25K Training Ended & Race Update – So What’s Next?

Well I survived my first 25K race. Assuming you’ve followed along, you know what a journey this has been with training and injuries along the way. I spent the last two weeks prior to the race not being able to run because of severe shin pain that I developed in a 10 mile race two weeks before the 25K and then a subsequent run two days later of 5.5 miles that ended up causing me to go into retreat and repair mode with my shin!

Just a quick recap. My original goal was to complete the 25K. Goal met! My secondary goal became as I felt stronger, to complete it in less than 2.5 hours. Goal not met! This was a bummer to me but I’m chalking it up as “newbie mistakes” that contributed to missing goal number 2! I did finish in 2:33:26 so I only missed that goal by 3 1/2 minutes and I had nothing left in the tank when I crossed the finish line so it was the best I was going to do for this year.

Race day brought beautiful weather if you are a fish! The temps were slated for a high of 42 deg. that day and we were less than 40 deg. at race time. They had also predicted rain for the entire day but we actually got lucky with that and other than a few sprinkles it stayed mostly dry during the actual run. The real killer was the wind! The wind was blowing steady in the 20 mph range and gusting upward of 35 mph. At least the “into the wind” portion was the outbound route and not the return!

So how did I miss my 2.5 hour goal? Well two things did me in. The first was not being able to run those two weeks prior to the race. Even though those two weeks were “tapering weeks”, not running at all was not good. I tried riding my bike everyday instead as replacement training and even though it helped, it wasn’t what I needed.

The second and most important thing that contributed to me missing my secondary goal was inexperience. I got caught up in the “excitement of the race” and even though everyone had told me not to go out too fast and I had my Garmin GPS to tell me how fast I was going, I still fell prey to going too fast, too soon, for too long. By the time I realized it, it was too late to do anything about it and I hit a wall at 12 miles like I hadn’t hit for 6 weeks during my training.

I had ingested way too much GU, had way too much caffeine and adrenaline flowing, early on, and simply met my match as to how hard I could push myself at this point for an extended period of time.  My heart rate usually averages around 160 for an extended run like that but I was close to 180 for most of this race and I ended up feeling like it.

A friend of mine said it best…I had 12 miles of enjoyable running and 3.5 miles of “character building”. There was no way I wasn’t going to finish the race, but I was thinking I was going to have to crawl across the finish line instead of run! I was never so relieved to cross a finish line as I was that day! I didn’t know I could exhaust myself to that point, but I did! I averaged about 8.3 minute miles for the first 10 miles and had slowed to an agonizing 11+ mpm pace for the remaining ones and gave back everything I had gained! So frustrating…live and learn I guess :O)

With the cold and wind, my calves were cramping so bad that the 1 mile walk back to the car after the race was almost excruciating. At one point I tried to use the stairs in a building and wound up with the worst charlie horse I’ve I had in a long time! Ended taking the ramp instead.

The local news station did a story on me the evening of the race which they titled “Running for his life” as they had gotten my bio from  the race forum about the former fat guy with type II diabetes and most every other fat disease know to man. You can see the video here http://www.wwmt.com/video/?videoId=83808836001&lineupId=1155191568 .

Next year will be different. I won’t be going out too fast, and I won’t overdose on caffeine before or during my race and I will better my time next year by at least 10 minutes.

For now, I’m in physical therapy for my shin pain to see if I can become a “pain free runner”. They have higher hopes for me than I do but we’ll see how it goes. I figure I’ll give it a few weeks and make my judgments after that. My next race is an easy one as it’s only a 5K and on a relatively flat course. Now to work on speed as soon as I can get back to running and not be stuck on the bicycle due to this darned shin pain!

Be a better new you and shed that fat guy that was just “One pound ago”!

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