Today was the day, my first race ever! I cannot tell you how relaxed I was compared to my show jumping competitions. I’ve competed in show jumping on the Finnish national and regional levels for over 8 years and I used to have the worst show nerves ever. I often spent the whole week prior to the show all nervous and panicking. I’m grateful for those experiences though because it has forced me to work on my mental weaknesses and find ways to handle my nerves.
It was so chill to just get out of bed, get dressed, have a good breakfast and head to the venue not having to worry about how my horse is going to be, will I remember how to ride, have I packed all the million things I’ll need… Nice for a change.
I keep promising myself to warm up better next time but I rarely do despite knowing that I’m the kind of runner who really needs a proper warm up. I’m so bad at running that there’s no such thing as a ’’warm up run’’ for me 😀 Usually I do some reverse lunges, squats, squat jumps, calf raises and different leg swings to open up my hips. Before starting to run I almost always have a good 5 minute brisk walk. However today I just did none of these and probably added a minute to my time for it.
There were some serious looking runners in my group and after the gun went off, they disappeared from my sight pretty quick. The fastest male ran the course in a bit over 16 minutes… Respect. I started off maybe a bit faster than I should’ve considering my nonexistent warm up but surprisingly that didn’t come back to haunt me. I was stoked halfway through because I knew I was going faster than my regular pace and it wasn’t even feeling bad.
Two things surprised me positively: I had no trouble breathing whatsoever. I often get this ’’fit’’ after 1k where I just can’t breathe. Usually I slow down or even walk it off. It goes away pretty quickly after which I feel like I could run all day. Today none of that happened! The second thing was that my legs felt pretty fresh the whole way through.
You might be thinking that I had a good race at this point. Well that’s not entirely how it went down in the end. I have mentioned this problem before but I’m super super super prone to getting headaches. Doesn’t matter what I’m doing: running, studying, watching tv or just chilling, I just get headaches really easily. I’m pretty sure that dehydration (and squinting because I didn’t have sunnies) caused it again because the cup of water I had at the finish line immediately helped but it’s still a bit weird since I really drank heaps before the race starting yesterday evening.
The headache kicked in a bit after I was midway through and I immediately knew what was coming. It gets bad fast, coming in in waves. That’s what make them so agonizing: it goes away completely for 10 seconds and then it hits even harder when it comes back. It’s the throbbing kind where I can ’’see’’ my heartbeat as my vision blurs every time my heart beats. Crazy, I know and it’s hard to explain.
Anyway, after that kicked in I really slowed my pace. It doesn’t really help to slow down, the waves are still going to be just as brutal but at that point it just seems so hard to give maximum effort. It was really kinda disheartening to have a would- be amazing first race ’’ruined’’ by my old nemesis, the headache.
Because of this, I totally underperformed the second half of the way. I’m super happy that I kept on pushing anyway and didn’t stop or walk and ended up crossing the finish line in 31,57 minutes. My goal was to do it under 31 minutes which in all honesty I could’ve done without the headache. All in all, I’m happy with the end result and the disappointment is long gone now. I keep reminding myself that there are so many people in these kind of events that run shorter distances and aim to be faster every time. My goal isn’t in the 5k’s, 10k’s or even in half marathons. I’m not going to compare myself (a total beginner who couldn’t run a kilometer without dying three months ago) to any of the people there today. My goal is in trail marathons so there’s no point worrying about my 5k time at this point.
With the UTMB week going on (or just ending now), I got a massive boost in motivation and signed up to run a 9,8k trail race in October. It’s 5 weeks away now so it should be doable. For those that don’t know, UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc) is a world class running festival in the Alps that hosts several famous ultra trail races like the OCC, TDS, CCC and the UTMB itself. I had a bunch of runners I was rooting for in the CCC and TDS and all of them did pretty amazing jobs! Serious respect to anyone who dares to even sign up let alone finishes those races!
I watch quite a bit of running related stuff on YouTube and I’d just like to give a shoutout to Harry Jones and Dan Whitehead. Harry is a British (ultra) runner, one of the fastest in southeast Asia (he lives in Thailand). Last year he did the CCC (101k) for the first time and came in 20- something and this year he made it to 8th place! Dan is an Australian runner who makes these stunning videos and vlogs about his running and lifestyle in general. He finished the TDS (121k!) in just over 19 hours this year which just mind blowing to me. I seriously recommend you check out both channels because they are both pretty darn awesome ( Harry Runs and Dan Whitehead ).
That’ll do it for this post. A recap of this past week is coming (couch to 5K week 9 recap) tomorrow so stay tuned for that. I feel like I’ll probably be doing the Speedgoat review next week as well and I’m really looking forward to that. Hope your running is going great and I wish you all a pleasant new week!