This past Saturday, Aug 3 I participated in the YuKanRun Half Marathon (part of theYuKanRun Triple Threat race series). When it came time to sign up again for the half marathon, I didn’t even think twice. Well, I did a little bit… racing during the summer heat is always questionable in my opinion and if this years race was anything like it was last year, I was in for a hot one. Since I’ve been training hard throughout a very sweaty July, I knew this race was going to be a tough one again but worth it.
The YuKanRun Triple Threat is a an race series that offers a 1mile, a 5k and a half marathon. The series includes three beautiful courses along Cape Ann’s scenic coastline. Portions of proceeds will help support The Open Door Food Pantry and The Rockport Elementary Run Club.
As I woke up on Saturday luck was on my side. There was very little humidity, the clouds were out, the breeze was going and the temperature was around low 70s. This in my opinion is perfect running weather. This was my very first half marathon running “alone”. Technically, I knew people at the race; my Aunt Denise (held down her 5k 1st place in her age group) her Core Cardio Fitness gals and fellow November Project friends Amanda and husband Alex were participating in the Triple Threat.
In it’s third year of hosting the race series, the half marathon portion was SOLD OUT! I knew when arriving to Rockport, MA to be prepared for traffic and to park in the recommended lot. I arrived around 9am and the shuttle came pretty quickly. We arrived to the start line just in time for the 5k to pass all arriving runners. I was glad to catch a quick picture of Denise and Edie as they whizzed by.
For the race this year, I was asked to run wearing a Perfect Fuel Chocolate t-shirt. Perfect Fuel is an amazing product I was introduced to at the New England Relay in 2011 where our team met the CEO and Owner of Perfect Fuel, Nick. In 2011 the product was only in it’s prototype, but our team was obsessed with it! By obsessed, I mean Stephanie and Mary hoarded as much as they could and “fueled” up perfectly for their middle of the night legs of the relay.
Perfect Fuel is designed to increase your physical health, performance, and your mental balance while maintaining purity and sustainability. It is recommended that Perfect Fuel Chocolates are eaten in combinations to encourage your healthy lifestyle and performance level. Plus its delicious, did I mention that?
Nick and I reconnected recently at the Newton 10k this past June. When he asked me to run wearing Perfect Fuel t-shirt, I was more than excited. Most of you know, I don’t talk about products unless I truly love or dislike them. PFC is all natural dark chocolate that is certified organic, and sustainably produced. Their dark chocolate is made with coconut palm sugar and high in nutrients and as Nick would tell you “it shaves a minute off your time” – I can safely say I came in a minute faster than my last half marathon this year!
I’m going to jump right into breaking down this half marathon in a different way than I normally race recap with pro’s and cons. I’m going to share what I did for training, pre-race, how I felt during and how I am recovering post race.
It’s been the summer of free fitness classes in Boston for me. My whole training for this half marathon has taken place outside of a gym. I regularly participated in the Wednesday and Friday workouts with November Project. Hitting Harvard Stadium stairs completing a #Frogman1 (total of 50 sections), a #RobotMan3 (That’s a 1/2 tour of the Harvard Stadium from section 37 to 19, done three times with active rest between the three.) Full tour for an almost PR and a 40 section workout. Friday’s I continued to hit the hills regularly sweating out some of the hottest Friday’s in July. On my own, I participated in two 10k races, a free Cross-Fit class and Bikram yoga. While though I did not hit double digits in my miles training, I do feel as though this was one of my most prepared half marathons and overall I was very well trained.
My pre-race routine is pretty basic. Continuing my normal eating habits is a must, I never want to try something new the week before a race. With that said, I’m still not 100% sold on my eating routine, I eat as clean as possible but have a little trouble regulating during summer activities like weddings and parties. So I went into the week before the race cleaning up from a wedding weekend. The night before I stuck to my routine of Italian carb-loaded meal, lots of water and an early night sleep. Since the race was a little later than most, I woke up and continued to hydrate. I ate a banana early and a banana about a half hour before with my ENERGYbits® and about four small blocks of Perfect Fuel. This in my opinion assured me there would be no serious stomach discomfort.
ENERGYbits® is one of my favorite additions to my pre-race ritual, a healthy high protein snack that boosts athletic performance and supercharge my run. I tried ENERGYbits® after meeting them at the Newton 10k this past June and what sold me on the product was one very important fact for most runners I know – it helps keep your stomach calm while running! Made from 100% organicallly grown spirulina algae and loaded with 40 nutrients, ENERGYbits® algae tabs have the highest concentration of protein in the world (64%) all for just one calorie per tab.
If you are interested in trying ENERGYbits® please contact me and I can send you a sample! Or you can go directly to their website ENERGYbits® and enter code VANSOME to save 15% on your order!
Everyone gets nervous before their races right? My nerves come from thinking, will I make it? Will I start off too quickly? Can I beat my PR? All normal feelings, but as soon as the gun went off my nerves were settled. Ever since adding ENERGYbits® I no longer have the fear of my stomach holding me back. I start off the race with an even feeling, with just the right amount of energy and confidence. This is what I trained for!
Knowing the route is something else that comforts me, since running this race last year I was prepared for water stations and mile markers. Little to my pre-race reading knowledge, YuKanRun changed the route! Last year, the route carried us along a lot of beach traffic and although the scenery was beautiful the cars passing by did not make it a comfortable run (lot of head coming off the cars). Having the route changed may have usually thrown me off but this time it was a breath of fresh air (literally). The new route took us all back roads through Rockport, views of the ocean, light houses and little (not so little) beach houses with red trim. If I thought to myself “They just upgraded a beautiful course, to breathtaking.” If they were going for best scenic race in New England, I think they would win it hands down! Although its not a flat course with rolling hill after rolling hill, I reminded myself that this is why I wake up at 4:55 AM on Friday’s and run Summit Ave.. I felt #hillproof
Around mile 10 is where I start to feel my body slow down. I really could have used something other than water and gatorade to refuel. I did not bring anything with me and there was no gel or candy handed out half way through the course. I’ve been trying to run as hands free as possible with the least amount of objects to carry. I did not bring anything! My body could have used an extra pick me up at this time.
Since I knew this course would not be a PR for me (my personal record is my first half marathon in 2010 with 2:09 mins). I pushed hard for another goal – to finish the whole race without walking once. Usually during a half I give myself the option to walk while drinking water or during a steep hill. This time I felt strong enough to take my water while running and to push up those hills while still running.
The last mile was a bit cruel. Due to the course change, the last mile was going up hill! Luckily, my Aunt Denise was waiting for me and really pushed me up that very last steep part of the hill before it flattened out and I crossed the 13 mile marker! Just .1 to go, I thought! I sped up, feeling like Allyson Felix and crossed the finished line at 2 hours 13 mins. Just under my Nike Women Half time.. feeling very accomplished.
I stopped running a little too abruptly, I went straight for the water and gatorade. I should have jogged it out, then slowly walked around. By stopping so quickly my body felt awful. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to sit or stand, stretch or crash.. it wasn’t a great feeling. I started to replenish my body with red gatorade, one after another. I really felt the difference once I got the electrolytes back into my body. Once I started to feel better I walked myself over to the Yasso truck for a Coconut Yasso - frozen greek yogurt. Which really made me feel a lot better once getting the protein back into my body in a cool way.
I continued to stretch post race and rewarded myself with way too much pizza.. On Tuesday I attended a Free Yoga class at Frog Pond in Boston Commons, this outdoor beautiful evening stretch helped me feel at peace and back to normal! And on Wednesday, I started my routine again.
Congratulations again to my Aunt Denise for holding her title down winning 1st place in her age group for the second year in a row! I’m so very proud of you!
I recently asked Alex and Amanda their quick thoughts on participating in the Triple Threat series (1mile, 5k, Half Marathon) and here’s what they said:
Alex @asilbs Beautiful scenery, brutal hills. They did a good job w/ the lag between races, but 17.2 is a LONG way! It’s a GREAT training course for hilly marathons. It’s not a good PR Half course, or “fun run” course
Amanda @MissMass_2009 Agreed! Great for hill training, not to PR. Gorgeous views, not enough police to keep roads safe from cars though.
What do you think? Did you run the YuKanRun race series this weekend? What do you think of all the products mentioned and how do you stay properly fueled? Share your stories and thoughts, leave a comment below or contact us on facebook and twitter @Ferratusco @BeFreshFit !
*professional photos courtesy of Perfect Fuel