Wednesday, 20 May 2015

How to have a Great Race, but Do All the Wrong Things

I found out a few months ago that I would be heading out to Halifax for the Bluenose Marathon for work. And I immediately got excited and signed up for the Half Marathon, thinking it looked like a fun event and that I don't often have the excuse to head out there. But as the event got closer and I started looking at my work schedule - I started to question if combining work and racing was really such a good idea?

I decided I still wanted to race, but knew that I was guaranteed to have the WORST Race Prep of all time, so I had no expectations.

I woke at 4:30am on Wednesday to finishing packing and to get to the airport for my early morning flight. I landed in Halifax at noon, met up with our East Coast Sales Rep, and went immediately into meetings. And that was pretty much the pace for the rest of rest of trip.

There are few cardinal rules that runners have about race day and race prep. And I pretty confident I broke every single one of them last week.

1. Don't eat anything new and/or different a few days before a race
That is pretty much all I did. I was on the road or at the race expo, so I just ate when I could and had what was available. I tried to make smart choices when possible, but I don't know how successful I was. I missed several meals because of my hectic schedule - including lunch the day before the race. I was so busy at the expo that I was only able to grab a Clif Bar at 2pm.

I had a chicken stirfry at the hotel restaurant for dinner, and then went to the corner store to grab some crackers and a box of cereal for breakfast. None of which was my normal pre-run or pre-race fuel. I just crossed my fingers and hoped my tummy would cooperate.

2. Never wear anything new on race day
Halifax is known for its unpredictable weather. So I tried to pack for all situations. But between my work clothes, my event stuff, and my workout gear I found myself missing a few things. I realized that my tights wear probably to heavy. And my shorts weren't going to be warm enough. So on a whim I bought a pair of capris, and hoped that they would be okay for race day.

3. Stay off your feet and Get lots of Rest
I spent the 2 days prior to the race at the expo standing for 9-10hrs. I also slept horribly, because I never sleep well in hotels.

I gave almost no thought to the race until the night before, as I laid out all my gear. I took a look at the course and the route, but really had no idea what to expect. I was tired. And the hilly elevation chart was stressing me out. So I opted to ignore my GPS and just run to Heart Rate the next day. I wanted to enjoy running somewhere new and celebrate my 10th Half Marathon.

I check out of the hotel before I left for the race. I left my bags with the front desk and I wandered over to the start line. I met up with my sister, who lives in Halifax, and was running her very first 10km. We chatted for a little while, and then I made my way over to the corrals.

I decided I would line up in the 2:15-2:30 section, which is where I also met up with Suzi for a pre-race pep talk and selfie.

The race started and I set out at a pace I was comfortable with. It was cool and raining for the first part of the course. There was also a decent wind coming in off the ocean. I flipped my V800 to my Heart Rate screen and promised myself I would focus on targeting Zone 4 for my run. Whatever time that resulted in would be A-Okay with me.

I felt great for the entire race, even with the hills (and Halifax is definitely hilly). I opted to walk one hill in Point Pleasant park. It was steep and lined with loose gravel, which I found quite slippery after the rain. But other than that, I just kept trucking along.

I was stunned when I crossed the line at 2:10:18

It was much faster than I was expecting. And I had a blast doing it.

Sometimes letting go of expectations and just enjoying the course is all you really need to do to have a great race!

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,