Race Recap: The River Run Classic Half-Marathon

WARNING: This recap might sound whiney, and it is, but that is just how I feel, so that is how it goes sometimes.

Let us start out by saying when I crossed the finish line, I looked at my watch and saw that I ran a 1:56:55. A whole 30 seconds slower than my PR.

I worked hard at running for over a year to get a sub 2 time, so that fact that I could get a sub 2 hour time while having what I consider a bad race, is encouraging, but overall I wish it had all gone differently.

When I woke up on race morning my legs were stiff. I know this is because I did not taper for this race. My goal race is still the Edmonton marathon, so I have been running significantly higher milage than one would expect in the two weeks before a race, (65-85km weeks) which does not equal fresh legs on race day, I only took 1 extra day off pre-race, so I don't know what I expected. I grabbed some breakfast, and soaked my legs in a hot bath to try and relieve some of the tension I was feeling and left my house 45mins prior to the start.

By the time I drove to the start line, most of the tension felt like it had eased off a little, and I was more optimistic about the race. 

The gun went, and off we were. My music was good and I was feeling happy. 3km went by pretty uneventful, I settled into my pace and was feeling strong. I love running on this section of the river. The views are beautiful, and the weather was just perfect. 

Then my stomach started to feel terrible. I pushed through until the washrooms at 5km and ducked in for a pit-stop. Once starting again, I knew that this was it for me. It was not going to be a PR day. My upset stomach was not backing off in the slightest, and I knew it was only going to get worse.

It was really hard to stay mentally tough, as I saw my PR slipping away. I wanted to give up so many times and just walk it in. It was really frustrating. I know my upset stomach was caused by the meds I am on, and there was just nothing to be done about it but to try and push through. And I really did try to do just that.

I stopped at the same washroom again on the way back, and powered through to the finish.

I am happy that even a race that feels really bad can now get me a sub-2 finish, I am proud of that, but more than that I am now really hungry for a really great race. To have one day filled with race-magic that I can just really hit the ground running and leave everything I have out on the course.

I know that I have more to give. I know I can go sub 1:50. It just didn't happen that day. I may not be 100% satisfied with how the race went on Sunday but I do know that it is moving be closer to being a better runner. I need to plan more mental strategies for when my body says no. Even though I was in pain, I was still able to kick out a sub 5min km at the end, so I know when I put my mind to it I can push through, and that I have more to give than I have been giving. I am going to use all this disappointment to spur me on to making my next race something that I can be truly happy with, and proud of. 

Take a walk (run) on Easy Street

It seems as though it is a season of firsts. If I thought last weeks 73km was intense, it has got nothing on this weeks 82.3km.

I never believed that I would run over 80km in a week. I think this was mostly due to the fact that when I initially began running, I wanted every run that I did to be a new PR (Personal Record). Every 5km I would go out to run, I wanted it to be my best 5km ever! Which day after day is just not practical or feasible. Eventually, always trying to run your fastest is going to lead to overtraining, fatigue, burnout, or even injury.

What I am learning in training for the Edmonton Marathon is running at different paces. Over 50% of my running these days is done at my easy pace (6:07-6:33/km) which at the beginning of the week feels deathly slow, it is hard to stop myself from going out to fast, I want to run faster. But I don't. I take it easy knowing that I will never make it through the week if I burn out my legs on Monday.

Easy running is hard! You look at the pace, and it can be disheartening, it looks slow, and makes you feel slow, because you know you could run it at 1min+ faster per km.

But I am hoping that this exercise in patience will pay off. I can definitely run farther than I thought in a week. My 26km run on Sunday was one of my best long runs to date, all done in hot and humid weather.

I remind myself that easy running:
-promotes tendon development
-builds specific muscle fiber adaptations
-promotes bone development
-increases mitochondrial growth and disbursement
-adds to glycogen storage/fat utilization
-increases general endurance
-improves your running economy/accumulated mileage
-improves your VO2 max
-increases capillary density
(taken from the Hansons Marathon Method)

That is a lot of benefits! So instead of trying to chase down a PR every run, by going fast, I am chasing down PR's at specific races and training smart.

Pile on the Miles (Kilometres)

Over the last 6 days I have run 73km. This is the farthest I have ever run in a week. At the beginning it seemed really easy. (of course!) I had a hard time keeping my 'easy pace' easy. It kept wanting to creep up faster, but let me tell you, by day six, I had no problem nailing that easy pace. My legs are tired!

It is a good feeling though. Very rarely do my legs get sore after a workout, (even after running the marathon in April, my legs felt good to go the next day.) They seem to recover pretty quickly. Today, however, I am relishing in a rest day with compression socks on and elevation where possible.

I feel accomplished, and am really happy that I was able to push myself out the door to get my running done. Which was not easy one day it was 30ºC (86ºF) and I had a 16km run on the books, I went out and got it done, on pace. I was tempted to ask some folks having a backyard barbecue to refill my water bottle, but in the end felt it was too weird, and pushed on until I got home.

Hopefully, I can keep this train rolling and just hit the Edmonton Marathon out of the ballpark.

8 and a half weeks left till Edmonton, and 1 and a half weeks till the River Run Classic Half!