This is another non-race report. I like writing them. And maybe someone out there likes reading them. Anyway. They’re a great way for me to be more mindful of how my races go and how to keep improving.
The Course: the second of the Royal Parks 10K summer series; several laps of Regent’s Park, a London park I’d never visited previously.
The Goal: I gave myself 3 separate goals:
- Plan A: PB at under 50 mins
- Plan B: PB at anything under 53 minutes
- Plan C: Don’t die and/or injure self seriously.
Remember I said in my last Rundown that I was going to experiment with pre-race nutrition? Lies, all lies. It turns out I’m a creature of habit, especially when nervous! I went for porridge with banana, raspberries and blueberries, and several strong cups of coffee. In the half hour spent mulling around at race HQ I had a packet of sesame snaps. I’ve never had a problem eating something light directly before running.
I hadn’t been to Regent’s Park before and had no idea what the course was going to be like, which didn’t help my nerves. I had a less than ideal morning:
- I couldn’t sleep the night before and almost overslept as a result.
- Digestion wasn’t in my favour and I couldn’t *ahem* go to the bathroom before I left for the race. The fear is real guys.
- My Garmin broke. When I finally got it working, it was almost out of battery – I had to frantically charge it at race HQ
- I didn’t check the weather forecast and assumed it would be sunny. I even put on sunscreen.
When I was less than 5 minutes away from Race HQ, it started to rain slightly. Oh well, I thought, it’ll pass. Spoiler alert: did not pass. It turned into some pretty heavy and cold rain, which made the whole experience a lot less fun. At my previous race, everyone was chatty and jovial, but this time, people just wanted to get their head down, get it over with, and get home for a cuppa and a hot shower. Myself included.
At the start line I started to curse myself for signing up. I mean, who gets up early on a Sunday to run around in the cold and wet for an hour with a bunch of strangers?!
The race got off to a good start. I had Plan A splits written on my left arm; Plan B on my right, and I had to decide within the first Km which one it was going to be. Luckily, it was Plan A. I don’t remember much of the race; it was horribly disorienting due to the heavy rain and what felt like endless loops of tarmac. I even saw a camel which confused me even more. (The course passed London Zoo).
I stuck to my Plan A and powered through. I breathlessly cheered on a stranger as we pushed through the last 800 metres. It was his first ever race, and we started chatting after he heard me swearing angrily and repeatedly to myself. I think he wanted some company and a bit of a push. When I went over to congratulate him at the finish line, he said I’d ruined him. In a good way, I can only hope.
I PR’d!! 49:18 bitches! This was a whole 4 minutes quicker than my last race so I’m chuffed.
I didn’t pack enough warm layers for after the race, or come to think of it, spare shoes. So I did the (90 minute!) journey home shivering in squelching wet trainers, whilst my dad messaged me continually to warn of the dangers of hypothermia.
On arriving home I had a very hot shower, PBJ on toast, and Malteasers. Then I foam rolled. I did yoga at some point before bed, but probably not enough. I didn’t nap, which was a huge error in that it took me almost a week to feel fully recovered from the day. I was the grumpiest shit at work on Monday. I sounded like a 90 year old every time I moved.
What I learnt this time:
- I like my pre-race porridge, and I’m a creature of habit.
- Plan ahead for god’s sake. Check the bloody weather forecast.
- Take spare shoes and layers.
- Charge your sodding Garmin pre-race.
- Glute strength! I could really feel the weakness in my bum as I wanted to push hard in the last k, but was unable to.
- Run the course the week before to minimize nerves.
This race was pretty underwhelming, but I guess you have to take the bad with the good. At least I PB’d! #winning.
How do you deal with a bad race? And do you nap afterwards?