Posted by: stokiecat | August 31, 2014

Learning Curve – NSRRA Race 10

A post about my first Did Not Finish

The Stone St Micheal’s 10k is a popular race that takes place in June. Two laps round the canal town of Stone, it’s flat and fast, well organised with good local support.  I quite enjoyed it last year but this year I was not enthusiastic and I should have seen the signs before I even started and probably in hindsight, not run it.

I have recently discovered I don’t do well in the heat and once again it was ridiculously hot. My legs were still feeling heavy from the Potters ‘Arf and the Shugborough relays. The queue for the toilets before the race was massive (this is the one thing I would suggest to the organisers – more portaloos) and I couldn’t find anywhere secluded enough to go outside before the race. This, coupled with the fact I had drunk extra water to try to overcome the heat meant that I would probably need the toilet sooner rather than later.  Fellow TRC runner Emily had already chosen to drop this race (not even entered) preferring to support which also made it tempting to just sit and bask in the sun on the field with the other assorted families supporting.

However I did a short warm up and decided to hang back at the start. I surprised myself and I felt much stronger than I expected. I passed a couple of runners who were dropping out at the first lap due to the heat but by the time I started the second lap I was going quicker and stronger than I had expected and I thought this was actually going to turn into one of my better races, maybe even a PB. This time I actually overtook Bobbie and made it to another NSRRA runner, Andy, who is usually faster than me but had started to walk due to the heat.  When I reached him I gave him a bit of encouragement and he ran with me for about half a mile but then, disaster struck. I felt like I had been kicked hard in the leg and had to stop completely. I crouched down in the middle of the road but one of the marshals saw me and sensibly helped me over to the side so that I didn’t cause an obstruction for the other runners coming though. I thought that a complete stop was the best option until the pain subsided. I waved Andy on and a concerned Bobbie who was coming up behind me. I hoped to carry on but I just couldn’t get going again. By this point I was also desperate for the toilet and I felt rubbish. Two other runners were also down so we were picked up by the support van and ferried back to the start.

I felt disappointed and ashamed I couldn’t finish, quite frankly it was embarrassing. I was angry that I only had about 1.5 miles left to go and I was definitely on for a better time than last year, if not a PB. I wallowed in self-pity for the rest of that day (I still haven’t been able to look at the results or the photos) but in the end I think there were positives even in defeat:

1. The friendliness and concern from other runners, and the help from the race marshals , shows there is a real sense of community in running.

2. It isn’t the end of the world to not run a race if you aren’t in the right frame of mind. It’s way less embarrassing to not start than drop out once you’ve started.

3. It might sound ridiculous but I think I was suffering from a mini-burnout. I’ve gone from beginner to league runner in 12 months and at my age that might have been over-reaching 🙂 It was my fourth race in quick succession, before all of which I had pre-race jitters and I was putting way to much psychological stress on myself.

4. Paying attention to how you feel racing and training, and not to ignore it, is actually quite important. I should have read the signs better.

5. Wallowing in failure isn’t good. Get straight back on that horse and at least trot. I decided to spend the following week on short runs at a slow pace and remember why I enjoyed running in the first place. It’s a good job because I had more races coming up in quick succession and I couldn’t afford to wallow to long but more of that in my next post…

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