Sunday, August 7, 2011

Monadnock Half Marathon

The Monadnock Half Marathon proved to be a grueling half marathon. No PR's on this one, but I did claim second in my age group!

Since the website showed some major elevation changes, I expected this course to be very challenging. In order to prepare, physically, I hired a trainer to teach me the correct way to perform a power clean. Combining power cleans with lunges and dead lifts really helped me to strengthen my glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and core. This way, I could run (not walk) all 13.1 of those beautiful, hilly New Hampshire miles! And that I did - even mile 11!

I did not expect my Garmin watch to go crazy at mile 6. Never again will I:
1. Not lock the bezel of my watch after a race starts.
2. Grab water at a water stop with my watch hand.

Unfortunately, my watch froze on satellite strength and kept beeping. I thought I broke it. I couldn't get my heart rate or my pace. Oddly enough, with every mile I completed, it flashed me the mile and the time. I love my Forerunner 405CX!

I also did not expect the dirt roads. I never ran a half where part of the course was on dirt roads. So, when they announced the barefoot runner, Theresa Withee, as she crossed the finish line, I was super impressed. Apparently Theresa is the only barefoot runner to complete the Boston Marathon. You go girl! I don't know how she plowed through the ruts in the roads - or how she made it through all those rocks.

Many runners were upset that there was no water station after mile 6 ... until mile 10. I was glad I tucked a GU in my sock, At that mile 10, I had to stop. I sucked down my GU and drank a full glass of water. That really helped my energy levels - I think that is why I was able to run up the 220 feet to mile 11 (Elevation: 1,193 feet).

Additionally, nutrition-wise, I tried something new, Chia Chargers. They are "un-baked" cookies made with agave nectar, chia seeds, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, cranberries, oats and paprika. They are sweet, crunchy and the sun-dried paprika really packs a punch. There are 3 cookies to a package, which total 120 calories, 16g carbs., 5g fat, 3g protein, 3g fiber, 0 cholesterol. They are touted as a "superfood", rich in phytochemicals, which help reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system. But the real reason I ate the Chia Chargers is because I read that the chia seeds absorb a lot of water. Once in the stomach, the seeds and the water form a gel, which slows digestion (making you feel fuller longer), but more importantly, this helps endurance runners stay hydrated! I believe they helped - especially with that missing water station!

Chia Chargers
This race was the Inaugural Monadnock Half Marathon, and although they need to iron out some kinks, kudos to Christopher Bernier, for pulling it off. The only thing I was really disappointed in was the lack of cow bells when running up Witt Hill Road to mile 11. I thought more supporters were going to cheer us on - ringing the quaint little cow bells that were supplied and promoted in the description of the half on the website. After all, New England is all about quaint!

We need more cowbells!
Train Smart Today!

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