Monday, March 6, 2017

Mississippi River Half Marathon: State #31

I thought I was going to knock my time out of the park in the Mississippi River Half - the race is flat. Flat as a pancake! I've been training really hard: running hills, pick-ups, strides, and lots more leg and glute strength exercises. I found a video online that's been helping me strengthen my hip, relieve the pain I've had since training for (and dropping out of) Boston last year. Sounds like a plan - until you count in some other factors.

Ever since I got the required flu shot in early September 2016 (re: I work per diem as a Registered Dietitian in a hospital), I have struggled with my Crohn's. My arm blew up after the shot, and it must have triggered my very sensitive immune system. I've struggled with anemia, low albumin levels, ech, blah, blah, blah. It's taken up until the end of January with a strict SCD diet, supplements, Ginger/Tumeric tea to finally start feeling better. When I asked my doctor WTF? why are my energy levels still low, he says that I'm still healing. Okay no excuses, but the Mississippi Half Marathon goes down as one of my slowest halves.

So considering all the training, my Crohnny issues, and being on a low CHO diet, I have diagnosed myself with overtraining syndrome. Since the Mississippi River Half, I've made a conscious effort to reduce my pace except for a weekly tempo run and my speed work on the track. For the first time in a long time, I am excited to run - and come home from running and say to myself, "Now that was a great run, a really great run!" We will see how this unfolds in Boston next month ...

Back to my half ..We flew into Jackson, Mississippi and drove about 2 hours Northwest to Greenville, Ms. We were told by locals that all the land we passed was farmland - full of corn, cotton, and wheat when it's growing season.
We're not in Jersey, Toto! They got lots and lots of land here!
Ron even tried his hand at making a video of our trip using his Osmo (see below). 

After driving awhile, I finally found a place that seemed to serve good, local food. OMG! If you are vegetarian - you're S-O-L, not only is there a church on every corner, but there's a smoker on every corner, too! And if your vegan and a Hillary fan, you're double S-O-L:
In the window of The Pig and Pint
I usually don't eat pork or BBQ, but at the Pig and Pint - what else do you eat? I'll admit - this BBQ was the best I've ever had, and it went down real easy! 

More driving to packet pick up at the Greenville Mall, next stop Walmart for some groceries, and check in at the Hampton Inn. The young ladies at the front desk suggested some restaurants in the area. This was good because when I went on Open Table, this is what I saw:

On race day, we had to meet in downtown Greenville, where buses lined the streets to cart us all across the Mississippi River into Arkansas. I met a lot of Fifty Staters. They all reassured me that even though the race started in Arkansas, it would qualify as my Mississippi Half (Thanks, guys!). 
Driving over the Mississippi to the start
We actually started on the bridge - yeah it was a highway, and tractor trailers were driving by beeping ...no I wasn't a little freaked out (yeah, riiiight!). At the top of the bridge, I jumped/leaped, held my breath, and screamed - there was a huge expansion joint. I calmed myself down by focussing on how great it was running over the Mississippi, again. The first time I ran over was on the Rainbow Bridge in Minneapolis, Mn. 

I didn't take off quickly, my goal was to run a 7:50min mile pace. Since I'm training for Boston, I didn't want to push it. I really haven't been myself lately - and I've really been struggling with my track work outs. I've been reading Dr Phil Maffetone's book, Endurance Training and Racing - and suspected overtraining syndrome. 

I don't know why I couldn't maintain that pace - not feeling great, overtraining, not used to running in 65 degree Fahrenheit weather, eating too low carb diet with consistent training with lower and lower liver and muscle glycogen stores, plus lots of recent stress from juggling my private nutrition practice, working per diem at a rehab hospital, and teaching two courses at a local university (Advanced Nutrition, and Sports Nutrition). Final time: 1:47:28; Ech -an 8:12min mile pace. I ran the Chicago Marathon faster than that!

Okay, enough whining. 
Looking on the brighter side, 
there are some great memories I'll take away:
Like the teens yelling to me around mile 10/11: 
"Look at that little lady! Go little lady, gooooo.
Keep running! Follow your dreams, never give up on your goals, never give up! 
You can reach your dreams!" 
I cried. They have no idea how much they impacted me. They were so unbelievable. This part of the country was likely the poorest part of the country that I've ever visited. The economy is suffering. How do you maintain the drive, and the courage, to follow your dreams? On our way back to the airport, we stopped in Yazoo, Mississippi to catch a bite to eat before flying home  - there was nothing open in Greenville when we left - everything, but fast food restaurants, are close for church on Sunday morning. I took this picture as a way to show how the economy is suffering - and as someone who works in a hospital, I ask, how do can people afford health care?
Downtown Yazoo, Mississippi
But here, these teens were inspiring me to follow my dreams, and reach my goals! Thank you, guys!

It was also beautiful to see how the whole town came out to cheer on the runners. Families on their front lawn. I remember running past a group of females and I made a face, as if to say, "I'm exhausted, and it's only mile 8! Why am I doing this?" And they yelled back,"You keep going girl! You're lookin' strong!" Thank you, ladies!

I didn't feel strong at all. I was suffering to finish as best as possible. Still, towards the end, I gained on a few people. There was a young couple who stopped, and started walking. I grunted at them as I ran by, "Don't stop - shuffle if you've gotta. Keep moving. You got this." After the race, they came up to me, "Hey, you're the lady who yelled at us to shuffle, and keep moving!" They thanked me profusely - "That helped us so much, thank you, thank you so much." ...more tears!

And thanks to the young girl who, around mile 12, yelled, "Kick butt girl, keep going - your sixth female!" There was a woman older than me, Fran O'Neal (Congrats, girl, you rock!) ahead of me. I hung on with her up until that 8th mile, when the wheels started to fall off. She finished #1 Grand Masters. I managed to finish #1 Female Masters.
What a beautiful award!
We hung out and listened to some great blues by a local band! I love the blues - BB King, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray, Albert King, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Etta James ...
Every day I got the blues!
Enjoyed some more local food
No, I did not try the Alligator!
Kept singing the same lines of River Boat Queen, until I Ron got annoyed
River Road Queen
And planned how I was going to recover from this Overtraining Syndrome
As my pace dropped, my heart rate surged - dangerously high!
I can tell you all the metabolic issues that led to the Overtraining Syndrome based on my labs, and training - but can I figure out how to reverse it? Well, for one, I don't leave the house without wearing my heart rate monitor. I'm trying to go slow, and rebuild my fat burning metabolism - what I'll need at the end of Boston. Mind you, this is different form a low CHO diet - your body can figure out how to burn fat, without starving your body of carbohydrate, it's just a matter of training within a certain Heart Rate Max (or VO2 max if you've gotten this tested).

Okay, enough of the science. Enjoy Ron's State #31:Mississippi River Half Marathon Video
Train Smart Today!
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