My first race report of 2014! 😀
And to be honest, I came very close to not having to write this report, as I came very close to not racing at all. The week before the race was filled with pain and disappointments. I started having pain in my left knee last week Tuesday, to the point that I could barely stand, walk or sit without pain. I cancelled all my training sessions, rested my leg as much as possible, but I was already mentally prepared to not race on Sunday — even though I was extremely disappointed. This would mean cancelling a second race in a row (last time was December, when I got a really bad cold the day before my first 15K race). Add to that the fear of not being able to run anytime soon, of having to back out of my half-marathon in May, etc. I was really not a happy camper. The CPC Loop in The Hague is special to me. My first ever race, a 5K back in 2008, was during this event. And not being able to take part was even more disappointing!
On Saturday, my knee was doing better, but then I got struck by a migraine that never really left me all day, despite pain killers. I was starting to be hopeful though, thinking that maybe, just maybe, I’d be able to race the day after, after a good night’s sleep.
Unfortunately, I woke up in the middle of the night on Sunday with an even more painful migraine than the day before. Popped some painkillers, went back to bed, slept a few more hours, but alas, my pain level was unchanged. The irony was that my knee was feeling absolutely fine. I apologized to my husband, I said I wasn’t going to be able to go to the race to cheer him on (he was going to race his first ever 10K!) and I went back to bed. A couple of hours later, I was starting to feel a bit better — my head was still pounding, but I decided to just man up and go to the race to cheer for my hubby. I put my running gear on, just in case. As we arrived, my headache was definitely feeling better, still not gone completely, but I decided — what the heck, let’s just run this 10K, enjoy the GORGEOUS weather (16°C! in March!) and do my best.
And we were off! I had no racing plan, besides beating my personal record of 1:17:06. Anything below that would be fantastic! But I wasn’t too hopeful, considering the pounding in my head and the threat of knee pain…
I started pretty quick, way below my usual fast 10K pace of 7:00 min/km. I was curious to see how long I was going to be able to hold that pace! The pounding in my head slowly went away around the 3rd kilometer. What a relief! Around the 4th kilometer, I somehow managed to catch up with the 1:05 pacer guy. I tried to keep up with him, and I managed to keep a relative constant pace until about the 7th kilometer, but I was getting really tired by now, so I slowed down a bit and let him go his merry way. But looking at the splits, I did accelerate and ran faster in the 2nd 5K than in the 1st. I really didn’t expect that!
|Split||Time||Moving Time||Distance||Avg Pace||Best Pace||Avg HR||Max HR|
Around the 8th kilometer, that’s when the knee pain struck, this time in the shape of cramping/pain of the ITB. I slowed down, stretched my quads a bit (with my heels touching my bum at each step), and the pain went away almost instantly. Pfew! Crisis aborted! I cranked up the pace again, with the finish soon in sight, I just wanted to get this over with!
And FINALLY, the finish. I sprinted like a mad woman and crossed the line after 1:08:19 — more than 8 minutes faster than my earlier PR! I seriously didn’t expect such a result! I’m chuffed!
And I couldn’t help but make a parallel between my first race 5 years ago, and Sunday’s race. What a difference 5 years make. My weight ballooned during those 5 years, and I had to resort to WLS in 2012 to finally lose weight and get back into running, but I’m now fitter and leaner than I ever was.
Now, back to our regular programming of swimming, running, strength training and occasionally biking. My next race is early April, another 10K, but I’m not sure about that one. I have another 10K the weekend right after, a more prestigious (!) one, and I think I prefer to keep my energy for that race. We’ll see!