Reflections on a race well run

 

“Act like you’ve been there before.” Can’t. Haven’t been there before. This is all new to me. So, while they are still fresh, here’s some things I took from this whole process.

 

1. Training! The most important part of the training isn’t the mileage. It’s the stamina. It’s having the wind to push through. The mileage is almost irrelevant.

2. Mileage! Almost. But not quite. When you’re out there for 13.1 and you are feeling it through mile 8, you just lock in ‘I’ve got this’ mode and that’s when disaster strikes. Suddenly. Painfully. At almost exactly 10.66 miles, a mere 2.5 miles from paydirt, it felt like a sniper blew off my left calf. Pop. And then complete lock up mid stride.

3. Hydrate. Hydration is more than a ‘day of’ concern. I learned this is more a week of or month of thing. Be hydrated to the gills. You will need it.

4. Do the due diligence on the course. This is something I pride myself on but woefully fucked up this time. Know the water tables and rest rooms. Know the hills. Know that bush you can piss in between rest areas.

5. Set a goal. A realistic goal! 3:00 flat was my goal. It kept me focused during the good times and the bad.

6. Calculate the pace you need for that goal. Unlike me, calculate it correctly. I came out guns blazing because I thought I needed to flat 13:00 every mile to get there because I can’t do math. It helped, because I banked time for the midrace wall and inevitable last 2 mile struggle, but how much of that was exacerbated by picking em up and putting em down with everything I had for the first 7 miles?

7. Have fun with it. The whole time, a guy I ended up trading places with the whole race was asking me ‘when does this start being fun?’  And every time he’d ask, I’d push my answer back a mile to implore him (and myself on). Then around mile 11, he said ‘under 3 flat right?’ and I nodded. Off we went. It WAS fun.

8. Get by… with a little help from your friends. Have a posse. Have people there who want to see you through. Believing in yourself is a lot easier when others share that belief. Let them know what you need.

9. DO NOT DEVIATE FROM YOUR NORMAL PRE-RUN ROUTINE BECAUSE IT’S A ‘BIG’ RACE.  Have your normal pre run meal. Wear your normal running clothes. TAKE YOUR FREAKIN MEDICINE. I left my allergy medicine at home because I am a catastrophic moron.

10. Leave nothing back for tomorrow.  You are a weekend warrior. I get it. You have a 9 to 5er to punch in for some hours after the race. Cool. That’s the day to day. The race, the pursuit of self, the seduction of punctuating that impossible dream and shouting down the drone of ‘you can’t’ with a defiant ‘I HAVE!’ demands nothing less than everything you’ve got. It’s your goal. A Half Marathon doesn’t get undertaken lightly. Treat it accordingly with the respect and effort it deserves. Pace yourself, sure, but there will come a moment when it’s time to pedal down and go for it. You will be afforded the chance to seize it. Do so. Apologize for tomorrow when it’s time comes and regret nothing. Pride lasts forever. Pain lasts but a few hours.

Lastly, to ensure that pain lasts only but a few hours? Immediately after the race, hydrate, eat, rest, medicate, ice, heat, treat every injury quickly. Stretch once you warm down. It’ll help. You will feel like death afterward. That’s fine. You just did something borderline superhuman. There’s a price for glory. Now, tend to yourself so you can go get the next one. And there will be a next one.

Then, reflect on the lessons.  Some concerns like illness and weather are out of your sphere of influence, but will impact your race. Just let them be like water off the back of a duck. Do you. And give her everything you’ve got.

 

Advertisements

the week in sportsball: once you go gay…

Big week in the world of sports ball.

 

Michael Sam said it best at the combine: “ I don’t want to be a trailblazer. I want to be Michael Sam.”  And then Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock delivered a sermon from mount truth: “This is no longer an issue. Get it out of your system and let this kid play football.” “He should be moved UP the board for the way he handled this.” “Any organization that red flags him should be ashamed.”

 

Spot on analysis and poised delivery from Sam. Hope a team that plans to properly utilize him drafts him (and not the goddamn Jets).

 

Some quick Olympic observations: USA Men’s hockey turned in an embarrassing medal round. The Women gave it everything they had and had NOTHING to be ashamed of. GREAT effort. Glad US dominated the medal count (other than Russia). Great display of class out of the Russians turning off the scoreboard every time their hockey team lost.   By the way: the run away stars of the Olympics were the duo of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir. Amazing.

 

The Dolphins bullying scandal has claimed it’s last pounds of flesh (barring hammer falling on Pouncey). Thank god. Clean that mess up and restore some respect to our broken house.

The Braves locked up Simmons, the Best SS in baseball, Craig Kimbrel, the games best closer, MVP candidate Freddie Freeman and Julio Teheran long term. 2 year deal to oft injured Heyward too. Good if mostly quiet offseason, other than the new stadium bombshell, which enabled the spending spree we just discussed. Now go get it!

Islanders will limp to the finish without JT (who got a well deserved gold medal), Frans Nielsen for the time being, and A-Mac and Vanek who will soon be traded.  Oh well. Time to load up and have the best offseason since I became a fan. That’s the expectation.

 

By the way, Jason Collins is about to take the court and become the first openly gay male athlete in the big 4 US Sports. NBD right? Of course it’s the Brooklyn team breaking down barriers. Somewhere, Jackie Robinson is smiling.

 

Anyway, SHIELD vs WYATTS then Elimination Chamber with Nets game on the small screen. NHL Olympic trade freeze lifts in 3 hours. Expect action. I’m out. Catch ya later.   

The journey takes another step. 13.1 miles worth.

My thoughts are a blur.

There’s a funny thing about running a race. You are up before the sun and done before lunch. As I was driving home, I was reflecting on my race. There were things I need to improve. There were things that went great!

I’m so happy with my result. Firstly, thanks Kathy and Bonnie for pit crewing and getting me threw the race. Also thank Dog for tremendous weather. Well done, Yogi. Way to call in a favor with the big pooch upstairs.

Felt good waking up. Pounded a cliff bar and got some raisins. Got out there, warmed up like shit like I always do.

 

Any time they say ‘this race will positively start on time’… that’s a lie. Once we got rolling because I cant do math? I came out flying. I thought I needed a sub 13m average mile to get under my 3 hour target. I, in short, am an idiot. 12:47, 12:43, 12:56, 12:43, 13:01, 13:24, 12:45. Then the struggle became very real.  13:37. Damage control with 13:20. Then I laid a turd for mile on 11, at 13:48 and almost the same mile at 13:49. Mile 12 was death by the way, at 14:48.

 There were several takeaways! DON’T HAVE A TEN MILE RACE 5 weeks before a half. Space it more, train harder in between.  But that training would’ve been aided by not re-tearing my plantar fasciitis and ya know, the flu, but I survived. I need to hydrate better. I need to keep my sugar up.

8 months ago I began this odyssey to get in better shape for softball and hockey. I began it with one of the worst recorded 5ks in the history of man. 8 months later? My race distance is 10 miles longer and my average mile is 2 minutes quicker. Believe in yourself. Through some hard work, and sage wisdom from experienced friends, anything is possible.

 

now to recover, reflect and learn. Then i improve.

Additionally, I joined planet fitness and have been really enjoying kicking my own ass. I’ve also begun core training with the Karl Gotch bible. Expect a post on Gotch Monday or Tuesday.

 

Thanks for reading.