Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Why Training Is Necessary...

Well I did it. I ran the Royal Victoria Half Marathon with barely any training. The result? PAIN! Pain in a good way though.

I had had a great run a couple days prior. Just a half hour around the parental unit's neighborhood. I thought to myself, if I can feel this good in the race I will be a very happy camper.

The morning of the race was upon me soon enough. I had dined on a feast of sushi the evening before so felt well fueled for the event. I've run this race two times prior, and both times were rather soggy. This time however, it was overcast but a great temperature. Oh and the sun did come out after a bit!

I ran for 10 minutes prior to the race in order to warm up. I don't find I do too much running before a half marathon because I try to use the first few kilometers of the run to warm up and get into a comfortable pace.

At 7:30am the gun went off! With high energy I began my saunter. Yes, saunter. There are so many people at this darned event that it takes a loooong time to get to the start line. When I finally did I was able to start running right away.

I must take time here to vent a wee bit. Well, perhaps vent is too strong a word, but I'm going to complain a bit. Here's the thing....if you are a walker in a running event - PLEASE STAY TO THE BACK OF THE PACK! Sheesh. First off, to all those that walk a half marathon I give you a hearty HOOYAH! I mean, hey, you are out there doing it too and I really admire that. Perhaps this will be your stepping stone to running it in the future? I like walkers. Honestly. I don't mind them in races at all. However, what I do mind is walkers several people wide walking in front of the runners. At the very least move to the side of the road. Pretty please!

But I digress. So I was off like a herd of turds. We wrapped around the Parliment buildings where I saw Mom and Dad and smiled for a photo op. It was the start and I am happy to report I felt great. Good pace, steady breathing, looked at my heart rate....oh. Hmm. I wonder if that's high. Well I am in a race and it's the start so I'll just go with it. My breathing seems fine...

I shall spare you all the nitty gritty details of the first 17 kms of the run. The gist of it is I was having a wonderful time. I challenged myself with my pace, I charged up the inclines, I smiled a lot, I enjoyed the view, and I stayed in the moment. All was well until....

Until I hit the 17 km mark. Or was it the 16 km mark? I am not sure, but it's a bit of a moot point. Someone thought it would be funny to put a wall up somewhere between the 16 and 17 km mark and I hit it. Hard. Ooompff. Oh. This is why we train for half marathons. Nuts!

You know that sound that a guitar string makes when it snaps? Well I'm sure I started hearing that. Left hip - ping! Right hip - ping! Right quad - piNG! Right IT band PING!!!! Oh my. I was hurting. A lot. For a very split second I thought of stopping. But what if I was near the two hour mark, I thought. I could look at my watch...no, I can't do that. I just must push on no matter what. Please Universe let me get to the finish of my own power and not of that of a medical team. That would upset the parental unit.

I knew what I had to do to get to that finish line...it was now IRONTIME! Time to pull out my killer mental strength and push on. So for 2 km I said to myself, rather forcefully, 'I am strong, I am powerful! I can do this!' With about 1.5 km left I heard two fellows talking behind me. One mentioned he'd hoped to break two hours, but it looked like it would be more like 2:10. Pooh! I wasn't going to get under 2 hours.

Did I slow down after hearing that?! Hell no! Well, not voluntarily at least. I started back into my mantra and tried to run as hard as I could. At times I wondered if I was moving at all because I felt like my pace had slowed so much in the last few kilometeres. There was really nothing I could do though. I was even gritting my teeth. Then I remembered the best thing to do to relax is smile. So I did. Kind of. I tried at least. Not sure if it looked like a smile.

Finally I could hear the Mighty Steve King's voice and I could see the finish line. Dad called out to me but it was all I could do to keep one foot going in front of the other to the finish. At last - I was there!

I must say, I wasn't super stoked about my time, 2:07:07, but I also wasn't disappointed. I was 30 seconds slower than the last two times I'd run here. I should add that I trained for those races!

After the race I did what I normally do - I reflected on the event to see what I could learn....

  • The most obvious lesson - TRAIN for races!

  • Although Victoria is not a 'hilly' route, it is undulating and that is challenging in it's own right. I don't think I've given it credit before.

  • I have to find a balance between Ironman training season where I'm all about training, and the off season. This year, I seemed to think the off season meant do very little. Granted there were some reasons for not being able to train a lot, but I really need to get at least an hour a day five days a week.

  • My lack of training has aided in my weight gain and I'm not happy about it. I am not going to worry about it though, I'm just going to get back into a normal exercise routine. (I don't consider IM training 'normal'.)

  • I like the CarbBoom chocolate gels - they are quite yummy!

  • Although I don't set time goals for triathlon, due to my 'still learning endurance' physical ability, I really would like to break that two hour mark and I think I can with some actual training.

  • I'm quite proud of myself for getting to the finish when I did. Was it my goal? No. Was I upset that I didn't reach my goal? Nope! I just sat back and thought about how I could learn from the experience. It was all good.

So to sum up, it was a great day out there. Granted I am still paying for it physically. Although I can now go up a set of stairs, going down is rather awkward, not to mention somewhat painful. I realize just how much you use core stability in a race because it's been a couple of days and I still can't cough without feeling my sides ache. Sheesh. I am so thankful I have an accupuncture appointment tomorrow. Val will make things all better!

I hope everyone had a brilliant Thanksgiving weekend. I know I did!

Peace out my ever thoughtful friends!

PS. On the way to the car, after the race, I managed to find a place to sit for a moment...


  1. Hey Susi...good on ya for sticking it out when the body is nudging you to quit!! Great run!

  2. Awesome run Susi!!! Hahahahaha!! Atta girl! Oh, man, I was laughing all the way through your post. You have a contagious positivity. I think I caught some of the Susi virus after reading your post. :)

    I am so proud of you for actually starting the race and then for pulling out the mental strength when you needed it. I am so proud of what you accomplished!! You did bugger all for training too. LOL!!

    Way to go Susi!! I can't wait for you to come and visit this weekend -- bad news is Mike might still be here so you and Peanut will be on the Murphy bed. The good news is, I'm going to make you a Wii character so we can practice boxing -- it's going to be so much fun. You can pick this training function where you see how many punching bags you can knock off in a minute. It is hilarious -- all the more so, because we scream things to encourage you. Hahahahaha!!!!!

  3. Awesome Susi, I forgot that was this last weekend. Good job on guttin it out!! Just don't tell your non-running friends that you did it on no training. They will look at you funny.

  4. Oopsie. Yeah, I meant next weekend!! LOL!!!

  5. Hey...what the hell...you got a medal outta the deal!!

  6. Great job!! I love Victoria-must have been a beautiful course..

  7. Hey Susi!

    Congratulations on finishing the race! :) I winced when I read of your hips & IT band breaking down. I so know that feeling.

    Also - I completely agree with your vent on the walkers. It's great that they're doing the distance, but stay to the back of the pack.

    Hope you're feeling better soon!


  8. Great run and I heart the moose.

  9. Congratz on your finish. I really like your attitude about the whole thing!

    Chocolate Carb-boom are the bomb! I have been using them for the past 3 years.