Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Personal Goal Weekend- Fast Feet to the Finish Line

I have signed up, logged all my training miles and race day is almost here. This has been quite a journey since November for me and now here I am, about to face down a long time goal. At 37 years old. Normally, in my current world, “race day” refers to Endurance with my horse. But for this race day, I go it alone but it’s no less nerve wracking. Actually, it’s probably more nerve wracking at this very moment. I would much rather be preparing to ride 30,50, or even 100 miles. I am confident on the back of a horse. I know how to take care of my horse and myself. Not so much on my own two feet.

Two weeks ago, I was beginning to think.. “this is stupid, I have already proven to myself that I can run the 5K distance, why am I bothering to pay to run in an actual race?”

My goal when I started this whole crazy ideas was; I just want to be able to run a 5K. Then when I was actually running that 3.2 miles, I thought, “well, hell, I can do this” and decided to just make it I official and work towards running in an actual race. I don’t know what I was thinking other than I think for my own satisfaction, I just needed that “ officialisness “to make it real for me . So, having almost talked myself out of it two weeks ago, I am committed and doing it.. Scared to death but doing it nonetheless. Like my husband says. “What’s there to be scared of, you just have to run”…True enough

I know I can run the distance. I have run 4 miles several times in my training runs but still.. it’s me, running a 5K. I am not really what I would consider “built to run”. I have an old left foot fracture injury that rears it’s ugly head a lot and I am certainly not fast..On a good day I can run a 9.5 - 10 min mile but generally average 11-12 minute per mile. Speed shouldn’t matter , I shouldn’t care, but I can’t help it. In my ideal running fantasy, I would like to be able to run a 7 min mile..

I have learned a great deal about myself over the last several months of preparing for this. The biggest lesson learned is that I can do it.. I had a total mental block about my ability to actually run. No, I am not the worlds most efficient runner, but I can in fact run. The crazy part about that is as a child, I was known to never walk anywhere, I always ran. In fact, many of the pictures of me as a child were the back of me , running away. I often ended up lost because I was too independent . I don’t know what happened to me as an adult but I guess I have tapped back into some of that running  ability again! Ofcourse, I don't remember it being such a challenge back then! Ahhh,'s wasted on the young..

My strength is my leg strength. My weakness is my breathing. I forget to belly breathe which causes me to end up with side stiches.  I now know just what to eat before a run to feel at my best ( a light lunch like a spin salad with lean meat) and what to eat to feel at my worst (a handful of chocolate Hershey’s candy ) I have learned how much time I need to digest my meal before my run to avoid any side stitches (atleast 3 hours, better if four) . I run better a little on the hungry side. A good shot of caffeine an hour before a run makes me feel 10 feet tall and bullet proof . A small coconut water an hour before keeps me from hitting a wall at the halfway point and keeps my feet from cramping. I have learned what shoes work best for me and what shoes I absolutely cannot wear for running, regardless of what the trend is. I even had to break down and buy an ipod so I could learn how to download music (I know, about time , right?) so the running was bearable. I believe without music to run to, I could not have done this!
Never would I have imagined that I would have learned so much and all for something as small as a 5K.

So, as the timeline winds down, today is my last real running day before the race. This afternoon I will meet a friend who has run this race before and we are going to run the actual course. That way there are no surprises. (see, its not like endurance, which the unknown of the trail is part of the excitement; for this, I don’t want the extra burden of worrying if I am on the right course. I will have enough to deal with just focusing on my breathing and form !)

I have given race day game plan a lot of thought and beyond a few key things to keep in mind, I am going to listen to the husband and I am just going to run, like I have been doing 3-4 times a week since November.

The Game plan?

No alcohol the night before- just water, lots of it.

Eat a lean protein meat with some kind of large helping of vegetables, maybe roasted root vegetables.

Sleep as late as possible which will probably be about 8:00 am. The race is at 1:00 so I have all morning to get ready.

Eat breakfast at 9:00 which will be something like a banana , spinach and greek yogurt protein shake or maybe a slice a sprouted grain bread with sunbutter on it (we’ll see how I am feeling)

Hydrate all morning until 10:30 a.m with water.

Warm up 25 minutes before starting time with a 10 minute jog, and a 5 short picks ups under 30 seconds.

Aim at a Negative split – meaning finish the second half faster than the first half. Take the first mile to ease into things.

Lastly:  Run like hell for the last quarter mile.Give it everything I have... and get across that finish line...

Wish me luck! And feel free to offer any other suggestions!

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