Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Great American River Run Recap!

Last night, I blogged about how I fuel for half-marathons on a vegan diet and shared all the meals I ate the day before my last race, the Great American River Run Half, which was last Saturday morning. It was the inaugural River Run, a new event to close out the month-long Memphis in May celebration. Tonight, I'm sharing a recap of race day!

I ordered a No Meat Athlete shirt just for the occasion! I've been listening to the No Meat Athlete podcast for awhile, and I really wanted to show people that you don't need animal-based protein to be an athlete. The speed shorts were a free gift from my friends at Memphis lululemon atheltica. They've been awesomely supportive of this blog and veganism! Also, note my KT tape on the left knee. I still get occasional pain from runner's knee I first contracted more than a year ago, but this KT tape keeps it at bay.

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday because I needed to be downtown at Tom Lee Park (the starting and ending point) by 6. And it takes me awhile to feed the animals, eat my own breakfast, and get ready. I started with my usual pre-long run breakfast of an Ozery Bakery 100 Cal Wheat OneBun with Cocoa Spread and Nut Butter. This time, I went with Wowbutter roasted soynut butter and Endangered Species chocolate. I find that this combination of simple carbs (from the wheat bread - notice that it's not whole wheat or whole grain - you don't want that complex stuff before a run or it can give you the runs, literally), fat (from the cocoa spread & nut butter), minimal protein (from the nut butter), and sugars are just what I need for the first leg of a long run.

I had a banana at the pre-race fest about 20 minutes before the start. I always have a pre-race banana. I also had some random stranger snap this pic of me at one of the photo op props.

During the run, I stopped at every aid station for water and occasional sips of Gatorade, and I partook of the free beer samples at mile 10 (thanks Memphis Hash House Harriers!). I went through two gels. I love the Huma Chia Energy Gels the most because they're made with more natural ingredients, but GU is vegan and they make tasty flavors.

I had a great race! No new injuries, no nagging old injuries, and I made good time. I PR'd with a finish 5 minutes and 41 seconds faster than my last best time. It was hot — about 85 degrees by the end of the race, but I train through hot weather and actually prefer it over the cold (so long as I have plenty of water!). My customized playlist — with specific songs for specific miles — was on point. "Uptown Funk" came on right as we entered the Uptown neighborhood, and Salt n Pepa's "Push It" got me up the toughest hill. At the end, this awesome, giant medal was waiting for me. It has a beer opener on the back!

I walked around the post-race fest for a bit — grabbed a free beer, had my photo taken in a photo booth, and chatted with a few acquaintances I ran into. I even met the girl who handles the social media for No Meat Athlete! She lives in Memphis, even though the podcast hosts Matt and Doug live in North Carolina. She recognized my shirt during the race and commented on it as she passed me. Then, she found me at the fest. How random!

I'm never hungry right after a run, but I forced myself to eat a peanut butter Clif Builder Bar about 30 minutes after I finished. Gotta have that 20 grams of plant-based protein for muscle recovery!

I drove home to take a much-needed shower, and by the time my shower was done, I was starting to get pretty hungry. I thought about driving somewhere and picking up some awesome, well-deserved, decadent takeout. But honestly, the only thing that even sounded good was frozen vegan pizza. I must have needed the carbs! Luckily, I had a Tofurkey Pepp'roni & Mushroom Pizza with Smoked Vegan Gouda in the deep-freezer.

After pizza, I realized it was well after noon, and I still hadn't had any coffee. I don't drink coffee before runs because it makes me pee a million times. But I do need coffee at some point in the day or I will fade fast. I was still hot from the race, and hot coffee didn't sound appealing, so I drove down to the Starbucks for a Caramel Soy Iced Coffee.

I was pooped! And even though I had Saturday night plans, I had a few hours to kill before then. So I kicked back on the recliner and watched some Homeland while Maynard tried to eat my toes.

At some point during my relaxation session, I realized that I hadn't had a vegetable all day (unless you count the mushrooms on my pizza). I wasn't really craving veggies, but I felt like I should probably eat some. So I steamed some broccoli and covered it with Just Ranch!

To wash it down, I had some merlot in my special race glass. I guess I should have filled it to the 13.1 line, but that's about two and a half glasses of wine, which seemed like too much so early in the day.

Memphis in May hosted another inaugural event Saturday night — 901 Fest! It was a festival in Tom Lee Park (the same riverfront park where the race started and ended) celebrating all things Memphis — local beer, local food, local crafts, local bands). All the River Run participants got in free, so I knew I wanted to go! Around 6 p.m., Andy and Patrick picked me up, and we headed down to the park.

As soon as we entered the fest, I spied the El Mero taco truck. 

They have a couple of awesome vegan tacos, and that sounded like the perfect thing! First, because I was still feeling guilty about my lack of veggies, I ordered the Veggie Taco (sweet potato & kale).

A couple beers later, I decided "To hell with veggies!" I went back for my favorite El Mero taco — the Vegan Taco with homemade seitan, slaw, and avocado sauce! This taco is AMAZING! 

I had to get a local beer at the fest celebrating all things local! I opted for a Wiseacre Ananda IPA.

We sipped on beers while we watched Memphis rapper Al Kapone. Night fell, and we had this lovely view of the Mississippi River, the M Bridge, and downtown Memphis.

The 901 Fest ended with a fireworks show! I LOVE fireworks SO MUCH! So much sparkle glitter time.

All in all, it was a super-fun day, and I probably racked up more FitBit steps in one day than I ever have before — with all the running and walking around the fest! 

Today, I signed up for my first full marathon — the St. Jude Marathon in December. It sounds crazy to me right now, and I've no idea how I'll manage 26.2 miles, but I guess I need to figure that out!


Sarah said...

Congrats on the personal record! I wish so badly that I could run without feeling like I'm about to die. Maybe one day. Awesome job with the race and that cocoa and nut butter breakfast looked amazing. 901 Fest looked like so much fun! Beautiful shot of the fireworks :)

Babette said...

Congratulations on your run! I was surprised to read they gave free beer samples during the run, but why not?!

Diana @ VeggieNextDoor said...

When I used to run I always had a half-size oatmeal bowl with PB and chocolate. Or even better, a tortilla toasted with PB and chocolate in the center. I thought I was rare for needing pre-race chocolate :-)

Amey said...

Amazing!! I really don't enjoy running, and I can't imagine running for 13 miles (let alone 26 miles!) -- so I really think it's amazing that you did this! I'm so happy for you that you were injury free and that you did it all with a PR. That definitely deserves a celebratory frozen pizza and double taco time. Those tacos look super yum.

Jennifer said...

Wow that sounds like a super busy day!