Saturday, March 17, 2012

What I learned today

Tonight I ran in the Victoria University River Run.

Here's a bridge I ran over.
I love the Maribyrnong River. It's very pretty.

I did this run last year. Last year the course was 8km and I was massively unfit and under-trained. This year the course was 10km and I am feeling much fitter and much more confident in my training. Having said that, I struggled. Here's what I learned from the experience:

I do not like running in the afternoon/evening/night. My tummy doesn't like running. It gets angry when I put things in it (such as water) and then run. Unfortunately, common sense says water is important when running in the heat. Plus, I am a morning person, which means a 5.50pm start for a run is at least 12 hours too late.

I do not like running up hills. This was not really a new discovery for me. The stupid and ridiculous hill in the second kilometer was a surprise, however. I know I have some ridiculous hills ahead of me in Run for the Kids, so I used this as training for that. But running up hills that I didn't know were coming make me mad.

I ran way too fast in the first kilometer. This was one I wasn't expecting. I was 30 seconds faster than I would have planned (had I really planned this race) for that kilometer. Maybe that was good given I virtually started going backwards by kilometer number two but is not ideal in the scheme of finishing faster than you start.

I pay too much attention to what's going on in my head. I spent 90% of this run with negative thoughts in my head. "My stomach is unsettled." "My legs are tired." "It's too hot." "I can't run up this hill." "My knee hurts." "Blah, blah, blah, blah."

Is it any wonder that I struggled?

My running training is paying off. I got to the last 100m of the race (give or take) and my pace really picked up. I got the the last 50m and I sprinted to the finish line. A real sprint (I'm pretty sure the Australian Olympic selection panel currently trying to find out who I am). I could never have run like that before I started with my running group. Unfortunately, that sprint also tells me that I could have pushed myself sooooo much more for the rest of the race.

I'm not all that good at using races as training runs. I had planned on running this as part of my 13km training run. I didn't run the remaining 3kms I needed to make the 13. I didn't run the race like a training run. I am thinking of heading out tomorrow morning for about 4 to 5kms to make up for it but will see how I feel in the morning.

I desperately need to stretch, roll and strengthen. My legs are rapidly getting worse. I need to make the time to do my exercises and get my stretches in.

And there you go. Lots of learnings from tonight. I'd like to have learnt my time but, unfortunately, I neglected to stop my watch at the finish line. Results are out tomorrow so we'll see how I went then.

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