Monday, August 27, 2012

Highs and lows...but not too low

Saturday was my 3rd 5k of the summer. My times have gone 19:30, 19:45(ish) and now........20:10! ugh. I'm left scratching my head a bit. Coach Doug wasn't too keen on the idea of one in August, something about heat and humidity but I know best and signed up anyway. I got a free entry and it's such a local race I found it impossible to turn down. 

Anyhoo, I was feeling good, woke up with a bit of a cold (of course) but otherwise felt fine. Warmed up for a couple of miles which is longer than normal for me and timed my strides so that I was on starting line feeling like my heart rate was elevated and I was ready to go! 

This is only the 3rd year this race has been run and the 2nd time I've competed. I recognized a few faces this year, last year I wouldn't have recognized anyone anyway as I'd only been running and racing for such a short time but I knew this year the prize money on offer had resulted in a bigger and more talented field. 

Still, I like lots of healthy competition, maybe it would help drag me round to that new PR I'd like so much, right?! They moved the start time too this year, which was great. The 10k went off 1st at 7:15 and the 5k at 7:30. I didn't think it was that hot or that humid, I mean it's August in Houston so it is what it is. 
I tried to hold back in the 1st mile but went through in 6:07 (I think I've had the exact same split for my 1st mile in all three 5k's I've done now!) There were two female runners ahead and I felt good enough that I thought if I could keep them within striking distance I could maybe take them during the 3rd mile (my plan had been to build, build, build). I felt ok, but during the 2nd mile my chest tightened up and breathing was a struggle, not something I'd expect. I really wanted to stop at around 2 miles, I mean I was VERY close to calling it a day and walking/jogging back. I felt awful. Like throwing up. I never feel great on a 5k, I mean there supposed to feel like hell on earth but something just didn't feel right. I was around 6:4? for the 2nd mile and brought the 3rd home in 6:3?. I do have my splits on my Garmin but am too tired to go get it - yup I'm not feeling 100% for sure :D I was 3rd female and won my AG for what it's worth. 

Almost finished and completely finished at the same time!

I'm wasn't hugely disappointed, just a bit puzzled. Why can I produce better runs in training and then bomb out on these 5ks? I know I don't cope well with the heat, I had contemplated putting a zip lock bag with ice under my hat - I might in my next 5k! 
I worked this 5k into my long run which was 13 miles, doing the last 6.5 on the treadmill at my Y which was very near the race start/finish. 

Later that night my 'cold' hit me like a ton of bricks and on Sunday it was all I could do to move. My whole body ached, even my eyes? I have only had the flu once before and felt certain I was on course for my 2nd time. A friend asked if it could be allergies? 'Emmmm no way, it's definitely not pollen' was my response but it got me wondering. The way I felt during the race was the same as I did back in March when the tree pollen made it virtually impossible for me to run outdoors. 

I should probably mention, at this point, I have next to no knowledge about pills and lotions and potions. I guess I grew up in house where there were none and I think its a cultural thing too. Because it's such big business here, you guys are bombarded with advertisements all the time about this drug or that drug but where I come from there are next to no adverts for medication - National Health Service makes it pointless to advertise to the general public other than for over the counter things. 
Anyway, I popped an antihistamine (I had some left from March) on Sunday evening and felt a bit better, well actually a LOT better within around 15 minutes. My body no longer hurt from the neck down and my energy level had gone from 20% (it was a huge effort to brush my kids teeth!) to around 75%. 

I hate to make excuses after a crappy race and take full ownership for my result. I did feel like I hadn't given it my all at the end, which is not like me AT ALL but I think it was more like I felt I couldn't give my all, like I was being held back. 
The upshot is I will start to be more mindful of the pollen around here, I keep hearing what a problem it can be and I know it can effect me so it would be stupid not to. I have a couple of 5k's planned for next month and will try popping a pill before hand so I can at least eliminate it as a possibility if nothing else. I was having to take one before my track sessions during the summer, when I forgot it made a manageable session impossible. 

On that note does anyone have any advice as to what kind of allergy medication to take? Again, I know zero about this. I just grabbed the 1st thing I saw on the shelf back in March, maybe there's one that's suited to exercise or maybe it doesn't matter? Help. I suffered from hay fever as a kid in Scotland and had no idea there were pills you could take! I was working on a farm one summer whilst I was at uni and my eyes were streaming and burning. Someone asked if I wanted an antihistamine and I was like 'a what?!', she gave me a pill, I hesitated and then popped it. I thought a miracle had occurred, a few minutes later I was cured!!!!!! I couldn't believe this...stuff existed and I just didn't know about it :D 

I feel way better today, still not good enough to tackle the threshold/hill session I was supposed to do but I did manage 10 miles on the treadmill and still need to find an extra 4 this week to make up for the 8 miles I dropped on Sunday. 

I also survived the 1st day of Kindergarten, my eldest boy did too but I knew he'd be fine ;) We managed our cycle there and back with no major mishaps (there are always several minor mishaps which are no longer 'mishaps' just merely 'life' when you have a 5, 3 and 1 year old). 

All ready for the off, very mixed emotions but he had a great day :)

Oh, when I finished my 10 I came back to find my 1 year old on time out at the Y creche for hitting his sister and other various kids, boys and girls alike - he does not discriminate. I went through the same thing with his big brother, just before he turned 2 he would hit every kid in sight for no reason. Here we go again, this is a fun ride and I have a feeling I'll be riding it for the next 10 months or so. What's nice is the first time round I found it so awful, it reduced me to tears on several occasions and I considered not taking my 'terrible 2' ANYWHERE until he, hopefully, outgrew it. This time, when I got the report I heard myself say 'oh, well here we go again, he'll probably be doing it for the next year if he's like his big brother and then it will just stop one day, just like that.' 
I'm not sure what I was supposed to do or say. They had dealt with it, and he's only 2 and in with the big kids (hit him back guys, he might learn quicker!) It is so much easier being mum the 3rd time round - this time I KNOW it's not my fault and there's nothing I can do. AND I know it won't last forever and I won't cry about it this time :) Older and a tiny, tiny, tiny bit wiser perhaps - a first! 

Finally, I got chatting to the female winner of the 10k and she gave me a bit of a brief history of her running career. It has got me to thinking do I need to have years and years and years of high milage in my legs before I can do what I want to in the marathon? Or will I be able to get there in a relatively short period of time? I hope so, my coach thinks so. I will give it my best shot anyway, if someone could tell me I can't do it, that would help me heaps! I will be honest, I am having major doubts about sub 3 come January. I knew it was a tall order but I'm wondering if time is too short? One things for sure, I'll give it my best shot. I'm just hoping it will be a cold day in Houston come January 13th but there are no guarantees there either!


  1. I'm with you - I'd take a cold over heat any day!

    I've used Allegra for allergies which has worked pretty good although I haven't found anything to kick them completely.

    Wow, your time was super speedy! I am impressed.

  2. Just got myself some Allegra, it has 180mg of antihistamine compared to the 10mg the one I was using had! :D Took my 1st one this morning before 14 mile run in hideous humidity - felt like the worst day of summer and its September ugh. Anyhoo, seemed to do the trick, managed my run and on pace which is more than I can say for the 10 yesterday - had to keep stopping to walk, just couldn't breathe! Fingers crossed I'll be able to manage it a bit better, I'm still trying to get used to Houston and all it throws at me :)
    These 5ks are kicking my butt! I WILL get one I'm happy with (but might have to wait until I get a nice COLD day!)
    Still laughing about your mosquito story, I bet your wife could write a pretty interesting book about life with you :D