We’re talking about more than a year ago, October 27, 2013.
I have trained for this day … a lot, yet I’m very nervous.
This is the first A-race I’ve planned in all my “running career”.
Day before I laid everything out and hung the bike rack to the car so The Girlfriend could pedal from one point to another and see me go :p
Race day … 6:30am
Had a good night of sleep and woke up fairly rested, time for breakfast.
Thinking I needed a breakfast of champions I go for
- 3 white slices of bread
- Dark chocolate
- No milk, but lots of water.
Start of the race was 11:45 but it was a drive of 1h45, so we got going at about 8:30 am to surely be on time.
Drive was fine, I stressed as little as possible in the passenger seat and tried to clear my head.
Once there the nerves hit me. Looking for my bib I saw all these professional runners and got nervous.
I could choose between two corrals: -3:30 and +3:30.
Seeing I aimed for 3:30 I doubted but went for the -3:30 to push myself a little with faster runners.
Fast forward to the start (nothing happened that all of you don’t know: dressing, being nervous, going to the bathroom thrice, …)
Waiting in the first corral I say to myself I should keep running in my first 2 zones as long as possible, preferably until mile 20. Then I could see what’s left in the tank and speed up if necessary for my goal time. (3:30 = 5:00 min/km = 8min/mile)
I think you all know what they say about plans. I stand there, full adrenaline, seeing my heart rate is already at about zone 2 and the gun goes off.
Go go go … don’t go too fast, DON’T go too fast, … 1km: 4:39 HR: 155 (end of zone 2) *grmbl*
So i didn’t take the best of starts. Every damn article talks about this mistake and I knew it, yet I went. 2nd km was too fast as well (4:43) before I got to pace myself.
Most of the following kilometers where at about 5:00 pace so that went well, but my heart rate was definitely too high. I felt it went well, but was afraid for the notorious wall at km 30-35 (~mile 20) or so. But feeling strong (and naive?) I kept going at this pace.
I brought gel and meli cookies with me, both great for carbs. Had one bottle of water with me and 2 waiting at given points with supplies.
Planning on eating one of these every 30min and drinking every km I had a solid nutritional plan, gladly it was one I actually stuck too!
Everything was very solid until about halfway. That was when it got thoughts. Luckily The Girlfriend stood there and pedaled some time along with me. After 3km we sadly met an official saying this was not allowed, so it was plodding off on my own again.
The course was 2 times the same lap which meant I now knew what was coming.
Nice part through the woods lifted my spirits, but not my pace. It got harder and harder to get 5min km, but slicing the remaining distance in pieces helped a lot mentally.
Last part of 4miles got really hard, quads started cramping, it was a boring piece with lots of wind and I knew an uphill and bridge part were coming up. I started passing ever lore walking people what was somehow helping but triggered a little voice in ly head as well. A voice that stated all those people were better trained, so if they were walking, surely I could for a bit. And if that meant not getting my goal time there was always another.
I pushed the voice away, clenched my teeth and got to the final part. Could wave to the girlfriend, could pass some walkers, started seeing more people along the way, last piece uphill was coming with the bridge after it and I pushed through, heavy as it was…
The finish got closer, a nice banner was put up at the last 500m stretch. I wanted to speed up a little for the last part, but the cramp was too close. Just running out was a-okay at this point.