On Sunday morning around 7:45am PST, I participated in the SF Marathon’s 5k. Thanks to my discovery of Vibrams Five Fingers and a strong personal desire to push myself physically, I’ve taken a liking to running, (which I used to hate) and enrolled in a 5k. Outside of a few minor setbacks, my training has gone well and my knee has not really bothered me, thanks to the forefoot running style I employ with the Vibrams.
It was my first athletic competition in over 2 years (since retiring as a national championship winning collegiate gymnast) and I had a lot of fun. I also ran it in just a t-shirt and boxer briefs. Here’s how it went down.
Final Days of Training
After my last hard training run on Monday (Runkeeper), my ankles were pretty sore (I’ve discovered I overpronate) so I took it easy – icing my ankles a lot and taking ibuprofen to manage inflammation. I did a short, easy run on Thursday just to keep my cardio fitness up – it was pretty warm and my pace was both slow and yet difficult (Runkeeper). Not a great start but it would have to do.
I find running with music really helps me push when I’m tired so I put together a special mix that was around 26 minutes – plenty of time to get past the finish line. See mix in the footnotes. I spent some time in the days before imagining the path I would run, visualizing runners along side me and my staying focused on my own pace and pushing through the hard points toward the end. Remember kids – visualization helps you master skills.
Rest & Diet
I knew I needed to get more rest and move my sleep schedule closer to race conditions. The race was around 7:45am and I’ve typically been sleeping around 2:30am and waking around 9:30 – 10am. I ended up getting decent sleep on Friday but Saturday I went to bed at midnight and woke at 6:20am – so not great.
I drank a lot of water and tried to avoid heavy foods the week of the race. Nothing like the need to perform at optimal physical conditions to cause you to eat healthier. I avoided beer and desserts and tried to eat more fruit. Avoided coffee and soda too, so that the Red Bull would have a stronger kick (see Race Day)
I normally run in a pair of board shorts that have pockets so I can stash my iPhone to listen to music while I run, but I recently picked up a nifty little thing called the SPIbelt, a super low profile iPod-holding belt so I could wear a lighter pair of shorts. It was cold the day of the race so I wore sweatpants, an extra shirt, regular shoes with socks and a bag to change into my race gear at the event.
Ate oatmeal for breakfast, drank more water + a couple Advils, tried to move my bowels in the morning (to get lighter and offset “runner’s diarrhea”) but no luck. Drank most of a Red Bull on the way to the subway because studies have shown that caffeine and taurine can increase physical performance and endurance. Continue reading →