Last Saturday I ran a local 10k for the 1st time in over a year.
Since it was the week following my tri, it wasn’t as much about racing, as it was about establishing a new set of norms.
You see, I’m breaking up with my Ipod.
I’ve been trying to emulate race day scenarios as much as possible. I figure since MP3s are forbidden on the race course, there’s absolutely no point in using them, as a crutch, during training.
Doing so, will hurt far more than it would ever help. On race day, when the mind starts craving distractions, things will go downhill quickly if coping skills have not been perfected. It’s near impossible to hone these necessary tactics while flipping through a playlist or singing along to Crazy Train (come on, you know you do!) for the millionth time. Since my body doesn’t like to be told “no” on short notice, I’m gradually weaning it from all the things it has determined it “needs” to perform. That’s what Saturday was all about. A bit of a reality check for the mind.
NOTE TO USER : this is a long and painful process, not to be taken lightly.
I kept telling myself, Saturday morning, how beneficial all this is all going be in the long run (no pun intended). The same Saturday morning when it was so hot and humid I thought I’d jumped to a late-August 10k instead of one slated for an early April morning. Ah, but ’tis the south and one never can predict the weather. I got lucky the week before with a cool front just prior to the race. Two weeks in a row was too much to ask for, I guess! If I was going to suffer, why not make it down right unbearable?!
Not much to say about the race really. It was a small town 10k and there are always issues with how these things are done around here.
I’m trying to just roll with it, but when people are forced to wear fuel belts for a 6.2 mile race (I counted 12 and that was just in my immediate vicinity)…well, in my opinion, that’s a problem. It was a full on sunny, miserably hot and humid kind of morning. The kind where it’s hard to get a good deep breath while your sipping coffee on the porch. There were only 2 aid stations and the people working them were hoarding water. A volunteer went as far as to take back a cup from another runner and myself when we each reached for a second. Not good, not good at all!
Then there were the road issues. Our lovely piece of heaven here has been under constant road construction since Hurricane Katrina. This city is only about 10 square miles, yet they have been working on the roads for over 5 years. I guess, the week prior to the race, the city started demolishing yet another street to be repaved. Instead of altering the course, it was decided to just barrel over it and “do the best you can do”. Who can run on this crap?
Good thing it wasn’t a “race”, right?? Between the heat, humidity and shitty roads it was more like an episode of Survivor than a local 10k.
It was not a pretty day for me. I struggled more than I care to admit. Time is not all that official in these parts (go figure), so I base it on my Garmin’s readout… 58 minutes and change (58:28/9:21 pace or so… it pains me to write it as I wanted to do sooo much better…but it wasn’t really a race, right???). My heart rate was through the roof…over 170bpm. Not good at all and so I’ve been working on getting that under control this week.
Running under those conditions, for that long, without any distractions proved possible, but difficult. As time goes on it gets easier, but last Saturday I was really wishing for the Ipod fairy, a local rock band or for the guy running next to me to start singing, cracking jokes, ANYTHING to get me through to the finish line.
No luck. It was up to me and me alone. And that, my friends, was the whole point of the day!
All in all, not a bad way to spend an hour or so on a Saturday morning. I got some valuable practice and learned some important lessons.
I even got a t-shirt out of the deal…you gotta love that!!!
And I almost forgot, I placed 3rd in my age group…and wasn’t even racing 😉 !
New Orleans 70.3 is this weekend. Save travels to those heading into town!
Run Happy, My Friends!