I had had a busy week, but I was feeling good on race day. I was running this race with the 2XU team so I met with my fellow teammates Angela and Jess pre-race to take our necessary team/triplet photos.
I started to get nervous as I made my way down to the start. The pressure to run a strong race was starting to set in. My run buddy JP and my coach Michelle lined up with me to pace me through the race. I shot off the line, and JP and Michelle were yelling at me to slow down. I calmed my pace down and was running strong for the the first few kilometers.
I am not sure if I was tired. I am not sure if I was over-dressed. I am not sure if I was slightly dehydrated. I am not sure if the pressure of performing got to me. Or if it just wasn't my day. But I couldn't control my heart rate. And I was reminded that running with a Robot Heart can be complicated. JP and Michelle were chatting and encouraging me all the way along, but I knew pretty early on things were just not clicking.
During last week's race I ran an average pace of 5:19/km, and I ran it comfortably. My average heart rate was 165bpm and I topped out at 171bpm only when pushing it up that massive hill. On Sunday my average pace was actually slower at 5:22/km, and I spent 41 minutes in zone 5 running with heart rate between 181-187bpm. My heart was not cooperating, my anxiety set in, and I could not push the way I had hoped.
|Left: HR from Harry's and Right: HR from Yonge Street|
Sunday ended up being a humbling race, and I was definitely frustrated. My legs were fresh when I finished, so I know on a different day I was capable of better. Sometimes you can do everything right, but heart rate can be unpredictable, especially when you have a robot heart to worry about. I know these types of races happen to every runner, but I definitely take it harder than most. For me it feels like my body has let me down again. And I get angry that my body isn't consistently strong, despite all the hard work I put into my training.My expectations tend to be slightly unrealistic in this department, so I am trying to take Sunday's race with a grain of salt.
Unfortunately my Heart Rate ceiling is set in stone, my defibrillator will fire if I reach 200bpm (and yes it has happened before) so I have to be cautious when I enter Zone 5. I also tend to get anxious when pushing the pace because of this - likely a contributing factor to my elevated Heart Rate. So Sunday wasn't my day, but I was still smiling when it was all said and done.
I spent the day surrounded by my awesome running community. And despite a tough race, I know I am making progress. With more time I will figure out what I need on race day and develop more strategies to keep my heart rate in check. I am chalking it all up to a learning experience, and focusing on moving forward. Coach agrees that despite my wonky heart, I looked strong. So we will reassess my pace and time goals for my next race.
Onward and Upward. Progress not Perfection.
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,