Saturday, 17 November 2012

Back to the drawing board, again

So today was the day, I was racing in a local 5k race andsub30 was the goal. I had been preparing for this race for some time, and itwould be a perfect opportunity to get that sub30, as the race was held at anairfield, so it was perfectly flat, and as luck would have it, perfect runningweather. So, all was set up for that PB, all I had to do was run like my lifedepended on it! This would set me up perfectly for a sub60 in next year’sRegency 10k.

On Thursday night I ran with Regency Runners in their 5ktime trial, and came in 30:46, so I felt reasonably confident that I would beable to shave off at least a minute to get that elusive sub30. My problem isthat every race I have ever competed in, for one reason or another, I havesomehow managed to fuck it up, why I thought today would be any different Idon't know, but I managed to fuck it up massively.

I have never been too bothered about time, getting out thereand running was always my primary goal, but since London Marathon I realisedthat if I want to call myself a proper runner, then I need to concentrate on myfitness and get faster, hence the hours in the gym. The main reason for this iswhen I ran London Marathon, I was close to two stone heavier than I am now, soI associate me running London Marathon with Extra Fat Laura, something that Iam working hard to move away from. I don’t want to be known as the fat girlthat finished London Marathon, I want to be known as the girl that changed theperson who she was and became a proper runner, make more sense now? 

I don't quite know what went wrong today; I tried so hard,maybe too hard to run a good race. I struggled to keep up with my runningfriends so decided to keep focused on me and run my own race rather than runtoo fast for the first half and then struggle to finish. As it turns outwhatever race plan I had didn't work out and theirs did, all my running matesgot that elusive sub30, yet I came in at 32:14, not even close, there is noexcuse for that. I've never felt so crushed, as no matter how hard I had triedto run faster, it just wasn't happening, I had given it everything I had, andthe result was beyond shit. 

So now I have to look at where I go from here, my initialfeeling is to just stop, as with a time like that running obviously isn’t mything, but I know that feeling is only temporary, and is stemming from a)feeling incredibly embarrassed, and b) being really really angry with myselffor fucking it up again. I could get up tomorrow and take myself out for a 5krun and given it another go, maybe it just wasn’t right on the day, but then ifI run tomorrow and don’t do it, it will confirm that I am in fact shit and willgive me more reason to quit.


  1. Hi, I really sympathise. After having a disaster at London Marathon this year, Ilost a lot of confidence and I've not run properly since. I'm aiming for the same 5k and 10k times as you are, and so far not made it. When you read about all these mega speedy people and ultra runners, it can make you feel like you're not achieving anything. Sorry, no useful words of wisdom, other than stick at it. We're doing better than the millions of people who couldn't walk, let alone run 5k. :-)

  2. Hi!

    Somewhere in my life somebody decided to call me a "runner". I never thought of myself as one and I thought I didn't like it... But then again, if you finish an ultramarathon, well I guess you have no choice but use that label.

    That said, I can understand exactly what you went through. I've screwed up races, triathlons, swimming, and more than one or two other events. Hell, if it can be done wrong, I probably have. And, despite the length of the races, I've always finished in the bottom 10%... So I feel your frustration (I've felt that way before a lot).

    But don't let failure get you down. It's a learning experience, really, and it just is a stepping stone to the next success. Practice, Patience, repetition...

    From what you described, your race sounds like several of my races including my first marathon.

    In my first marathon, I was excited like everyone else. I'd run a half marathon before, so I felt confident. I was excited and ready to roll.

    I let that excitement frak up my entire race, because I went out too fast, too soon. At mile 15, I imploded. I managed to finish but it was a horrible experience!

    And that, I think, is the number one mistake everyone makes from the 5k to the 50k. We get caught up with our buddies, the excitement, our heart rate spikes, and we hit the anaerobic point long, long before we should.

    We simply start too fast. We feel good being pumped up with all the adrenaline for the start.

    Nutrition the night before, too, effects it (oh boy has it done me in more than once).

    So here's my two bits from my own being dumb experience:

    1) Always, always start a race SLOWER than your training. Let the crowd bussle ahead and let THEM waste energy weaving in and out of people trying to get around them. Let the field spread out... Then go faster. When you're going for a PB (or a PR as us Yanks like to say) it's best to let everyone else waste energy at the start, trying to get in front, than use the energy you'll need later.

    2) In a race, a reverse split is always a better indicator of proper "racing" (when you're like us, at the back of the pack, anyway... Let those fast mutherf*er's get in front and get out of MY slow way..)

    3) Wear a HR monitor, and stay aerobic until your body warms up. Then, in the shorter races, let yourself pick up the pace until you've gone anaerobic and can still make the finish.

    4) Work on remaining calm BEFORE the race - on the outside. Trust your training.

    5) Use a GPS watch to watch your pace/HR in the beginning (The Garmin FR60 is cheap enough...)

    6) Whatever you do, don't forget to... breath. Okay, that sounds like "duh", but what I mean is do "Yoga breathing" ... Before the race, take several slow, deep, calming breaths, concentrating on your breathing to calm the heart rate. That has made a huge difference for me. Nervous energy is wasted energy :).

    Good luck, and see you out there!

    -Capn Chas


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I'm a fatty trying to get to be a thinny!