On Sunday I participated in my first ever women’s only race. It was a half marathon that looped through park paths with minimal road running. It was a beautiful route with old wooden bridges, streams, meadows, forests views, and one killer hill at kilometre 18.
I signed up for this race to take a break from my “competitive” race series I am participating in this year. I have found that since signing up for my race series, every race has had a higher stress level associated with and a constant obsession with pace and time. In my half in February I was more concerned with how many in my age group were in front of me than how I was running. This race was to take a break, relax, and get back to the point of running: enjoying the run!
This mind shift took some time to adjust to but by the time I went to bed on Saturday night I was not concerned with what my finishing time would be but more with taking in the whole race excitement and new route. I switched up my typical race playlist that is usually dominated by fast paced, pop, electronic, and top 40 songs and instead opted for a country dominated list that ranged from twangy ballads to honky-tonk inspired tunes.
The morning of the race I was still a bit nervous for two reasons: I was still sore from leg day on Friday and the temperatures were slated to be 8 degrees. I opted for my saucony spandex running shorts and a long sleeve technical t shirt. I wore my compression socks to not only keep my legs feeling good but also to keep them warm in the chilly air. I also opted to use my spibelt (http://www.spibelt.com/products/spibelt), something that I haven’t taken out since my marathon in January because I was afraid it would slow me down in subsequent races. But since this was a fun, get back to the root of running run I loaded up my belt with shotblocks, some money (you never know), and my phone; I’m not a runner that runs with a fuel belt or water bottles, for me the water stations in races are enough.
I was blessed to have my boyfriend come cheer me on. He ended up finding some other supporting boyfriends, brothers, and husbands to chat with at the start and finish line. We woke up at 4:30 in order to travel to the race, park, pickup my race packet, and be set to go by the start time. I was placed in corral 1 so the gun was going off at 8am sharp.
Surprisingly, I was not too tired. Since I have been off caffeine now since the detox, this was my first race that didn’t include a prerace morning coffee. I did have my green tea but that’s it. This was a factor I thought would alter my performance detrimentally but I was wrong.
Overall, I ended up running a personal best! I ran in 1:53 which beat my last record by over a minute, even with a 1.5km hill in the last 5km! My pace averaged out to be 5:25/km which I was very pleased with. I learned a lot from this race and I couldn’t be happier.
- Hill repeats really do help come race day!
- I do not need caffeine to get me energized
- It’s better to have fun and run a good race without stressing so much about results
- My Spibelt is amazing and I should use it more
- Running with women is so much fun (so much lululemon running clothes to look at on the course!) and I would do this race again
- Having my boyfriend at the finish lines makes for a good, smiling finish line photo
The temperatures ended up being perfect for a race. It probably ended up sitting at 12 degrees for the race but with no clouds, the sunlight was direct. I felt I was dressed perfectly and felt comfortable the entire run. My 5k split was 26:30 and my 10k ended up around 53 minutes; I did not have a negative split (and I’m blaming that on the hill).
I can’t wait to run in a race again now that I have this renewed ease of racing and I’m excited to see how my race photos turned out!