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Race Autopsy

March 4, 2010

Overall, I’m proud of my performance in the Bud Light Challenge. I paced myself well on Saturday, sacrificing the shortest and least important race, and pushed as hard as I could on Sunday. Though the clock says I ran it easier than my personal best, the truth is I ran as hard on Sunday as the day I finished the 13.1 in 1:49.

I wanted to take a second, post-race, to reflect on the entire event, how training went in preparation for it, and what I will take away from it.

What went well in this training cycle?
Once I had put the thought of the marathon out of my mind, I gave myself the freedom to train for this event in as focused a manner as I could. I didn’t give myself a lot of time, mind you, but thankfully I had a decent base of mileage and felt comfortable dedicating three weeks to sharpening myself for the Challenge. The most useful workout, definitely, was the back-to-back 12-milers. This workout replicated the tiredness I’d feel on Sunday morning and encouraged that back-to-back tough days were possible.

How was this training different from my past training?
Knowing that my goal at this event would be to simply finish well, and not necessarily to log personal bests, I felt the freedom to run less speedwork and more easy miles. I’m not sure I’ve consciously done that before, except maybe with the marathon. I knew I’d set myself a challenge, but I was certain I could do it (unlike with the marathon, which always has a degree of I might not finish this, especially for your first one when it’s all so unknown). With three fairly short distances, I knew, barring injury, I’d finish all three races–which left only the issue of how comfortably and well I’d finish.

Would I do it again?
Absolutely! The Challenge gave me the chance to do something different with my running, to push and measure my endurance in a way I hadn’t been asked to do it before. And I liked the sense of being in that same starting corral over and over that weekend, the sense that it was becoming more home-like to me and that Bayshore Avenue became such a familiar route.

In training for it, I’d do almost exactly the same kind of training, though I’d love to not have that valley of almost nonexistent running I went through this winter.

What did I do wrong?

  • I should have packed tights. I knew a cold front was moving in, and I just didn’t think the mercury would get so darn low. But since we were driving to the race, it was inexcusable not to throw in tights–space was not an issue. Good lesson, though.
  • I should have recovered better after the first day’s races. An ice bath, or even a dip in the pool, would have been ideal. And when will I learn I cannot go two hours after racing before I get coffee?

What new discoveries did I make about gear/tools/tricks?

  • When running an event like this, it was useful to carry my belt with meds, bandaids, extra KT tape, etc. I knew my family was planning to meet us at the finish, but with the weather being iffy, it was absolutely crucial that I was prepared to race again without a crew if I needed to, and without chancing a return to the hotel room.
  • The long-sleeve fleece from Goodwill was a great investment for $2. When I shucked it at the start I felt no guilt whatsoever, and I was so thankful to be warm while I walked around the waterfront in mid-40s, windy, pre-storm weather.
  • That my strategizing is better than I had imagined. Though I was tired during the half, I achieved a better result than I had hoped, mostly because I stuck to the plan and was willing to take a personal worst at the 5k distance. I sacrificed the right race.
  • That my friends and family were pulling for me, even from far away. My phone, which died Saturday afternoon, greeted me Monday night with a logjam of messages, texts, and Facebook postings asking about my results. I was so warmed to know people were thinking of me, and especially from those friends who are non-runners, it meant a lot to me that they cared about this inane thing I was involved in.

What’s next?

Huh. Funny you should ask. We have a new event being run here, basically in my backyard–a 10k race. It’s on Saturday, and yes, I’m running it. I know I won’t come in under 49 minutes and set a personal best (heck, I’ll be surprised if I come in sub-59), but I want to support the race since 10ks in our area are extremely few and far between.

Following that, my eyes are set on a 7-mile race in the middle of April. Last year, coming off the difficulty of my first marathon, I placed in my age group, but this year I’m in a tougher age group and placing will become much more difficult, but it’s a challenge I’m willing to take on. I really want to train for that race and perform better at it than I did last year.

And to wrap up my thoughts about the Challenge:

The Good:

  • My, is this race ever generous with the swag! Each race gave away a shirt and a finisher’s medal. In addition, runners registered for each race received a reusable canvas shopping bag from Publix. Yeah, you heard me. I walked away with four shirts, four medals, and four canvas bags. And that doesn’t include all the expo freebies!
  • $125 dollars for 25.5 fantastic miles? At this race, trust me, you can see where the money went. Excellent organization, unparalleled volunteers, big expo . . . I still think it was money extremely well spent.
  • The on-course entertainment in all three races was top-notch. The flute player was back on Davis Islands, as was the torch juggler. Radio stations kept us encouraged along the way. Just fabulous.
  • We stayed at the same hotel this year, and the location is really ideal.
  • The race courses are well staged. The start is the same for every race, as is the finish–and the two are just blocks apart. Makes it so easy for those of us who felt like we spent a lot of time this weekend in that five-block radius.

The Bad:

  • Well, getting a migraine Saturday wasn’t ideal, but that was my fault.

The Ugly:

  • One of my pictures from the half looks like I’ve put on 20 pounds instead of 4. Frightening, really. For future reference, when the shirt you have tied around your waist is the same color as your tank, it just looks like you have a spare tire. Not good.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2010 4:21 pm

    congrats on all the races! those medals are fantastic looking – i hope you can come up with a great way to display them. sounds like everything went well overall; we’re always gonna have a few “coulda done’s” like your tights and post-race recovery on saturday.

  2. the Ringmaster permalink*
    March 11, 2010 4:45 pm

    Thanks, Lindsay. The medals ARE fantastic! And I can’t believe I haven’t shared with you all my fabulous new medal rack! I got it for Christmas–points for the Boss! I’ll write about it soon.

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