April 25, 2022
There is an interesting phenomenon that happens during shoulder season races here in the Canadian Prairies. Four days ago we had a blizzard, and the streets were covered with five centimeters of snow, and a biting cold wind reminded us that any kind of weather was never a guarantee around here. As I woke up at 6am on Sunday morning, race day, there were traces of that cold lingering in the air, tho nearly all the snow had melted again. I stepped out my back door and I could see my breath and the chill was obvious.
So all that meant that three hours until race start, I decided to wear long pants.
I should know better. I should trust my experience.
It was nearly ten degrees Celsius by the time the gun went, and we trotted across the start line towards a the first of many inclines in a rolling suburban sixteen kilometer race.
A small local race shortly after the easing of pandemic restrictions meant that two-thirds of the racers were people who had kept up their sport in earnest during the lockdowns. Folks were fast out of the gate and of the eighty or so racers, even at our respectable amature pace we were quickly in the back quarter of the pack.
And ten minutes in I was already too hot.
Any one of the factors I might have been able to deal with. Being overdressed. Pushing to keep pace with a strong field. Rolling low-grade elevation change. And first-local-race anxiety, just to name a few of the big ones. One, maybe two, of these things could have made for a great race. After all, there was little pressure to do anything but finish. I had shorts in my hands and had chosen pants and dressed properly it was darn near a perfect running day. And I've been running hills and doing hill training regularly for nearly a month since the main snow of winter cleared up. It should have been a great race.
By ten klicks in my heart was beating a little too fast. Fluttering even. I could feel that pre-nausea, wisps of lightheadedness swirling around my vision. We took a few extra walk breaks, and worked it through, but the ten miler was starting to feel nearly two or three times that distance. By ten klicks in I was starting to feel like I'd just pushed through thirty.
In the end we slogged across the finish line only about seven minutes slower than our A-Goal time. Many of the more elite racers were long since done, tho a dozen more people crossed long after we were gulping our water and enjoying our free ice cream bars.
I have another race in about a month: longer, warmer, and with far less pavement. Time to evaluate and adjust, though not nearly enough time to re-train.
And Monday morning, back at the office, I'm sore and sleepy, and spending my lunch break walking off a mediocre race.
April 1, 2022
I bowed to some peer pressure and put my name into run a local ten miler with a friend, a race I realize is really just a few short weeks away.