Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Gridiron Classic 4M

Sunday's race did not go how I planned. It would be tough to say I was unhappy with the results, because I did post a new personal record. I finished in 31 minutes and 29 seconds, giving me an average split time of 7 minutes 52 seconds per mile (1 second faster than my previous PR). But for some reason, the race was particularly tough for me, which is something I had not expected.

I never felt like I really got in a rhythm during the race; my body was completely out of sync. Halfway into the first mile, I developed a terrible stitch on my right side. I used to get these quite often before I started building my core strength, but have not had one in the past few months. I felt like my running tights were tied too tightly at the waist; my left shoe was too loose, my right shoe was too tight.

My glutes and legs felt like cement and my arms absolutely refused to move in a fluid manner. Even my music didn't help, the only thing I could hear was the broken record of my thoughts "Just run...Keep going...Oh God, another hill...Push the pace." The entire four miles was a battle, and while the results were encouraging, it left me feeling completely defeated.

After the unexpected success of last month's race, I quickly realized why runners are such a superstitious breed. It's simple: when something works, you don't mess with it. There are some things have always been constants in my races: the safety pins for my bib have to be gold (champions do not wear silver), the timing chip has to be on my right foot, and two hours before the race I eat a banana with peanut butter and drink 4 ounces of water (any more and it's coming back up). But these things had been superstitions long before last month.

So, I tried to do everything the same as I had in January. My training had gone very well leading up to the race. In fact, I can't recall having one bad or disappointing workout. On my tempo workouts, I was posting splits under 7 minutes and 30 seconds. I had worked up to running seven miles on the weekend and I always felt like I could run longer.

The night before the race, I ate the same dinner, pasta with spinach sauce, as I had in January. But this time, I had dinner after a very heavy, late lunch. I also had dessert; perhaps the heaviness in my lower body was due more to the chocolate pudding than to cement. My stomach felt miserable when I woke up Sunday morning - too much food and too much garlic.

Then I thought about things I had changed about my workouts. I added a spinning class to cross-train once or twice a week. I stopped strength training because of the pain in my shoulder and arm; I was afraid of making the pain worse and then not being able to run. I had also not done the core workout the week leading up to this race. There was not a good reason for this - I was just lazy.

The biggest mystery from Sunday was why my legs felt so heavy during the race. My legs felt like this during my spin class on Wednesday, but were fine for my tempo run on Thursday. I rested on Friday and Saturday, with the intention of having fresh legs on Sunday.

All-in-all, I've driven myself crazy the last few days trying to figure out what went wrong. I know its a combination of things, some which I know and some that I never will. Sometimes, you just have a bad running day. But, it's just usually much easier to accept when it's not a race.

So, I am officially done with trying to piece together what when wrong/what went right with my last race. I posted a PR and I finished 19th in my age group (females aged 20 to 24). Instead of focusing on how hard the battle was, perhaps I should allow it to make the results all the more sweeter.

Finish Time: 31 minutes 29 seconds (PR)
Average Split Time: 7 minutes 52 seconds (PR)
Age Place: 19 out of 196
Gender Place: 201 out of 2504
Overall Place: 1158 out of 5269

1 comment:

  1. I think my dear, you need to focus on the positive. that is the only thing that counts Hang in there an be proud Love Grammie


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