The race was to start at 7:15 and it was 7:24 when I hopped in my corral! I didn’t miss the start but I was REALLY warmed up! The race started as any race does. I was shedding my hoodie and long sleeve shirt before the first 1/2 mile (only guessing here). Like I said I was REALLY warmed up! I was in a great mood despite the chaos that was my morning. This race was going to be different than all the others. I could feel it!
Let me back things up a bit here. This Weekend I kicked off the start of my race season with a nice little 10k! That’s right, no running since June and decided to run a 6 Mile race! It went better than I expected with not even as much as a mile ran in the last few months. However, I would be lying if I didn’t say that no traditional training and deciding to get up and run 6 Miles doesn’t come with some very valuable lessons!
I woke up Sunday morning BEFORE my alarm. Generally its a task for me to wake-up before 7 am any day of the week! Race day is the only exception! I did my thing. Got ready and headed out the door to meet my big brother at the Light Rail. As I was pulling up to the station, so was the train I was suppose to be on.
At this point there was no way I was going to be a passenger on that train so I watched it pull away with my brother in it and casually got my gear together. Ill condense the rest of what I call the “before the start line chaos” that started off my morning from this point: The train I actually needed to get on was not running that day which messed up all precise plans on how to get to the 10K start line. I proceeded to get on the “wrong” train since I had already gotten my ticket. Then I ended up walking from said “wrong” train to the 10K start line (adding 1.4 miles to my 6 mile race). Because I decided to walk to the start line I was also LATE!!!!
Course map…my route is in green.
I knew this race was going to be different because I decided to ditch the Garmin and my running apps on my phone. That’s right folks! The entire race I had NO idea what mile I was in OR my pace (thankfully Im really good at keeping a steady pace). I am all about stats! I LOVE checking my progress and knowing current distance, elevation gains, ect. So much so that even though I use a Garmin, I also use running apps. Yes I will admit, at the same time. What can I say I love data!!!!
I started out at my normal pace and my good mood mixed with the weather was PERFECT! When I race I people watch and get lost in my play list. This race I wasn’t people watching like I had done in the past like checking out their gear, wardrobe, or crazy costumes. This time my Personal Training skills were in FULL effect. I was watching other race participants strides, alignment and determining their muscle imbalances (PT’s are cool like that).
Good Morning Downtown Denver!
Around what I imagine was mile 3 I was back on planet earth and present. It was then that I realized two things. 1) I forgot deodorant 2) I needed a bathroom break SAT!!!! I generally don’t do pit stops but when you wake up at 4:43 am, your around 4.4 miles in to your journey, and its been about 4 hours since you last peed. There is no other option but to answer natures call. About 10 minutes later I was able to answer the call. By the way if you have not experienced having to pee WHILE running, in my “expert” opinion I suggest you keep it that way!
I got back to the race but my focus was now very broken. I bantered back and forth in my head about walking instead of running. Generally I do intervals but since I wasn’t using my Garmin or a running app I was simply running. Then a quote I had read a few days prior popped into the old noggin, “The body will only go where the mind takes it”. I might be paraphrasing but still it resinated. Did you know technically that you have an unlimited amounts of energy stores in your body? Its true, so IF you wanted to you could go for hours upon hours of any activity. It is our brains that convince us to stop. You CAN run the whole distance but will you let your mind take you there? In that exact moment I decided that my mind was unbreakable and that I was going to let my mind take me there!!! My goal was not only to finish this race but finish by running the whole damn thing!
I continued running. I let my mind take over until my feet started screaming for mercy. I began to walk. Crap! I could feel the first effect of my lack of training! Literally I could feel Blisters forming and the weight of my feet seemed to be the same as cement bricks. My right knee was irritated. I was breaking focus again. I thought of the quote. It didn’t help. Then I thought “either way your feet will hurt. Your knee might hate you right now but walking will only prolong the time it takes you to get to a place where you can give them relief”. So I ran. I kept running.
Sprinting towards the finish line!
Just when the thought of walking crept up again my anthem began to blair though my headphones and I couldn’t help but to pick up the pace! I ran though the parking lot of the capitol still unaware of my distance. I turned the corner and there it was!!!! The finnish line was about a block and a half away! It was all down hill! I went into a dead SPRINT!!!! I let gravity take control and I was lost in my playlist! My mind was unbreakable! The pain in the lower half of my body wasn’t even on my radar! I had tunnel vision, all I could see was the finish line!!!!!
As I write this I am 24 hours post race. The smells and memories are very vivid. Today I have virtually no data to analyze and I feel so free. Instead of worrying about all the data I just let my self run and enjoy everything around me. I did check the race results and even with no running for 4 months my pace is right on target from where I had left it. How did that happen? I have been doing HIIT and Circuit training over the summer which studies show have similar cardio benefits as traditional cardio training (ie running). I didn’t believe it when I heard it but I guess this little experiment proves it to be true!
Alright to the nitty gritty! What the hell did I learn? Below is my list in order of importance…
5) Its ok to make pit stops but try to make it to the start line on time so you can use the facilities then…
4) I learned that yes circuit training has the same cardio effects as traditional methods HOWEVER traditional cardio training (like running) conditions your feet, ankles and knees to embrace pounding the pavement of long distances. How do I know this? I currently have 5 blisters total, and the ankles and knees are a bit wrecked. Nothing a little TLC can’t fix thankfully!
Swollen and blister ridden feet are no fun!
3) Have a back up travel plan. When your up that early and wondering around a part of town you don’t know very well…have a plan B.
2) NEVER forget deodorant in a race. Not for the sake of others but for your own!!!
Here I am in an endorphin utopia.
1) In myself I trust. I can have the same outcome without all the data and bullshit that the running magazines try to sell me. All I need to do is trust in myself, my mental focus and let my mind take my body where I want to take it.