Sunday, March 24, 2013

Race Report: You never do know

First there was a knee injury in December/January, followed by a torn intercoastal, closely on the heels of which came a fearsome flu. It was no wonder when once I was finally feeling better, a week-end came with good weather and I had access to babysitting for 2 hours on both Saturday and Sunday, I went a little nuts and ran kilometer repeats on the Saturday inside a 20 km run and then ran a 1:34 half marathon training run on the Sunday which naturally led to shin splints. Thereupon followed 2.5 weeks of training of near zero training (maybe 6 sessions total on an elliptical machine) and weight gain.

I started feeling able to run again on Friday and was thinking about running today's 5 km race. After what was supposed an easy 5:00/km jog yesterday would up being a killer 170+ heart rate killer slog 5:00/km jog, I was strongly reconsidering. It seemed I was fighting the latest daycare grunge and there was just no point in wasting the gas to get out to the race site and abadonning hubby and kids. Still and all, hubby had planned on watching them and I was already entered so I decided to go because you know.... you never know.

I got to the race site and promptly sat on a toilet in McDonald's for 10 minutes with massive stomach issues. Decided to go home. Realized that would mean no exercise today and reconsidered. Started to jog the course to warm up. Got to 2.5 km and was just so completely exhausted that I decided to walk back to the car and go home. I am usually pretty spot on about what my body can and cannot do (last race I thought I was in 40:30 shape and, I ran 40:30) and this time it felt like my body might not even finish. Thing is I had to walk past the start line to get to the car and at the start line I of course bumped into tons of people I know, hadn't seen in awhile and I got to chatting and before I knew it, I was taking off my sweats having forgotten in my distraction that I had decided not to run. That I had not, in fact, even completed my warm-up. By the time I remembered I wasn't running and had decided for the fourth time in 48 hours not to run, I was in the middle of the throng on the start line and the friend of a friend who had kindly volunteered to hold my sweats had disappeared with a promise to be at the finish line.

So I ran. I started off conservatively, 4:00 flat for the first km. Then I just started seeing tons and tons of ponytails ahead of me (the most effective way I know how to identify women runners in winter) and I kept thinking, well as long as I am here, I might as well pass that ponytail and score two more points for the series. Everytime I thought I would ease off and just coast in, another taunting ponytail would come into view. Bottom line, approximately 10 ponytails and 18 minutes and 54 seconds later I was at the finish line having run my second fastest 5 km since the birth of Thing 2 in complete shock. The last km was 3:30 spurred on by 3 ponytails (one of which got away).

This is an excellent reminder that sometimes the way one feels before the race has startling little correlation with the final result. The downside is that it can go the otherway as well - feel like Superwoman, run like Minnie Mouse. It was also very personally encouraging because as I have settled into working almost full-time again, it seems like for the forseeable future, training 4-5 times a week to the tune of 65/70 km per week is going to be all I can manage. It seems like it will be possible to get down to the kind of times I want to run with this amount of training if I was able to run 18:55 on substatially less training. Bring on the spring road race season!


  1. Sub-19! Nice. I'm pretty good at judging my fitness for 5K (19:35 now), but terrible at long distances (marathon in 3:20-3:45, maybe). And I'm thinking of losing my ponytail before summer.

  2. That is nothing short of well, awesome Expected but STILL awesome. It is interesting how we seemed to have the opposite sort of racing experience on the same day. As you pointed out - you never can tell. I love your race reports.

  3. This is awesome! You are so good at racing! I mean, you work for it, of course, but you just go out there and race really well! And I've always said, you don't have to feel good to have a good race:)