The Story of Two Different 10Ks.
When I’m training for a half-marathon, I like to do some 10ks to push myself a little and to add diversity to my training schedule. Since I’m training for the Runner’s World Half in October, I was glad there were two 10Ks two weeks apart on the same course in my area.
But wow, talk about two different experiences!
The first 10k was miserable, but the second one was excellent.
It was my best 10k since my return to running post-accident!
Some of the reasons for the different experiences were out of my control, but many were within my control. Obviously the weather was out of my control…
First 10k: Temps were in the high 70s with high humidity.
Second 10k: Temps were in the mid 60s with low humidity.
So the weather for the first one wasn’t as good as for the second one, but
because I like to blame others another major culprit was peer pressure. Okay, maybe not exactly peer pressure, but pressure from other runners… namely the women’s Olympic marathon! Thanks to it airing the morning of the first 10k, I went to the race all jazzed up. (Why didn’t the Olympic Committee and/or NBC ask my opinion on when to air that race?!)
Watching half of it before going to the 10k was enough to psyche me up and allow an unreasonable portion of my cranium to convince me that I can run faster than I normally do.
Those super-gazelle-women made running 5-minute miles look easy, and while I’m not stupid enough to think I can run 5 minute miles, I thought I could push it and run faster than I normally do. So unrealistic expectations had me making the age-old mistake of starting way too fast.
Plus I forgot my timer which dictates my run/walk times, so I ran too long without taking my usual walking breaks. Within a few miles, I was exhausted and cursing my body, running and runners everywhere!
Toward the end of the race, my legs and lungs were screaming and I had no choice but to slow down. And because I was
annoyed without a timer, I took too many and too long walking breaks. I couldn’t wait to see that finish line and I wondered why I would ever do another run.
Fast-forward two weeks… another 10k, same course,
better weather, an unpleasant memory and a working brain.
Before this race started, I did a mile walk/jog which does two things… helps me get centered/focused and helps my body warm up properly so I don’t get exercise-induced asthma. At the previous 10k, I skipped it because I was talking to other runners and checking the Olympic marathon results online. (darn NBC!)
When the race started I was near the back of the crowd and I was determined to run my own race… and I did. I used my run/walk timer and stuck with a routine I was comfortable with for the first 3 miles. At the halfway point, I was feeling good, so I had energy to decrease my walking breaks and increase my running pace during the last half.
I crossed the finish line feeling so much better than two weeks prior and 5 minutes faster.
(first 10k= 1:13:40 and second 10k= 1:08:39)
Running is good for me and I run to be healthy today and long into the future… so feeling good when I finish a run or race is important to me, because that increases the chances of me continuing it longterm.
Lesson learned: you can’t expect your body to do more than it’s trained for just because you are jazzed up emotionally. The way to feel good while exercising is to train well, follow a similar routine and to keep your expectations realistic.
So if you’re training for a fall race, like the Runner’s World Half… try to do a few shorter races between now and then, so you have some experience with how you may or may not react when you’re faced with various challenges or your brain freezes.
And if you have a run where your common sense
takes a vacation like mine did,
know that it isn’t the end of the world.
What good or not-so-good running experiences have you had?