Lessons Learned from a Less Than Ideal Race – Canada Day ‘EPIC Canadian’ Edition

My 10km Epic Canadian Race on Canada Day was Hot and Humid!

Post Race Me 🙂
We went into the long weekend here on the East Coast of Canada (Nova Scotia) with some hot and humid weather.  This was my first summer race.  Ever.  My previous 10km races were a while ago.  A Bluenose 10km and a Valley Harvest 10km.  I was a sub 1 hour 10km girl then.  Three years ago for the last one, lol.
Lesson #1:  Keep on hydrating the night before, even if you think you are adequately hydrated and keep an eye on the weather.
I woke up a little late on Friday, had my usual coffee and oatmeal and got dressed.  The meal was a little later than I would have liked, but I needed food.
Lesson #2:  Stick to your alarm and get up on time to make sure you eat long enough beforehand.  Also, drink more water.
I met up with some friends after hanging around the post party area for awhile.  We chatted and then it was time to head up to the start line.  I was feeling the heat and my body was sore from increasing my weights at the gym.  We hopped in close to the front and soon we were off!
Lesson #3:  No matter how excited and pumped you may feel.  STOP STARTING FAST!  For some reason, at at least one race, I forget this lesson and start out faster than I should.
I ran with a RunAtCan Twitter bud and did 10 and 1s with her up until 4kms.  Then I was not feeling so great.  With the heat, the late breakfast, and going out fast, it was a recipe for nauseous stomach.

Lesson #4:  Always have 3 “goal times”.  One for an ideal day.  One for an okay day.  One for a “Oh My God I May Not Make It Through This Day Alive” day. 

At 4kms with my stomach wanting to empty its contents, I knew I was not going to pull out a good time.  It became an “Oh My God I May Not Make It Through This Day Alive”  goal time day.  I took water at every water stop after that.  Some for me, some over my neck.  I had electrolytes in my water belt (Nuun).
Lesson #5:  All races teach us a lesson.  Good and bad.  Embrace the run and if you can, finish strong.
I got a little of my mojo back in Shubie Park and felt okay.  Hit the turnaround (with some tunes being played on the race route) and started back downhill.
Cruising along and hit 7kms.
Bottom of the hill.
PAIN IN MY CALF.  Similar to the pain during my training run for the Bluenose Half.    I was pretty close to crying.  For real.
I stopped for a minute.  Walked.  Ran a bit.  Walked.  Ran a bit.
Chugged along in the gross hot and humid conditions.  Water and Nuun when I needed it.
I sucked it up after my freezie fix about 500m (give or take) out from the finish and ran to the Finish Line.
My chip time was 1:08.  Two minutes less than my last goal time.  And really, not a bad finish at all considering the conditions.  But I will admit, in that moment, I was so upset that I did not finish in under an hour.
Final Lesson:  STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP.  (For me:  Remember that your surgeon told you to run and enjoy it.  You are NOT going to pull out a fast pace like you used to do with the OCD in the knee.)  Run because you love to run.
So,  I am back to my physio exercises for my calf.  Will continue to do my gym workouts.   Back to yoga classes at the gym (I need a teacher to guide my form).  Keep my weight training going and ease up on myself.  Do some nice easy runs once the calf is happy and enjoy the ride until the next race in September 🙂
What lessons have you taken away from your bad race??