Rule # 1. Never underestimate the distance of a race. Rule # 2. And I know you’ve heard this next one b/f. But today I broke the rule and suffered. Never try anything new on race day. I don’t know why but I completely changed my nutrition plan that I usually stick to on race day and felt like crap the whole race.
I wasn’t mentally prepared for this race either. I didn’t think I’d need to be. I completely underestimated the distance and thought / It’s only a 20k. I do more than that all the time.
But the thing is, I took off at a suicide pace and had no intention of suffering. I hadn’t visualized myself tired or being passed. And then when it hit me, it hit me like a ton of bricks. You have to be mentally prepared for every adversity you can think of b/f a race. Otherwise anything can throw you off your game. At about two miles I knew I was too tired. Why am I so tired? / I thought / I shouldn’t be this tired. But I was in the top ten at least and didn’t want to lose my spot. I realized the pace I was going wasn’t sustainable and I was going to have to back off. I was pushing 7 minute miles and was breathing too hard to take a drink. The heat threw us all off. None of us are heat trained at this point and here it was eighty degrees in March. But I don’t use that as an excuse.
And for whatever reason, I changed my pre race meal into something that SHOULD be good for a runner’s pre breakfast, but it was something I’d ever tried b/f a run. It didn’t give me gi issues or a stomach ache. I just felt / off / for lack of a better word. So I plugged along and focused on myself and just decided to have a good time. This was going to be a run, not a race. It was MUDDY! I like racing in the mud and going through creek crossings. I like having wet feet all day. It doesn’t bother me. So I just hung on and ran the pace that I could maintain. I still finished w/ a respectable 1:40ish which isn’t bad but I usually judge a race by the way I feel rather than my time or place. And I felt awful today and it is of my own volition. The strange thing was my shoulders felt worse than anything else. At the end of the run, I couldn’t even lift my arms b/c my shoulders were so sore. I don’t know what I did differently. That’s why I say something was / off / So from now on…heed the words of the masters. Don’t do anything new on race day. Stick to the same pattern or routine and you will be more adapt to handle the day. Also, visualize b/f every race. Put yourself in the worst case scenarios and work it out in your head and be ready for it to happen. B/c then it won’t happen. And you’ll have a good race. So there. I’m dropping knowledge. Boom. Now I’m off to punish myself w/ another ten. I will not feel this way at any more races this year.
“Never underestimate your opponent.” Bruce Lee