So in Part 1, I talked about the race experience itself, but I wanted to take a second post to discuss what I did for this race. Partially so I can remember for next time (which is, um, tomorrow) since it was a near perfect race for me and partially to share my experience with others who may have had the same issues I had in previous races.
In my last half, as well as during my full marathon, I suffered from severe nausea that cost me time and ruined my race (especially in the marathon). After searching the interwebz, I figured out that this was likely from improper fueling (not enough) and hydration (too much, water in particular). And I also discovered that my energy gels of choice (Chomps) were probably also contributing to the problem after I experienced similar issues on training runs when using Chomps.
So, what I did I do differently this time? Almost everything. When nothing I was doing was working, I figured it was time for a change up.
The Day Before:
For prior races, I guzzled gallons and gallons of G2 all day long to get myself properly hydrated. I also ate a larger dinner than normal with about 50/50 carb-protein ratio, usually some kind of pasta in tomato sauce with salmon on top. I take nights prior to big races (half or full) as excellent excuses to hit up local Italian restaurants (this is pretty much the only thing that stayed the same).
I was so busy having fun in Charleston - we went to the South Carolina Aquarium (pictured above), among other things - that I completely forgot about my pre-race hydrating ritual. I had some water and orange juice during the day, then a large bottle of water with dinner.
And speaking of dinner, we went to Mercato where I had capellini pomodoro with fish (I believe it was a white fish of some kind, so a little less rich than salmon), plus a tomato and mozzarella salad as a starter. If you're ever in Charleston and have a hankering for Italian food, hit up Mercato. It was delicious!
For breakfast I drank a cup of coffee and usually ate a bowl of granola or some toast with butter or a little peanut butter - totally not enough food! Then I guzzled water at every water stop, drank G2 from my own water bottle, and ate Chomps at different points throughout the race.
For Charleston, I got rid of Chomps, ate a different breakfast, drank only G2 (no water), didn't take anything at the aid stations, except at mile ten where there was soda, and felt awesome! My breakfast was a banana and half a whole wheat bagel with some chocolate hazelnut Pocket Fuel. I still had my cup of coffee, though (I need my caffeine, apparently). My during-race fuel was Honey Stingers and Gatorade. No water. Not a single drop until after the finish line.
And of course, I did trial runs for all of these things. Nothing new on race day!
But you don't have take my word for it. The proof is in the splits and finish time. I ran my best race so far, didn't suffer from any ailments (nausea or otherwise), wasn't fatigued, and kept a pretty steady pace the entire race (splits below).
Mile 1 - 8:52
Mile 2 - 8:52
Mile 3 - 8:47
Mile 4 - 8:42
Mile 5 - 8:40
Mile 6 - 8:48
Mile 7 - 8:47
Mile 8 - 8:53
Mile 9 - 8:50
Mile 10 - 8:46
Mile 11 - 8:36
Mile 12 - 8:56
Mile 13 - 8:58
Mile .1 - 6:47
Final pace: 8:55
Finish time: 1:56:52
Retrospectively, I almost feel like I raced too conservatively, but I really just wanted to finish in sub-2 hours, so I knew all I really needed was a 9:09 pace, and my friend Nicole, who was running the full marathon wanted a sub-4 marathon, which was just around the same pace. So we paced ourselves well and both hit our goals (seriously, my friend ran her first marathon in 3:55 - how fantastic is that?).
And not that it really matters to my race, but my post-race dinner was amazing! I finally found my go-to Chinese restaurant in Charlotte (Dragonfly in the Park South Shopping Center, if anyone is interested). They have eggplant with brown sauce, which is my favorite Chinese entree and, oddly, a hard one to find. Also, I had some beer. There's nothing like a good wheat beer after a long run, right?
So, here's to tomorrow's race where hopefully, I can duplicate what I did and race well again. This race isn't a top priority race for me, but I'd still obviously like to run a good race. And this is my last half marathon until fall. So I say now. We'll see.