Tuesday, September 29, 2009

To Gu, or not to Gu, that is the question...

Gu = goo  which is a type of energy replacement for runners, and anyone who needs it for their performance event of choice.  My friends had a big bowl full of this stuff.  In the olden days I guess we would use things like honey to do the same thing.  I didn't run far enough to need Gu, but will in the future as I up my mileage.  Another good question...Is it better to under Gu or over Gu?  I would say over Gu'ing would be best.

What a great weekend!  Saturday was spent picking up our race packets and hanging out with good friends up in Bellingham WA in anticipation of the race on Sunday.  We had spaghetti for dinner along with a bunch of other great foods.  Carbo loading anyone?  We watched the UW Husky game...the less said the better.  And laughed a BUNCH! 

Race day started bright and early while it was still dark.  I stumbled down the stairs and Dawn handed me my "pre-race meal".  Personally I need to eat a little something and have a bit of coffee to get me going and get me through.  Don't mind the face I'm making in the photo...I had a mouthfull of homemade egg muffin and didn't want to show it to the world.  I was extremely pleased to see that the t-shirts we received were orange!  My most favorite color.

I wasn't feeling any pressure - at least I didn't think so - but right at the start of the race I began to hyperventilate.  The air was so cold coming off the bay that when it hit my lungs I couldn't catch my breath and at that point we had to go up a fairly steep hill.  It took the first mile or so to talk myself down and settle into a good pace.  About 18 minutes into the race we were pointed up a gravel trail and at the top I heard someone yell SUE!  It was Jody, a woman I had met at the Danskin 6 weeks prior.  Then up a little further and it was Lisa wahoooing and helping me along.  She yelled that it was the half way point and all down hill from here.  (Not exactly true on the down hill part - but it was the half way point).  Up another little steep hill and it was Theresa and Patty (sorry if I mis-spelled your names), who I had just met at packet pick-up the day before.  Having a cheering section is SOOOOO helpful.  Since I was feeling so good I just knew I could run the whole thing, so got myself into a rhythm and at about the the one mile to go marker I picked up the pace and passed a few people.  I may have kicked too soon, because my legs felt like they were completely dead about 100 meters before the finish line.  Not the best place to start looking bad since you have all the people cheering at the finish, a professional photographer with a really large lens, and they are announcing your name over the loud speaker .  In my finish line photo I have my eyes completely closed...which really does sum up how I was feeling at that point.  It  took me about 3-4 minutes to recover, eat a little bit of food, and drink some more water. 

I walked back to the 5k half way point to hang out with the volunteers who had cheered me on and to wait for Dawn, Bill, and Mie to finish the half marathon.  I was feeling remarkably good at this stage - my knees were a little achy, but that was to be expected.  I had felt no other pain during the run other than the hyperventilation.  I could have really used a pair of gloves though.  My hands were icy cold. 

We met up with the half marathoners back at the start/finish line and had a post race meal. (Have you noticed it is all about the meals?)  We ate at the Boundary Bay Brewery (Save the Ales), and I had a great french dip and a Scotch Ale.  That is me on the left, Dawn in the center, and volunteer extraordinaire Lisa on the right.

All in all I think it was the perfect way to experience my first race.  Thank You to everyone who helped me - and most especially to Dawn and Bill Wefer for walking me through step by step and having me stay at their house on the lake!  Love that place and the people who live there.

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