Sunday, May 2, 2010

SteepleChase 8K

Excuses I could have used for not running the full 4.97 miles:

  • It was humid and as a greenhouse yesterday morning.
  • I had to get up at 4:45 to get to the race on time.
  • I didn't get enough sleep.
  • I didn't hydrate well yesterday.
  • I haven't run since doing hill repeats on Tuesday because I could barely walk pain-free.
  • My leg hurt.
  • My knee hurt.
  • The course was a little hilly in places.
  • Everyone around me was walk/running and talking about how hard it was.
  • Last, but not least, my monthly "intruder" announced her arrival yesterday...
...but, I didn't use any of them at all!!  I ran the whole thing (except for 10 seconds that I'm not going to count)!!  I ran slow-my average pace was about 11:43-but I ran the whole way.  My (official) time was  58:50.

I spent a little time yesterday beating myself up for all the things I did wrong...but today, I'm going to let that go and be proud that I did it....especially since I could hardly walk last night.  I seriously have to find out what's going on inside my left leg.  It's about to drive me crazy. are the things I did right:

  • I set out all my clothes and stuff the night before because I had to leave the house no later than 5am.
  • I warmed up before the race.  I used to feel really silly warming up since I run so slow, but the last two times I've put that thought out of my head and warmed up anyway-and I'm convinced it makes a huge difference.  When I first start to run, I sort of hobble/limp the first quarter or half mile.  Not to mention it's very painful.  Getting that out of the way first helps the race start off more smoothly.
  • I remembered my water bottle.  It was so incredibly humid, I would have died without water.  At the aid stations, I didn't stop, I just grabbed a cup as I ran by and then poured it into my bottle...running the whole time.
  • I focused on staying positive.  It was interesting to hear all the women talking where I was running-the front of the back of the pack-or the back of the middle of the pack depending on how you look at it.  Most all of them were in pairs.  There seemed to be one friend who was talking about all the things that were wrong-it's hot, I can't breathe, I can't do this, I ate too close to start time-I'm feeling sick.  The other friend was the cheerleader.  That's what it's like in my head most of the time!  Except the complainer is usually MUCH louder and the cheerleader is lazy!  Yesterday my cheerleader did a pretty good beat down on my complainer!
  • I ran up the hills.  My goal was to run the whole way.  I decided a slower time was worth the psychological pay off for running the whole 5 miles without having to walk.   After doing 4.5 miles of repeats Tuesday, those "hills" were NOTHING.  And, because I ran the hills every time the other night, I already knew I was completely capable of doing it.  ((BTW, the reason I could do it was a direct result of the training I received from my coaches.))
  • I tried very hard not to compare myself with anyone else there.  There were several walk/runners who kept passing and falling behind me.  I considered trying to set a goal to "beat" some of them...but I decided to run my own race and not worry about them.  (BTW, only 2 of them passed me in the end-and I cheered them on the whole way.)
  • Most importantly-to me-I had a lot of fun.  I really enjoyed myself.  I talked to some of the other racers, I talked to the spectators (cheering on the sidelines is an amazing motivator!!), I met some new people...I smiled.  I had a really good time.  That's not to say I didn't have a good time before, but I just realized I was having a good time DURING the race rather than after the fact this time!  Without all the worrying and self condemnation going on I was free to have fun in the process.

There has to be a balance between being positive and realizing there's always room for improvement.  So, here are the things I need to work on/remember for the future:

  • Don't take off so many days before a race.  I had a very hard time walking after the hill repeats Tuesday (yes, my left calf).  So I opted to skip out on my runs and my strength training all week long, "saving myself" for the race on Saturday.  I'm not convinced that hurt more than it helped.  I think it would have been better to get out and run EASY on it.  Who knows, it might have made things worse, but not taking off is what I'll try next time.
  • Get a good night's sleep the night before.  I only got about 5 1/2 hours sleep (I'm used to getting at least 7).
  • Two words--BODY GLIDE.  It does in fact make a difference, I'm sure of it.  Now, at my speed and distance, the difference doesn't really matter as far as time goes...but I forgot it so I could feel my shorts on my legs whereas I usually can't.
  • After Cotton Row--go to the doctor and get an MRI.  I need to find out what's going on in my leg for sure...and get it FIXED.  I have no idea if it slows me down or not.  It doesn't seem to really hurt while I'm running...but at the same time I don't really know.  If I knew without a doubt that I wasn't going to cause something to be worse I wouldn't worry SO much about being able to walk pain free afterwards...but as it is, I'm not sure if pushing myself is going to cause additional "damage".  After Cotton Row.  
  • Hydrate really well the day before. 
  • Continue to train.  I'm not fooling myself into thinking I could ever really WIN races, but my goal is going to be to finish in the top 1/2 of all finishers.  I think that's a good goal.  For this race that would have required a time of 51:02 or better.  Looking back at the last several races, that would mean I would need to run at about a 9:30 pace.  I think that's a realistic long-term goal.  I mean I can't do that now, but long term-maybe.
Next race:  Cotton Row 10K!!   The good thing about going a new distance-it's an automatic PR!

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!


  1. You did it (despite all the problems) and this is important. Good luck on the Cotton Row 10k and ... congrats for the automatic PR!!!!

  2. Hey! You beat all those people who didn't run it! Great job!!! Good luck on the 10K!


Don't hold back, tell it like it is....