Yesterday, I ran my first race over 10k in just over 10 years. I finished a half marathon in Kelowna in late 2002 but I was injured before I even officially started training for it, it wasn’t good. It’s a great story for a different post.
Appropriately named the Chilly Chase, you have a choice of distances 5k, 10k, or 15k, I went with the 15k. The day called for rain and it rained and it was chilly, I’m glad I put another undershirt on at the last minute. I’m pretty old school and I’m not really a fan of races with finisher medals for distances under a half marathon but I needed a race over 10k to let me know where I am with my training and at the end of the day medals are still cool.
Two weekends ago, on my last long run before the race, I turned my ankle over on some train tracks. I didn’t sprain it but I gave it a decent twist. I slowed down and was able to keep running for a bit and then it started to pinch so I stopped and stretched it out. I’ve turned my ankles over enough times that I’ve only been wrong once about continuing to run. I begrudgingly took two days off before trying a test run on it. It felt good enough to run on, but after a few tight turns I knew it didn’t feel good enough to do the hill or the speed training I had planned. I ended up cutting a couple more runs out and shortening the distance on almost all of the runs in that last two weeks. I knew my endurance would be fine, but it was still quite frustrating because I felt really ready for this race and no one ever wants to cut back their training.
I went out with a race plan but I wasn’t as pedantic as I usually am. It’s a new distance for me to race so I didn’t see the point. I also knew that I was going to learn so much during this run that I could end up changing a lot on the fly. I really should have stuck with my plan for the first 5.
I did over shoot my pace, but that is up for debate in my brain because I got a stitch at around 3k. I also went out too fast and I had a bit of a mental battle with myself about slowing down, I subsequently did slow down and then I was forced to slow down even more for the stitch. If I’m going to get a stitch I tend to get it in one of two places. I get a mild one on the left side just above the belly button, that one doesn’t tend to slow me down it is just irritating, it also doesn’t normally leave any pain in my abs the next day. The one I get on the right is bad from the moment it comes on. And it came on from the right. The only thing that I can think of that I did wrong was possibly drinking my energizer drink too late. I did consider drinking it sooner because I generally drink it and then get ready for my run leaving more than the twenty minutes is says you should wait on the container. I look back and wonder if I should have walked it out but at the same time I have ran through the right side stitch before and once it was gone it was gone. This fucker gave me very little reprieve.
I wanted to keep all of my splits in the first 5k between 4:50 and 4:59, my first split was 4:38; the second 5 I was thinking maybe 4:45 to 4:49 and I didn’t have any idea what I would feel like running the final 5 in. I had a gel shot with me but was worried about bringing in any more fluid with my stitch but took some water to wash it down with anyway. By the time I hit the turnaround point I had seriously considered walking and was growing tired of the pain, I was rubbing at it and poking my fingers as deep into the spot as I could but it just wasn’t giving. I fought as hard as I could not to let it get to me, but I did almost cry at one point around the back of Lost Lagoon.
Near the end, I contemplated walking again but decided that was ridiculous, I had made it that far. I was finding myself getting stuck in my head telling myself to get the hell out of my head. I tried, inner smile, just run. It’s always 50/50 if that mantra is going to work. I’d also been running the first 10k well within the top ten women and I had my target in front of me and was letting her lead the way but she dropped me by the 8th km and with that the final 5 meant a few more women passed me than I would have liked but I was still the 12th overall female. And don’t get me wrong though, I’m extremely happy with that. Also, 153 people ran the 15k, I was elated to see that I finished in 39th place. Take that stupid stitch.
I had told Adam that I thought I’d be in between 1:11 and 1:15 minutes. I also told him that if I wasn’t in sight by an hour and fifteen minutes that my race had gone to shit. I do believe that were it not for the stitch that I would have been able to stick more to my planned splits, endurance wise I felt fine minus the drain from the pain but I can’t dwell on it! I still feel that I did very well for only the second time racing a distance over 10k. Without a doubt I’ll be finding lessons from that race for weeks to come that are going to help me immensely in upcoming races and in training runs for that matter. I crossed the finish line feeling that overall my body had held up better than I thought it would in, 1:15:10.