I started out writing this post thinking that it was just going to be a brief recap of my race over the weekend. However, it turns out that there was much more going on just to get to the start line on Sunday.
So, on Sunday I ran in the Wellington Half Marathon. It was my first event/race in some time and, to be honest, I was a little bit excited! I wasn’t sure what time I would be able to do, but that didn’t really matter as I had only entered a couple of weeks ago because my coach thought it would be a good idea to get back into a bit of racing.
So needless to say, while I am about 2 months into Ironman training, I haven’t been doing any specific half marathon training. Hence, this race would just be a good test of where I am at. It would also be a prime opportunity to test how my heart responded under stress.
A few weeks ago I noticed that my heart rate readings were shooting up to 220bpm. Now I normally have quite a high heart rate when racing and doing hard training, but these readings were beyond belief! I was seriously worried that I might be about to have a heart attack! Now I’m not prone to overreacting, I did check my HR monitor, change the batteries and try a different monitor, but I wasn’t able to rule out that it could be something else.
The thing was, during some of my hard runs I would feel like I was going to vomit and that my heart was going to jump out of my chest. This happened to me after a race when I was warming down and almost walking. However, at other times that it occurred I didn’t feel any symptoms.
“Easy” run – can you tell when I start running downhill?
I decided to go and see a cardiologist and get some accurate testing done to put my mind at ease. Plus, I didn’t want to get to Kona and have the heat make any issue even worse. In some ways the comment that the Dr made about my heart rate monitor generally being reliable made me feel better. At least I wasn’t being paranoid!
The first thing that we did was a treadmill test, but I was too tired from training to stay on it long enough to send my heart into overdrive. Plus they kept ramping up the incline every minute. The good news was that everything appeared normal, but to be sure the next test was to wear a proper holster monitor during a hard run.
So I turned up to the Half Marathon with electrodes stuck to my chest and wires coming out from underneath my t-shirt. Perhaps I should have been wearing a Heart Foundation t-shirt? In spite of all of that I felt relatively confident of doing a good time. As I mentioned in my last post, doing Junk Free June had given me a new sense of motivation and I was feeling the positive effects of eating well for a couple of weeks.
I did have one hick-up – my alarm didn’t go off and I woke up at 7am! No big deal in terms of getting to the start line in time, but would it be enough time for my breakfast to digest? I planned to get up at 6am to ensure I had plenty of time for this. I had a smaller breakfast to compensate and hoped I wouldn’t get the stitch. Things seemed positive as I warmed up, I felt relaxed, and there was no sign of a stitch. I think it also helped that I wasn’t treating this race too seriously.
I planned to go out at 4:45min/km pace and build up after about 3kms. This worked for me last year when I got my PB of 1:32:20. There was a northerly wind, but it wasn’t strong at this stage and I hoped that it would stay that way. I watched everyone passing me at the start, I was secretly judging them all and feeling smug that I would pass them later on. I have to think this way as a deliberate tactic so that I don’t get caught up in the race start.
After about 3km I put my foot down and start to pass all those who had gone out too fast and then set my sights on picking off people one by one. I passed through the 5km mark in 23mins and then half way in 48mins. So I was on track and speeding up. I told myself that now was the time to dig in a bit deeper, get the negative split and get home under 1:35hrs.
But the weather had a different idea and when I came back around Evans Bay I was taken back at how strong the wind was! I tried to catch up to people and run with a group, but every time I drew level the person would sprint away. Then I would catch up again and we would repeat this game. Come people, lets work together and we will all be faster! By the time I came back around past Freyberg Pool I was fading and was just holding on.
On a positive note, I was practicing eating my Clif Shot Bloks at pace and I didn’t get the stitch.
I forced my way up the ramp onto the Westpac Stadium concourse and tried for that sprint finish despite the wind forcing me back.
1:37hrs later I crossed the line, missing the rain, but it was a much harder run that I had originally thought it would be. My calves are still recovering! However, hopefully I got some good heart rate readings and fingers crossed for when I get the results later this week.
Even on Tuesday, back at the gym my muscles were still feeling the effects of the weekend. I had to shoot a ball into a target during my personal training session at Results Room and for every miss I had to do a sled push length of the gym (my trainer did this because I had been complaining about doing deadlifts every week). Whatever, that’s not that hard – well it is when you miss a few! This drained all the strength out of my legs, but there is no (complete) rest when training for an Ironman! In saying that, I secretly loved it! I’m a big fan of the sweaty gym sessions as they make me feel like I have really worked out.
I was also channeling The Rock at the time. I have downloaded The Rock Clock so I can wake to the docile tones of The Rock signing “Good morning sunshine” to me. He then gives a daily motivational quote and picture – usually a ripped gym-going photo.
Guns guns guns guns (from The Rock’s Instagram)
Sweet dreams everyone. Less than 8 hours to go before The Rock wants me to get up and train for Kona – what did I tell you, no rest for me!