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Archive for the tag “nerves before race”

Ready, Set….

I know my race is soon, or should I say my body knows it. Or perhaps my mind is the one with the knowledge and my body is displaying the classic “there is a race this weekend” symptoms. I am sure those of you who are runners out there may at one time or another experienced these symptoms….things start hurting for no reason.

You are happily in your taper week and up until this week, things have been pretty okay. No injuries, fitness levels are good, you’re feeling ready. And then suddenly race week comes around and little niggles appear. Today it was my left knee and right ankle, yesterday my right shin. Added to this I am having the usual “I am not ready, I haven’t trained enough!” running through my head. Absolute nonsense, as I am ready and definitely have trained enough, but there it is, running around, driving me silly.

This race will be what it is, somewhat different on a few counts. My hubby is coming along, crutches in hand, to cheer me on from the comfort of the deck at the family bach. I will wave to him twice, when we pass right at the beginning, and again at the end of the race. This is my first trail/off road race, half marathon distance and so I have no idea of expected finish times. I know it will take me longer than a road race, and that’s all I know. Guess I will find out on the day. Finally, it starts quite late…9.15am…which for a hot summer day is going to make for a hot run. I am used to running and racing earlier.

So there it is….race in 3 days time, and I am as ready as I am going to be for it.

42.195 Kilometers

I woke up at 4.45am. The day of the race! I knew I had to eat breakfast, but my stomach was saying no thanks. I didn’t feel nervous really, just wanted to get going! So I forced myself to eat something small and light, and drank some water.
Two of the most important things to get right are you hydration and nutrition, not only before during training, but also on race day. To do this you need to practice during training to find out what works for you and I was hoping I had that sorted. My plan was in place, I loaded my GU chomps into my back pocket, all packaged into 5 equal portions.

Another thing you need to watch out for on long, sweaty runs is chafing! This can debilitate you terribly. I have worked out that although Glide is far more friendly on the clothes (does not stain) it does not last for the long distances, so Vaseline it was. All lubed up and ready to go.

Geoff drove me down to the start, and we managed to get a park quite close. It was still dark and there were so many people milling about. I found my pace group for 4hr30 and then of course I needed to go to the toilet (as you do). The queues were loooooong, and I stood there starting to panic I would not get to the start before the horn went off. 5 mins to start time and I was back waiting to run!

6.10am and we’re off, or at least the people in front are! We walk…..and finally get over the start line. At this point I am realizing that I do not have enough Vaseline smeared on myself, so am hoping there will be some along the way. The run starts well, there are hilly bits for most of the first half, but I am feeling good as I have done lots of hills in training. 2 kilometers into the race and my lower left calf starts to hurt, and it twinged and pulled all the way to 29K! I knew it wasn’t my Achilles, so at least I could push through, and as long as I stretched at each aid station I would be okay.

By the time I reached the bottom of the bridge I was still feeling fresh and apart from my calf, everything else was good. I had found a Vaseline angel at the previous aid station and proceeded to amuse everyone there with my antics while anointing myself on the run. There were Japanese drummers at the bottom of the incline, banging away and that helped with getting the motivation for the climb. I must say, the climb felt like a breeze, but I did not have a look around at the view as when I run, I tend to look along the road. Then I crested the top and off I went down the other side, and as I turned into the off ramp, the leader of the half marathon came flying past. So at least I made it over the bridge before that!

By the half way point I had lost my pace group. I was running a bit slower, and it did not worry me at all. I am normally so competitive, against myself and also others, but it didn’t matter. I knew I had to just keep going. My friend Heidi said to me when it gets tough to dedicate each kilometer to someone and why I was picking that person, so I used that from then on. I ran for my first husband, who had a brain tumour and passed away at 37. I said to myself that the pain I was feeling was nothing like his had been. And it got me through!

At 29K or so, Geoff was waiting and he jogged along with me for about 2 minutes. This was on Tamaki Drive, and as the race wound round the bays, all you could see were runners snaking along around the corner, into the distance. Each time I rounded the same corner, there in the distance was another one! Finally I reached the turnaround, and then it was 32K and I was in uncharted territory. I had never run longer.

34K came and I celebrated! “Yes! Only 8K left!” I cheered to myself. And 1 second later both my feet started to hurt like I had never felt before! I think this was the part of the race where I really had to talk to myself. I just kept pushing myself on, reminding myself to use my arms to get me through. I didn’t do all that strength training for nothing and arms can pull sore legs along because when you pump your arms, your legs have to follow.

This got me through to 40K and I decided to test my reserves. So I sped up and to my delight, I still had gas in my tank. So I started running past people and finally turned the corner to the finish. There it was, like a beacon in the dark! I powered towards it and flew over the finish line! (Or at least I thought I did, and it felt like it) It was over! I had done it!

I got a drink of water, some Powerade and a banana, and had all three while I wandered around, found Geoff and my daughter Kerry, got my medal, and nursed my sore foot!

The sense of achievement was huge, and also of relief. And the thought running around in my head was “Never again!”

The day before

As I sit here eating chocolate, feeling all righteous about the massive amount of exercise I have just done, it is easy to forget all the hard work that went into maintaining a well functioning body during all that training. The problem is I am hungry, but I just couldn’t be fuzzed to put the effort into preparing a proper meal. I think I am tired….

But I digress, and jump ahead of myself.

This morning I sat down and typed up a long account of the day before the race and the day of the race, uploaded a whole lot of photos into the page, pressed publish and it all vanished into the ether. I was mad! I then had to go in to work so could not and did not fell like rewriting the entire post again. So I am back at the computer now, a few hours later, and my format ideas have changed….I shall break it down into three posts. In feel this is a better way to communicate what happened to me over the last three days. This post is about the day before the race.

I had woken up early, on purpose to get used to the early rising time. For me this is nothing new as I am often up early, either to fit my run in before work, or to head off to train early morning clients. I think it is very important to get used to running early if your race is early as it gets the body and mind into the correct space for race day. I was in two minds as to whether I should go for the recommended 3K ‘do my legs still work’ jog. I was still feeling a little off colour having the dregs of that cold I succumbed to the week before. After humming and ha-ing for a bit I decided I would do it and set off for a run that lasted 17 minutes before I gave up on the home stretch as I started to get a chafe! Anyway, at least I proved my legs still worked.

We left home a little ahead of schedule, which was good as I wanted to get to our B&B, find somewhere for lunch and then put my feet up. We arrived in Auckland and went straight to the Expo so I could pick up my race number and goodie bag and have a look around. I had thought I would feel some excitement, but all I wanted to do was get out of there and to our accommodation. So we didn’t hang around much and went to check in. After that we went to find a place that served pasta for lunch.

Now, there are many bits of info out there about pre-race fueling  One tidbit I decided to follow was to rather have a big pasta lunch instead of the traditional dinner, that way avoiding a too full feeling on going to bed and perhaps bloaty in the morning. I am certainly glad I did that and would recommend it as a strategy. That night I just had a grilled chicken burger with some kumara fries from Burger Fuel and I slept like a baby!

The afternoon passed in a really strange way…I found it really hard to sit still, I had periods of total quite, which for me is weird as I like to talk, and I just didn’t want to to talk. I didn’t feel nervous though, the nervousness had disappeared. I had my plan all sorted for the race – hydration, fuel, what to do if I felt it was too tough, made sure I had put everything out for the morning, set two alarms – another tidbit I gleaned from somewhere (interestingly, the winner of the half marathon had overslept and got to his start after the gun went off!). So everything was organised and at 8.30pm I went to bed, only to be woken up at somewhere around midnight by some idiots saying goodbye loudly to their friends in the street! However, I was so calm by then (very strange for me….maybe I was like a possum in the headlights….) that I went back to sleep and slept soundly until 4.45am, before both alarms went off.

And so it was the day of the race….

On your marks!

Well, the time has come to head off up to Auckland and run this marathon! Last night I had the worst sleep ever, and it was supposed to be a good one. I went to bed with a horrendous headache that appeared out of nowhere and had to get up a few hours later to take a neurofen, something I have not done in months! It did get rid of the headache, which does not seem to be there this morning, so that is a positive.

My cat was also being a nuisance throughout the night. She decided grooming was in order at 3.30am and when she does that her teeth squeak  So squeak  squeak  squeak she went and then she thought some water was in order so hopped off the bed and went to the bathroom door and started scratching on it for someone to open it so she could get to her bowl. The only thing I opened was my sock drawer to extract a pair of socks which I then hurled in the general direction of the door. She got the hint….

Needless to say, when the alarm went off at 5am I was in no mood to do my 3K jog suggested in my training schedule, my body was saying no way! My mind was trying to convince me that I must, but for once I have listened to my body! This whole training journey has been an exercise in learning to listen to my body, and if I never do another marathon again, I have gained some insight into how I function within my mind, and how I need to sit back and chill and listen to that small voice that is my body!

So saying…..tomorrow the mind must carry me through the final journey of this marathon adventure. I plan to take in the scenery as much as I can, and enjoy the race. I plan to walk through all the support stations to make sure I get all my fluids in and not on me, and give my legs a short break from running. I plan to smile as much as possible. The forecast is for rain, but according to http://www.metvuw.com/forecast this will not be happening until after I plan to finish the race.

As I write this my nerves are building. I feel like I am typing faster than normal and my fingers are shaky. I can remember the first time I ran a half, I felt the same. I was worried that I would not make the distance, and I did it. So I know I will do this….I am just a little scared by the whole idea!

Perhaps I should do that jog……make sure my legs still work……

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