot of meals, and it really makes a difference! It is a super food.

So this made me excited for this race.

3. I want to get more tolerance for cold, and motivation to not allow myself to let cold deter me from running. It started out at 5 degrees, so this was a good time to practice.

  So I started the race, and 10 minutes later the top of my water bottle was frozen OPEN! I had to take the lid off anytime I wanted a drink, and there was Ice in the top layer. This led to my gloves getting wet, and at first I thought I was going to die because my hands start getting froze bit very fast. 30 seconds without gloves on is enough to make them numb-hurt, and unable to move them or warm them up. However, within 2 miles the sun started to warm things up very fast, and by the time I got through 5 miles I no longer needed a jacket. And within 6 miles (the first 10 K loop) I only needed one layer of a tech shirt, no hat, and switched out my gloves for warmer glove. I went back and forth between needing them and not needing any. The circulation to my fingers is strange sometimes. But I used the warmer gloves the rest of the race.

   The race consist of two loops a 10K groomed golf course loop, which is very packed down. The first 2 miles is not too bad, but then the 3-mile loop at the end is a lot of uphill, and then the last mile is an easy shoot to the start. The second loop is a 5 K mountain loop, very steep, and very hard on the quads, especially in snowshoes. I hated the first half, until I got to the top and went downhill! That loop took me about an hour and 10 minutes.
   The course goes like this 10k, 5k, 10k, 10k, 5k, 10k and the first 10, and 5k snowshoes are required. The second 5K snowshoes are necessary. But not on the 10K loop. So I did the first two loops in about 3 hours and took off my snowshoes, but left the flight boots. On the start of the second 10K loop with the flight boots my legs were hurting badly. I got to the aid station 2 miles in, and took them off, and just went in running shoes. I didn't realize what different muscles where used in the snowshoes and boots, because when I took them of the pain was immediately gone, and my legs felt fresh! So I completed the 3rd loop by 5 hours into the race, and felt that I would be able to make up a lot of time on the next 2 10k loops with just wearing running shoes. I was right, however, by 2 miles into the 3rd 10K loop, I could feel my muscles were fatiguing more, and I knew the 3 mile uphill loop, and the 5K mountain loop in snow shoes again, would probably be a lot of beating on the legs that would lead to me being not effective in training on Monday and Tuesday. So I thought about it for a minute after starting up the 3-mile climb, and intuitively felt like it was time to drop down, so I could save the strength in my legs for next week. It felt like the right decision, and I felt OK about it, because i knew I was not quitting because I was at my limit. I knew I would have completed the race if I wasn't fighting in a week, and I knew it was a good training run for my future trail races this year, including the 2 100 milers I want to complete this year. Those races are more important to me to complete.

So I walked the last mile back to the start, and had completed 30K. It was a good day, good training, and not over training for the fight. I have not had time for a lot of long runs the last couple of months, so it was good to have a 19.5-mile run, to prep for getting my miles up the next couple of months. I need to mentally be in hard and committed training mode from now on so I can meet my time goals for the 50 milers and 100K, and marathons, in order to feel like I can complete the 100 milers, and under the time limit.

It made me excited for the races I have coming up, and confidant that I will complete them all this year, barring any unseen problems. I really think I am going to do all of them, and with my nutritional help I am getting better!

So boys and girls there is my report, and I will see you at future races! I think I will try and complete this one again next year, but try to get some actual snowshoe training runs in.