April 19, 2011

On your marks, get set......

Anger. I somehow just deleted the entire post. So, once more, with feeling.

I ran my first road race this weekend. It was trial by fire....or more accurately, trial by sleet. My husband and I both registered; he for the 10K, and I for the 5k. I spent the month leading up to the race training as best I could - there is a very convenient 5k loop at the end of my driveway that I ran 2-3 times per week. My consistency improved a good amount, and I also improved my running posture a tad as well. Any time I came back from a run with aches and pains or questions, my husband was there to help fix my running and answer inquiries. It was like having a free personal trainer. Very convenient.

Now I say I got into a very consistent pace, but by no means was it a fast pace. I run about a 12min/mile. I learned just how slow that is one day during a run. There was a woman speedwalking about 500m ahead of me. It took me 2.5km to catch and pass her. Oh dear.

In the week before the race I got a very ill-timed visit from Aunt Flo, who decided to stick around for the race. I also began checking the weather....snow? Oh dear.

Finally, April 17th rolled around. I had spent the night living dream after dream about different ways the race would turn out. I must say, by the time I finally woke up I was more than a little confused but, I think, less nervous than I would have been if I hadn't already woken up, gotten ready, and run the race 3-4times in my sleep. I ate a small breakfast of bread and molasses, then my husband and I headed out.

We arrived at the fitness centre which was to be the starting point, and picked up our t-shirts, numbers, and little ankle bracelets with chips in them to track our finishing times. And at 9:50am we headed out into the miserable 3*C sleet pelting us in 40km/hr winds. What a joy that was.

At 10am sharp, we lined up and were, in short order set off to the sound of the airhorn. I decided to line up near the back of the pack, since I knew I'd be among the slowest. I turned on my Nike+ GPS app as I waited for those in front of me to begin moving, then I started running as well.

About 0.5k into my run I fell into my usual pace. There were 3 participants behind me and 2 about 20m in front of me. About 1k in, I realized that the race website's promise of, and I quote, a very flat out and back course, was bull crap. We were constantly running up and down small hills, and the mid point was a long uphill battle into the wind. How I managed to keep moving forward is a mystery. But my perseverance paid - I forced myself to continue at an even pace uphill allowing me to pass the 2 running in front of me. I kept them at my back the rest of the race. I even came close to catching 2 more further ahead who had stopped to walk up the hill.

It was on my way up the hill that I felt a strange snapping sensation in my calf and thought "this is going to hurt later."

The way back was easier as I was now running downhill with the wind pushing me forward. I almost tripped over my feet a couple times from the forward momentum. It was during the last 200m before the finish line that the road became a wind tunnel between the buildings. I swear there came a point when I was putting all my effort into running on the spot so as to keep from running backwards! I was near the limit of my endurance by this point but somehow managed to finish strong and finally cross the finish line. Ah, sweet relief.

I kept a very consistent pace of 7:35/km the entire race and finished in 38:31 - meeting my inspired goal of not finishing dead last. In fact I finished 22 of 27.

I moved up the crowd a little bit to cheer on the rest of the 5K finishers and to greet the first of the 10K racers. Somehow the sun had come out right at the end making the outdoors endurable again. I watched as my husband and six other 10Kers were directed up the wrong street (!) by one of the volunteers right at the end and had to double back, adding a good 3mins to their times. My husband lost 20 places to that mistake and is still bitter about it.

We went inside together and discovered that the volunteers had put out fruit trays, which was unexpectedly wonderful. We both grabbed some orange slices and stretched and sat. By now I was starting to feel whatever it was I'd done to my calf during the run, and I spent the rest of the day hobbling around quite painfully. Amazingly though it worked itself out and I was walking mostly fine on Monday.

Before leaving, we went out to the finish line again and cheered in the last of the 10K runners - a 90yr old woman who finished in 1h20, probably faster than I could have done!

So that was my race experience. We are running another race together in 2 week's time, and I'm quite excited. Apparently racing is addictive!

1 comment:

  1. You did awesome dear :) I am very glad you took up this activity. We will have to do another race soon!