Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 11 - Race Day, New Pals and Swimming Goals.

February17, 2013  (Not sure about weight.)

What a day! I woke up exactly at 4:00am after a lot of tossing and turning. My leg which had been better yesterday was even more sore than it had been up to that point. On top of it, my ankle felt slightly sprained. Looks like I'll be walking it! Immediately I gathered my race stuff and checked the weather forecast to gauge what to wear.  51˚, yikes! I was determined to get to the race on time so I made my morning smoothie, (mango, banana and dates) said goodbye to the wife and left for the race. My first few races, I would get stressed out about weather I had packed everything I needed. In reality, you need an I.D., your parking permit, race bib and timing chip. I think I arrived at about 5:00 am at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena from Burbank.

It might be cliche but there is an electricity in the air on race mornings similar to a concert. Runners can be some crazy characters as there were people dressed in very thin shorts and tank tops. I had shorts, running pants, shirt, running jacket and wind breaker. Then again a 5k can be a walk in the park compared to the half marathon some of the participants were running. Here is the starting line for the Mini Marathon (5k).

While standing in the corral waiting to start, I met a nice couple with their six month old baby. Art and Jennifer Valencia with little baby Enzo. It was Art's first 5k and he seemed excited Jennifer had done the half marathon the year before. Her first! That is no small feet. Walking or not. Baby Enzo was completely calm.  .  .the entire time!
We hit it off and exchanged info. I had been carefully testing how my leg felt walking around. And that is the weird part, not too much pain walking around. So I decided to run a short distance at the start of the race and see what would happened. I told the Valencia's that I would see them at the finish line about the time they said "GO!"

I took off feeling really "iffy" about it. But about an eighth of a mile in, I was still running and I was surprised at how many steps per minute I was averaging, 86, compared to 81 steps per minute. And my heart rate, though elevated to about 160bpm, was maintainable. I had told Chris, (Hauth) my coach, that I would go really easy. Just then I got asked to pace a couple runners. They seemed to think I was consistent. That was a big compliment to me for some reason. So I kept running.

And as usual, each step felt like the leg was going to give out, but it didn't. The course was uphill for the first half and down for most of the second. (A drunk lady tried to tell us the course was all uphill at the beginning of the race, haha! I have no idea why she was drunk.)

I was huffing it. Just then a very obese guy ran up next to me. My first thought was that I was impressed he was moving that fast as I was trying to pour on the speed at the end. He was having a hard time catching his breath though. I noticed he was breathing shallow from his chest, so I told him to belly breath. Really extending his stomach to get the lungs completely full. I know this technique because it works for me. He tried it a couple of times and finally got his breath back. He thanked me and took off! I realized I needed to do some belly breathing myself at that point. I made it across the finish line, got my medal and a water and went back to make sure I was watching for the Valencia's.

A few minutes later, they crossed the finish line themselves.

We said our goodbyes and promised to keep in touch.

I have a kind of tradition that on days I race, I go to my friend Kevin Tran's restaurant Vinh Loi Tofu after. I ended up getting there before Kevin! They know me so well, they let me in before opening. He stumbled in a few minutes later looking tired because he just finished a twenty mile run with a mutual friend and triathlete, Romeo Victor.

Kevin thought I should have some champagne to celebrate but since I don't really drink too much, he gave me a Kombucha instead. (Kombucha is a fermented tea, I know it sounds strange but it is a little like a sparkling cider. Very tasty!)

I really need a hair cut. There is a slight optical illusion happening in this photo as it somehow made me look a lot less fat! Whahoo! Romeo showed up and we got to discuss some training

I went home and rested for a couple hours and then it was time for the swim. I was supposed to actually do a one and a half hour trail run today plus an hour of swimming. After the race my leg was hurting quite a bit and I was limping slightly. So I decided to forgo more running.

This was the first time I could complete the full workout. It only took 1:44:58 as apposed to the "one hour" I was assigned. By the end it I was cold and exhausted but happy to know I could do it.
It was a great day! Tomorrow is a rest day, yay for me!

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