So I signed up for a series of races, all at varying distances as sort of quizzes before the big test. The first quiz was the 5k which I think I earned a C+. Why a C+, I was well below my 5k pace, but given the circumstances (planes, jet lag, no training), I still gave it my all. After that race, I thought I had some time before my next one. I didn’t really, just maybe a week or so to get ready.
I didn’t panic, but my dreams of a PR had to be reigned in a lot. I started with trying to put in my long run the day before, which didn’t go well. I think I walked more than I ran, I felt dizzy and had a weak stomach. I gave up after 11 miles. I was worried. If I couldn’t make it during a slow training run, what the heck would I do for a race? Btw the midterm is in October, it will be a hilly half marathon, 2 weeks before the final exam.
I had to remind myself that every day is different, and with running, it usually doesn’t matter how you did the day before, so many variables come into play each time. It’s kind of scary if you think about it, you could train really well for any race, but it all comes down to how you feel on race day. Yes, you have a good idea of how you will do, if conditions are good, but anything can happen and it does.
I saw quite a few people clutching their legs with cramps, after breezing by me earlier in the race. One lady was on the ground at mile 5 and was still there when I came around again at mile 6. I am determined not have that happen to me. So finding the right balance of pushing my limits without overdoing it, is tricky.
I caught up with someone from the crew that I use to train with around mile 7, I asked her how she was doing, she said okay but she was “dying.” At around mile 8 she passed me when I stopped for water, but when I caught up with her near mile 9, she started to walk. I debated very briefly if I should check with her, but then I remembered that I needed to pass my quiz. Sorry, but I had to keep to my goals and it wasn’t that serious. Later, she told me that she’d pushed herself the entire race, she didn’t stop for water until mile 8 and lost steam. That is exactly what I was trying to avoid.
During my training run, I had an issue with hydration. I didn’t drink enough the day before and I didn’t bring anything with me. I figured I could buy something along the way. That didn’t work out too well, which caused me to have to quit. Plus, I had $2 on me, which I thought would be enough to buy some water or Gatorade, not if you are running near Central Park. A small bottle of water was going for $2 or more and Gatorade was $3. I was so pissed, but hey, there’s desperate demand and limited supply.
Back to the race…
I was sure to hydrate properly the day before and in the morning. I also don’t like to use those port a potties, so there’s a delicate balance I have to reach. Drink too much and I end up having to use one of those smelly things before the race. Drink too much during the race and I have to stop to use one of those smelly things. Gross any way you slice it. So, during the race, I mainly drink at every other water station and use the water to at the other stations to keep my mouth moist and to pour it on my shoulders and face to keep cool.
So, I initially wanted to use this race as tempo run. 2 mile warm up, 5 mile tempo, 3 mile cool down. Things didn’t quite work out that way. Instead, I end up running faster when I felt good and slowing down when I didn’t. I didn’t push too hard, and I kept checking in on me to see how I was doing. Seriously, I kept asking myself, how are you feeling? Can you go faster? Is your mind right? It worked, the only time I stopped was to get water.
I didn’t feel fatigued at all, but quizzes tell you what you need to improve before the final test. I’d give myself a B+ overall, endurance was good, my legs recovered well from the hills, at at the end I felt like I could run for longer on my legs. I remember walking to the baggage check with strength in my legs, while others around me were limping, iced up and looked banged up overall.
My hydration was good, but my pace was slow and my core is still not strong enough. I had a brief wave of nausea at the end of my race, which tells me that my core was working at capacity. So more core strengthening exercises and emphasis on hills and speed this week. My next test is next weekend, which will be a mini speed and hill quiz.
I did run into the rest of the crew including my former coach (he didn’t want to speak to me-ugh I can’t go there). He ran the 10 miles in 1:03, one girl ran it in 1:15, the guy who teases me ran 1:26. Very fast times, but I’m sticking to my solo training, I’m content with my 1:30 finish and there’s still room for improvement, which means I haven’t peaked yet and if I time it correctly, I’ll peak for the marathon. Besides, everyone gets the same medal even if you come in first or finish last, so there’s that.