Monday, 19 August 2013

My First Race - 30 Tough Kilometres

This weekend I ran my first race. It was called A Midsummer Night's Run, and it was on Centre Island. I ran the full 30K. 

The same day, there was the CanFitPro convention. I was fortunate enough to score awesome samples of goodies which helped me HUGELY in my race. I was fuelled by plant based products from Vega and Cliff Bar. 

Let me tell you that 30K is much easier said than done. I've never considered myself a runner, and certainly not a fast one. But this year I had decided to take up running. I thought its a great way to challenge your fitness, set personal goals and join an awesome running community. This is all awesome, however you gotta dedicate the time to do all of this. 

Between work, meal prep and commuting around on the TTC, I'm a busy bee. I'm out of the house 75% of the time. When I work out I need to be sure I bring my food out with me, shower stuff, allow travel time, etc. With running, I find you need to a) dedicate time for long runs and b) allow yourself more time to include going home to shower, eat, etc. 

For these reasons, I had not trained properly for my race. My farthest distance EVER was 10K. I figured it'd be a slow 30K race, but since I'm aerobically fit I'd be totally fine. 

Yeah, that was very stupid. If you're a runner you know that completing a race takes time and dedication to training. When people heard I'd only run 10K before, they were telling me it'd be slow and it would probably hurt. 

To make matters worse, since the last 10K run I'd done, I could feel my right shin getting some sort of weird pain. It was different than a shin splint, which I used to suffer from a lot, but hadn't experienced in a while. I kept foam rolling, stretching and icing it like a maniac leading up to my race.

On race day, I was so excited! Not to mention that the stuff I got to fuel me at the CanFitPro convention was a huge bonus. I stopped by Cliff Bar and met Christina, aka The Athletarian, and she gave me awesome advice and awesome race goodies. I even got to talk to her running coach Michelle, who gave me some more running tips on fuelling and training for races. 

I got a couple of energy blocks, an energy bar, and some energy gel shots. I had half the bar about an hour and a half before the race, a couple blocks before I started, and a block every few kilometres until 20K, where I had my chocolate energy gel shot. 

Oh, and I freaking met Brendan Brazier that day!!! I was like a giddy school girl. I'm pretty such I sounded like a blubbering idiot, but I was so stoked. I told him I can't go a day without Vega. It's so true! Speaking of Vega, I went to their booth and got amazing free goodies: a couple recovery accelerators, gels, electrolyte hydrator and pre workout energizer. I had the hydrator and pre-workout before my race, and the recovery accelerator after. I think it helped in a huge way. I have another one I'll probably have today. 

The race started at 5:30 pm (hence the name of the run). I was eager and excited as soon as we started. 

5K flew by. By this time my friend had passed me, but I knew that would happen inevitably, so I was just running on at my own pace. My leg was okay, but it definitely affected my speed. I could feel it getting aggravated. Honestly, I was walking with a slight limp the last couple days before that, so the fact I finished the whole race is beyond me.

 When I got to 10K, I was still feeling stoked, but I started to worry about finishing the race. What if my leg got worse? What if I couldn't finish? I started getting all these negative thoughts. I tried my best to shut them out, but I was very doubtful. I just tried to breathe through it, and even briefly called my boyfriend at 11K. 

The second third of the race was tough. The KMs felt very long. I remember being sure I'd missed a sign, and that the next sign would be 2 kilometres ahead of what I last read. Nope. I was just getting even slower. 

At 15K, I thought "wow I ran 15 freaking kilometres!" And immediately thought "...and have 15 to go." I was getting very negative, and the dark thoughts kept coming. The next few KM were the toughest. What kept me going was reading the back of people's race shirts which read "mind over matter". I kept reminding myself that if I keep going, there is an end, and I'll finish one way or another. 

Around the halfway mark is when I needed to take walking breaks. I tried to avoid it, but I just needed to walk it out for a bit, and that's okay. 

When I saw 20K, I was pumped. I ate my delicious chocolate Cliff energy gel, walked for a bit, and starting slowly running. I honestly don't know if I could have had the drive I did at the end without it.

To wrap up the rest, I just had to mentally shut everything out and keep going. My iPhone died at 17K, so I was just taking in the beautiful island view and keeping it slow and steady. 

I crossed the finish line at 3:35. At first I felt embarrassed by my finish time, but then I immediately told myself that's ridiculous. I ran a 30 freaking K race for my first time, and I was injured. My goal going into it was to cross the finish line, and that I did. Besides, my goal is always to compete with myself, not others. 

During my dark moments in the race, I was thinking how painful it was and how I'd never run again. It's pretty funny that as soon as I finished, I was already planning a half marathon. I wanna take it slower and do a half before attempting a full, this time with proper training. 

Post-race, my legs immediately felt like Jell-O. I inhaled a banana at the finish line, then a veggie burger (on a white bun. YOLO), which I thoroughly enjoyed as well. And a beer, which really hit the spot! 

My friend and I went back across the water to the city, then to her aunt's place to grab our stuff. We were both all Jell-O. Half a Cliff bar, some recovery accelerator and a long shower later, I was passed out. 

Today my legs are actually much better than I anticipated. Granted walking and stairs are Satan, but I can still walk nonetheless. I did some hot yoga too, which really hit the spot. And I'm just ravenous today. All things aside, though, I do know I fuelled myself pretty darn well. My hydration was on point before, during and post race, and my glycogen was certainly restored well by yesterday's and today's carbs (thank you, Cliff Bar and Vega!). 

The bottom line is that I have enormous respect for runners after this experience. I hope to be able to call myself one soon! 

Safe training, everyone.


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