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Half Marathon Training on a Paleo Diet: Race Day

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This is the final part of my half marathon series, but don’t worry there will be more adventures to come as I have signed myself up for the Yorkshire Marathon in October with my gorgeous runner and blogger friend Danielle of Eat Primal, Run Hard – eek! Although I’m terrified I also can’t wait to cross this milestone and then get back to my calisthenics and kettlebell training.

Last fortnight I talked about my pre-race nerves, TRIBE’s natural nutrition subscription packs, and the BUFF UV Orm Headband. This fortnight I will of course be talking about the horror that was race day!

I ran the Leeds Half Marathon on Sunday, May 8th, in order to raise money for Mind – the mental health charity. If you’d like to donate just text GOSA60 £1 (or an amount of your choice) to 70070, or alternatively click here to donate online. All donations will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Before The Race

Where… Do… I… Start?!

You might remember me mentioning last time that I woke up the day before the race with a little bit of a cold, on race day however, I woke with a full blown cold; horrifically sore throat, runny nose, and the dreaded chills. It couldn’t get any worse than that right? Wrong! The weather for the day was incredibly sunny, not a cloud in sight and the temperature was set to soar to around a whopping 25/26°C – I was gutted to say the least. I sat in bed and pondered for a good 10 minutes or so as to whether or not I should be running. In the end I decided to brave it and take the plunge, after all I could just walk it – or quit when things got too tough.

When I eventually dragged myself out of bed the pre-race nerves kicked in like crazy – I was sweating profusely, I think I must have ran to the bathroom for multiple mini poops (my fellow runners you know what I’m talking about). By the time I pulled myself together I realised that I was so short on time and didn’t manage to get everything prepared that I was hoping to. Once I entered the race venue all of my nerves drifted away and my focus came back.

The Fuel

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For 3 days prior to the race I was trying to heavily carb load but failed miserably the day before. I was aiming to eat at least 2 large sweet potatoes a day and a banana but by the night before I just felt too ill to be stuffing my face. On the morning of the race I drank my regular Bulletproof Cappuccino – I basically add my almond milk to a milk frother along with 1 tbsp of raw butter finely sliced and 1 tbsp of MCT oil. Once it’s all frothed up I pour in my fresh cafetiere coffee on top of the milk. It’s way better than regular Bulletproof Coffee I have to say. I’ll get a recipe up soon I promise! After my coffee I ate a couple of hard boiled eggs and a banana. The banana isn’t something that I’d normally indulge in first thing in the morning but I think it did me some good. I also drank about 2 or 3 glasses of water too. I was hydrating the day before which is vital!

Before I left the house I made up a batch of my Isotonic Superbooster and added in an extra 1/2 tbsp of raw honey and about 1/8 tsp of magnesium citrate (I use Natural Calm).

On my way to the race I ate the Sour Cherry & Buckwheat Bar that TRIBE had sent me out, it was bloody delicious and I actually preferred it to the Cacao & Almond Bar. The bar is made from all natural and organic ingredients (when available); Dates, Cashew Nuts, Sour Cherries, Sunflower Seeds, Buckwheat Flakes, and Almond Oil. It contains 21.3g carbohydrates (of which 18.3g sugars), 5.9g fat, and 3.7g protein. The carbohydrates provide your body with optimal energy and the organic sour cherries that are used are a source of anti-inflammatory antioxidants – a runner’s (or any athlete’s) best friend. It definitely gave me a nice and steady, slow releasing energy burst and I didn’t use my energy gel right until between mile 10-12 (more on this later). The bar itself was just so tasty, the sour cherry wasn’t too sour and it certainly wasn’t overly sweet like a lot of these bars can be. I’m certainly going to be buying these in bulk for my marathon training.

All of the TRIBE snacks are tailored to meet specific needs such as; energy, endurance, recovery, and even keeping minerals topped up for the next day’s run. There are 3 different plans to choose from which cater to the needs of those running 5K to ultra marathons or even obstacle courses. The subscriptions are available weekly, fortnightly, or monthly and range from £6.50 to £8.00 per pack. Alternatively bulk packs are available from the Tribe Store, as well as some awesome TRIBE apparel.

To pick up your own TRIBE pack click here to find the right plan for you!

I proceeded to guzzle down on my Isotonic Superbooster, popped a painkiller cocktail, then squished a pouch of Vega Sport Endurance Gel into the hidden back pocket of my SKINS A400 Compression Tights, before handing my bag in and hitting the loos at the race venue.

The Race

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The pain on my face says it all I have to say!

It’s really hard to describe the feeling I had as I lined up in my bib zone. I just kind of remember feeling shattered and deflated due to being so ill but I didn’t really have any doubts that I’d complete the race. As we started to get called forward for the walk up to the start line I donned my headphones and drowned out the noise of everyone’s excitement. I didn’t have the same buzzing feeling as I did the first time I completed the Leeds Half but rather a sense of calmness came over me, coupled with an intense focus.

Once we were off we were running up a slight incline, and although I paced myself I almost instantly I felt my breathing become erratic and I began to feel as though I was gasping for air. My calves blew out less than a mile in and I actually thought I was going to have to quit, instant disappointment rushed over me. I spent most of my first 2 miles trying to remind my brain how to breathe and forget about how ill I was and it started to work. I paced myself at roughly 9 minute miles for as long as I could but at mile 3 my pelvis/hip pain came back, I was now not only struggling with my cold but extreme pain down one side of my body. My running technique went completely out of the window, I was holding my hip for support but nothing was helping. The next thing to hit me was the sun! Oh lord the temperature was outrageous, there was no shade, and during the first 6 miles I did a lot of walking as the first 6 miles were largely uphill, and I mean UPHILL!

Mentally I contemplated giving up countless times, the race markers were now all out of sight and I was convinced that I was going to get a far worse time than last year. I think this is when my ego kicked in – I started to pick up my speed, strategically ran in any areas of shade, shut down my response to pain, inhaled every water bottle that came into site, regulated my breathing, and pelted my body down any downhill portion of the race – this is sort of my forte – yes I’m the person with the jelly body flopping downhill and I’m proud of it.  By mile 8 the markers were back in my site and I overtook them until I found the one close to last year’s race time, eventually I managed to overtake.

I hit mile 9 and felt like the run had become increasingly easier whilst I watched people give up, collapse, cry, and who knows what else. The heat had really gotten to a lot of people and I just felt lucky that I was managing to survive. I suspect that a lot of people weren’t pacing themselves or hadn’t fully hydrated before the race.

Around mile 10 the kids were there to cheer me on and I felt great, by mile 12 however I started to slow down and some how the race marker was in front of me again. I used this as my drive to push through. I can’t remember when I took my energy gel but I’m inclined to think that it was actually somewhere between mile 11 and 12 but I just don’t know. The Vega Sport Endurance Gel pouches are absolutely disgusting – they’re powered by all natural ingredients including dates, coconut oil, and electrolytes, but hands down the worst thing that I have ever tasted. They taste like washing up liquid crossed over with vomit, biley vomit that is. It’s the worst experience of my life and I still have a whole pack left to use. It’s safe to say I’m going to be making my own pouches for marathon day. They did however give me a little energy boost to power through.

The last stretch back to the finish line was horrible, it was up a slight hill again but by then any hill feels like a mountain, your legs kinda go numb and you could quite easily fall over if you didn’t pay attention to what you were doing. By the time I turned the corner to the finish line I actually felt like just walking to the end, like I couldn’t even make it, but something came over me and I sprinted to the finish as best as I could. I’m not sure I actually sprinted – I’m sure it probably just looked like a jog – but the guy at the finish line looked super excited and was jumping up and down at the finish line so I just went along with it.

The Aftermath

I completed my 2nd half marathon in 2:18:38 which wasn’t what I was hoping for but I woke up with the worst sore throat ever and chills, my hip blew out at mile 3, but I soldiered on. I’ve been raising money for Mind the mental health charity. If you’d like to donate just click the link in my bio or text GOSA60 £1 to 70070. Also a HUGE thanks to @skinsgb @suunto @garminfitness @buff_uk @icebreaker_eu @pipandnut @the_tribe_way for knitting me out for my training you’ve all been a massive help 💕 #run #running #runner #runners #thisgirlcan #likeagirl #ukrunchat #fitnessblogger #hbloggers #health #healthy #fitfam #fitness #fundraiser #paleo #paleolifestyle #paleoliving #ukpaleo #primal #halfmarathontraining #halfmarathon #leedshalfmarathon2016 #fitfoodie #fitmum #fitmom

A photo posted by Georgie (@greensofthestoneage) on

Immediately after I finished the race I remember thinking oh my god I really need more water, and to pee, so I frantically went through the line to get my goody bag and finisher’s tee, in fact I totally forgot to grab my medal and some guy chased after me and threw it onto my neck like a little garland. I thanked him then proceeded to walk to the toilet whilst carrying my goody bag UPSIDE DOWN! Yes I emptied the contents of my entire goody bag all over the floor in front of thousands of people, and dropped a hell of a lot of F bombs. I grabbed a bottle of water, inhaled it, and ran to the loo. Victory was mine!

Next I headed over to baggage to pick up my bag and check my phone to find out my finishing time – 2:18:38… Yeah, I could deal with that, even though last year’s time was 02:20:11 and I trained on a treadmill in 2 weeks, but this time around I was ill and nursing a damaged pelvis, all in horrific heat. Everyone I’ve spoken too since said they thought it had been the hottest it has been so far for the Leeds Half, and I have to agree, although it was quite hot last year it was nothing like this time. I’d like to think I could have ran it in 2:10:00 but I’ll never know.

So straight after I found out my time I delved straight into my bag and started eating the rest of my delicious TRIBE snacks. First up was the Bogoya Banana Protein Bar that contains 10g natural protein, 25g carbohydrates, and 12g fat for a super speedy recovery. It’s cold-pressed and boasts the following natural ingredients; Bogoya Banana, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Honey, Rice Protein, Goldenberries, Chia Seed, British Sea Salt, and Almond Oil. On the TRIBE website they recommend eating the bar within 20 minutes of training so you can get back to training the next day and I certainly managed to scoff it within the recommended timeframe. It had the most beautiful banana taste and I literally felt like I was in heaven eating this, in fact I hate banana but it reminded me of that banana sweetie flavouring they always use in foam bananas and gummies and I loved it. If I could afford to I’d be buying these in for the rest of my life. If anything made my race day it was the Bogoya Banana Bar – not even kidding!

After that I inhaled a big bottle of water (again) and moved on to the Cape Trail: Goldenberry & Pecan – a trail mix made from Raisins, Cashew Nuts, Goldenberry, Pecan Nuts, and Sunflower Seeds. Goldenberries are low in natural sugars and high in vitamin A. This trail mix was designed for endurance sports and so probably best for eating before a race rather than after but I felt like it was doing me some good. Although not my favourite due to being less flavoursome than the rest you can tell that it’s ideal for slow releasing energy and certainly won’t spike your blood sugar.

I’m pretty sad that I’m all out of my TRIBE goodies and so I’ll be buying some more in when I get a little more cash to do so.

I felt like this year I recovered from the race a lot better, I was able to keep moving and walk around straight after, I wasn’t sore the next day and I went straight to my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class on Monday with hardly any problems. I also was fine to carry on with my day straight after the race and when I came home I washed up straight away and made everyone lunch!

Although it has been an amazing experience I do feel as though long distance running won’t be something that I can keep up with due to my pelvis. I will be continuing to train towards my full marathon from now until October and I can’t wait to go on that journey.

So that’s it for this fortnight, don’t forget you can still help me raise money for Mind – the mental health charity. If you’d like to donate just text GOSA60 £1 (or whatever amount you’d like) to 70070, alternatively click the button below. Thanks guys <3

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Come back next month for the start of my new marathon running blog series. Have you fueled a half marathon Paleo? How did you find it? I’d love to hear from you so why not share your experience below.

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