Sunday, December 20, 2015

Last Race of the Year - And a Great Lesson to Boot!

I finished my last race ( not my last run) of the year today. It was a nice 8K up at Lake Hefner in OKC and boy was it windy! I think they said there were gusts up to 45 mph - I can attest to that! This one may go down as one of my favorite lesson teaching runs.

First off - let me say I'm still doing the #RWRunStreak where we are challenged to run at least one mile per day from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. Today was day 25 and it was appropriate to do a 5-miler I thought. Overall I have thoroughly surprised myself with this run streak. It's the longest I've ever stayed with it first of all, and second of all up until a couple days ago I have felt great.

Even though I am barely in the CHF category (meaning it's still very mild thankfully) overdoing it can really knock me on my butt. It's one of my two main goals. One is to refrain from overdoing it - ever; and the second is to manage symptoms. The trouble with overdoing it is that you don't know you've overdone it a lot of times until after the fact. There have been times I've felt fine during a race or a hard run but then woke up the next morning wiped out and end up having a major episode - which is what I want to avoid. Well I'm happy to report that so far there's been no overdo and I'm still streaking (run streak that is!).

The last couple of days I've had a few signs that I could have an episode. I've learned to watch carefully for these. My bp is still "safe" but has been slightly elevated over the last couple of days and my resting heart rate is inching up. I also gained some water weight. So with those in mind I know I may need to stop the streak and rest up a few days. That's frustrating when I'm doing so well - but necessary since I am wanting to win this battle - and do it the right way.

So this morning when my bp was slightly elevated and I had some chest pains I really gave some thought to not doing the race. Instead, I took it as a challenge of another kind. I decided to do the race (using the HR monitor of course) and hold myself back. I knew it would be difficult once I got to the race site because I just get so pumped just to be out and able to run. But I was determined.

My HR did bounce around a bit at the first of the race but I made myself go out slow and held back until the first mile was done. By then my HR was stable but about 15 beats higher than normal. Still in a safe range, but higher than usual. I stayed with the 3 R/1W intervals I've been doing in training and just held myself back even though I was worried about coming in last. That fear was alleviated at the turnaround when there were plenty of people behind me.

I kept my eye on my HR for the whole run and consciously held back to a very comfortable pace. About mile 3-4 I could tell I was pushing it - mostly because I was running into the 45 mph wind and it was making me mad. I purposefully made myself walk more during that part of the course just to make sure I wasn't pushing too much.

So I finish the race - feeling great about accomplishing my very strange goal. I visit with other runners and friends that I see at races. Then on my way out I decide to check the screens for the live results. Typed in my bib number and came up I was 2nd in my age group! -- Turns out the first in my AG was way too fast - I'd have never caught her if I'd tried. The girl behind me was about a minute back with the fourth right behind her. I was so happy with that. There were 6 in all with the slower 5 of us all within minutes.

But get this - I ran at what I thought was an easy - not even pushing it pace - and had a 12:10 min mile avg. That's really good for where I've been this year. It's slow I know - but considering - I'm a happy camper. I had one mile in the 11's and one (the fourth) at about a 13 min. mile.

So I guess I learned a valuable lesson today - I can actually be very happy with myself and reach reasonable goals without hurting myself (I hope - we'll see in the morning). And I beat last year's "same race" time by over 7 minutes. And placed in my AG.... I'm a happy camper.

I have also learned something off the course. That is that I really HAVE to stay on my eating plan and treat salt as a poison. I've been off of it some this week and I think my elevated BP and HR is because of that. Today -I'm back to being very good. Hoping I didn't mess up my streak - but very willing to stop at this point if I don't feel well tomorrow.

I will do an end of the year post here soon as I reflect on this year - and set new goals for next. I am pretty sure a marathon is in the mix.... yup. I just need to do another one - really thought I was one and done - but I have the itch. I already have a walker friendly race picked out too! See you on the course where

Every Step's A Victory

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