I’m pretty sure it happens to all of us at one point. Someone that races or competes in any event that requires physical exertion on a regular basis, is bound to have days that just don’t go well, ones that you are fatigued, or you are simply not feeling it. Well, today was one of those days. Having said that, overall the race did go surprisingly well despite my body and legs become increasingly more tired as the miles went on. But let’s start from the beginning shall we?
Even though the race did not start until 8:00 am and I only live about 35 minutes away, I still woke up at 5:15 to make sure I had everything ready to go and time to spare. Yay for the bed head
Although it does not look like this in the above picture, I had a glorious night sleep (which is unusual for me before a race)! I actually found it rather difficult to separate myself from my nice comfy bed, again rather abnormal. Anyway, I had laid out everything, clothes, bag, camera, phone, food, the night before, so packing would go smoothly. I have had experiences with waking up later than I intended and of course did not organize myself earlier and end up scrambling and running around making sure I have everything. So yes, I avoid that situation at all costs now
Sadly, my mom was not able to join me this morning because she works night at her hospital, and has been on the job non-stop lately, the woman needed a break! I can’t blame her for not wanting to get up at the ass crack of dawn and stand around for a few hours when she’s exhausted After having coffee and doing my business (thank goodness and yes, TMI) I left my house alone at 6:30 and made it to the location of the race, the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, in exactly 35 minutes.
I still had just about an hour to relax so I sat in my car for awhile and ate a breakfast to fuel while listening to my current book on CD, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (review on this later).
I consumed three small pieces of whole wheat, seedy bread with almond butter and a sliced banana, aka a pretty standard pre-run meal. Now I would like to note something about this breakfast with a comparison to one year ago. Last year before this race, I can remember making myself have a no-fat plain container of greek yogurt with a sliced banana mixed in. This was so terrifying for me at the time because 1) I was eating a forbidden food- banana and 2) I was having way too many calories far too early in the day! Yes, I was worried about the amount of calories I was having before a 13 mile run… yeeshe.
I departed from my car and walked over to the start of the race to check my bag, one more bathroom break and find my bearings.
I heard that there were about 9,000 runners for this entire event. Most people were signed up for the Half, but they also offered a 5 mile run which several individuals participated in. I found that the volunteers and organizers of the event did a great job of telling people where to go, leaving plenty of space available for the thousands of people there, there were several bathrooms (still endless lines of course) and I never found myself feeling lost or unsure where to go. So good for them
Because I went alone to the race but still wanted some pictures of myself there (a bit narcissistic perhaps…) so I asked some random people if they wouldn’t mind snapping a pick, and they all kindly obliged
I went outside at 7:55, found my place in the huge crowd of people, hear the National Anthem, listened to the sound of the horn and was off!
I don’t own a Garmin or another pace watch, so I cannot provide my mile splits (I really want one though!). However, I can tell you that I felt absolutely fantastic in the beginning and felt worse and worse each mile. Here is rough breakdown of the race, and my general thoughts and feelings in these mile segments. These are not exact of course, but I’m sure you will get the idea
Like I said, started how feeling great as if I was back to my old energized, running self. In those first few miles, my competitive, controlling brain kicked in for a bit and I told myself that maybe, just maybe I could PR today. Yes, I did exactly what I and many readers told myself that I would not do. Yesterday, I was determined from the very beginning to approach this race with no expectations and to simply enjoy the atmosphere. But as soon as I felt powerful, the possibility of a getting a best time was thrilling and with how I was feeling, I anticipated a very successful race.
“Hmm, my legs are starting to feel a bit tired… oh well I’m sure it will go away!”
“Not going away, legs are definitely exhausted. Urghh hear comes a hill. Oh wow that hurt, thank goodness for down hills!”
“Alright so I just reached 5 miles, err only 8 miles left. Okay wow, do not think of it that way, remember to enjoy the experience dammit!”
It was during this time that I became quite aware of how hot and humid it was outside. It was pretty breezing which helped a bit, but when you could not feel the wind, the heat seemed to be absorbing my whole body. Sweating for me, and every other person around me, was becoming somewhat of an issue. I am not usually that much of a “sweater” but this occasion was certainly an exception! Cute I know.
At the 10k mark, I was at about 45 minutes but could feel myself becoming progressively more tired. It was between that mile and the next that I told myself it would be okay to not PR, and this actually made me feel so much better. Although I was still freakin tired, remembering that I did not need to exert all physical effort my body was capable of was so helpful and provided me with a sense of relief.
“Good god it’s hot outside. Oh man, there is no wind on this stretch.”
“So so tired, must walk. Okay get it going again. Ahh more walking needed. I will walk to that pole and then run two miles.”
“Two miles a success, walking break again.”
This was the first race I allowed myself to take walking breaks. I now realize how beneficial these are as they gave me a small amount of time to recover which allowed me to run a few more minutes. I won’t lie though, it was during this distance that I felt the most defeated. There were still more than 5 miles to go and I could feel myself feeling like crap. I started acting like a crazy person and talking to myself a bit, “Well at least you can’t feel any worse than this.” Or, “Tessa, it’s fine to slow down, remember the advice you read!” I can honestly say I did reflect on the comments from yesterday’s post about it being FINE not to go gung-ho during this race. So I slowed down my pace and kept on trekking along.
Miles 10- Finish
“Bleh, must move away from the guy running next to me, his sweat is being flung very close in my direction!
“So hot, so tired. This sucks. No stop this thinking. You have felt more intense fatigue before AND the faster you run, the faster you get to stop and be done with this dang race!
“Alright woman, only a 5k left. Remember how many times you have completed a 5k, you are perfectly capable of doing this. And again, you probably can’t feel much worse than you already do!”
(Between mile 11-12), “Are you kidding me, that was only ONE mile?! That felt like the slowest, longest one yet!
“YES, one mile to go. Just over this hill… gah that hurt! Final stretch…. almost there… oh dear guy down near the finish…. and DONE! Walking is good.”
Even though I ate a Gu pack at mile 10, those last few were the worst. I was simply worn out and the race really needed to end. Reflecting on it now, it feels like the finish came so quickly, but while I was out there, the distance was being covered, what felt like, much too slow.
Despite my fatigue, the heat, walking breaks, other people’s sweat being flicked onto me, and my legs feeling like two dead weights, I only added 5ish minutes to my time from last year, finishing at 1:45.57! (I am number 567)
I am very pleased with this time, and am honestly surprised. Like I said, I took several walking breaks and could tell how much slower I felt. Well perhaps next year will be the most successful time yet
Afterward, I immediately refueled with a banana, half of a dry bagel and copious amounts of water and Gatorade. Last year, I of course did not refuel properly, actually avoiding Gu during the run and not having anything immediately after because I was conserving calories. Now I was worried about calories after the race too! Well my body certainly rebelled against me and for the rest of the day, I was quite sick. Stomach cramps and nausea became all too familiar and I spent the day hysterical because of my mortal fear of throwing up (more on this later… it requires attention ) So, I tried to avoid this at all costs and tentatively ate and drank proper amounts of nutrients right after. I do still have some stomach issues going on, but nothing compared to last year’s post race!
Oh and I asked another random person to take a picture right after near the finishing line… he happily obliged.
After stretching, I texted a fellow blogger Alaina wishing her a strong finish! She resonded soon after telling me she was done and we made plans right there to meet up. Both of us had actually tried to meet yesterday at the Expo and right before the race, but we did finally manage it after the run
Say hello to Alaina and go check out her blog, The Jogging Concierge , it is truly fantastic and she is a lovely, great person as well! I also met her parents who had run the 5 mile race and were super nice too… it was so nice to meet you Alaina and your parents, amazing job today
Before I left to drive home, I grabbed as much free food as I could. Confession: I tend to hoard free stuff, even when it is completely unnecessary to have… I need to work on this! I am the last person who needs even more granola bars or cereal!
Overall, I am happy with my decision to run this race. I did not PR, I felt like poo, but I did learn a lesson about knowing when not to push yourself and listening to your body. When I felt utterly fatigued, I slowed down and walked when I needed to, and realized the world would not end if I did so. This is not a sign of weakness at all. It shows that I am finally understanding how and when to listen to my body, and going balls-to-the-walls in everything I do is not necessary. Any experience can be enjoyable, you just have to have the right attitude and learn to adjust when things are not going a certain way.
If I had done this race even a few months ago with the fatigue I have been experiencing, I most likely would have said something like, “screw you body, I am going for it” and pushed myself past into a dangerous point of exhaustion. I have been about control for so long now, and feeling the need for everything to go my way. It seems that everyday now, I have experiences providing evidence that when I am not in control of every aspect of my own life and things and people involved, it is certainly not the end of the world and it seems the results are much more positive. I think I am going to keep going along with this whole “listening to your body” thing and being okay with changes that are made. I believe that only beneficial results will be seen.
And now I am off to my friend’s 21st birthday party where I am going to be in a social environment and eat whatever I want to…. or as much as I can without my still somewhat crampy stomach rebelling against me! Oh and I am bringing this:
How was your weekend been going so far?
Did you participate in any races or events?
What are your plans for Memorial Day? Are you bringing any delicious foods?
Please share, I would love to hear from you!
Have a great Sunday night and I hope you are enjoying this holiday weekend!