“Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like the muscles of the body.” Lynn Jennings
I signed up for NFWI a few months back to ultimately perform an A speed race. Since leaving the roads, it’s hard to not get the urge to race fast…I mean as much as I love trekking uphill for 50 miles…it feels incredible to turn on my wheels!!
The alarm sounded a bit early on Sunday morning with extra time to spare. I wished Brian luck one more time sending him off to the Lakefront Marathon (which he killed!) by 5am. Did my morning race routine (it’s so intense, I know) which includes eating and watching Phineas and Ferb before heading to Ottawa Lake…a beautiful section of the Ice Age Trail in the southern Kettle area. I was pretty jittery for some reason until after warm ups. I really wanted to give it my all.
The gun started and wave 1 was off…I looked down at my watch about a half mile in…640. Whoops. Probably started too fast. 😛 After about a mile flat, it hit…the first hill which honestly felt like a roller coaster heading to the top. It was that gradual long hill that I absolutely avoid when training. My legs said, “what are you doing?!? We hike these things!” My head said, “Why did you sign up for a half?!? You run long and steady!” And my heart said, “you need to hit the podium today.” Needless to say my hiking skills stayed away today.
Hanging in 2nd through about mile 4, I was caught after having to stop at a road crossing. I suppose getting hit by a car wouldn’t be good but gosh was it rough for me after losing focus and momentum. Took a vfuel gel, tweaked my ankle twice but no biggie then, and hung in third until about mile 8. The whole time my head kept wondering what my problem was for this shake up. It was not easy to ignore! The mind games were intense during this race and took every bit of me to stay on pace.
At mile 8 I took another vfuel gel, lost a bit of focus, and there went the ankle. I stopped in my tracks and had to walk that one off. Settled back in and by mile 10… stopped in my tracks again with a second big roll. Passed again. Twice.
I surprisingly didn’t throw in the towel at this point and by mile 11 I saw Dave, a great friend of mine captaining the aide station. I ran right to him for a hug. It’s all I needed. He asked if I was dropping and I said ‘no.’ He said I needed to go; there was only 1.8 left. The 6th female passed me and remained 10 yards ahead to the end. I pushed a 7 min/mi for that last section. As I was turning into the finish with about 25 yards left…roll. OMG!! Limped to the finish and felt so foolish!!
About two weeks ago I did what every runner (every klutzy runner like myself) should avoid….I went to a trampoline park and left with a grapefruit ankle. A few days off helped but I went into NF with a weaker ankle than I’d like. Still, that’s no excuse in the end. My performance was not stellar finishing in 145 (34th overall/7th female/1st AG), nor did I come close to a PR, sub 126. In the end I learned what I need to work on for the next 8 weeks before the 50 mile Championships.
I first need to rid my head of insecurities…I sit in my head too much and forget what’s in my heart. And I need to push the hill workouts. After talking with Rivs, I’ll be adding in another productive training day with hills galore! My favorite…
A few positive takeaways… I have my nutrition and hydration dialed in on race morning and racing. I also have a ridiculously awesome support network. I learned I need that on site. And simply having Rivs as my coach. My whole mentality changed after talking to him…this race is out of my element and should be done as a test of speed, not one of skill. I am a long distance runner and much prefer high miles.
Shoes: Altra Olympus … Brilliant. And Swiftwick compression socks…absolutely love them!!
Hydration: Orangemud handheld and still in love with it!!
Nutrition: vfuel Gels … If you haven’t tried it, I dare you!!
Up next…more races just like thrusting my speed base. One marathon, one 5k, and two halves. All workouts to prep for the big dog in December. 8 weeks. Let’s do it!