One of the best ways to learn is from the experiences of others, and so I thought it would be fun to write a quick recap of my race, and the training.
I think the first lesson I learned from this experience is that writing my own training plan is not the most effective idea. It seemed, really simple, I do it for other people, why not do it for myself. Well, as it turns out, it is very easy to put yourself on the back burner, and also you tend to negotiate and not push yourself the way someone else might. Next time I will definitely be hiring a coach, and not trying to coach myself.
The next error that I made was not sticking to my training plan and moving it around a bit too much at the end of the plan. In order to accommodate some family stuff I moved a long run to a Monday, and then that following Sunday set out to do another long run, except now I didn’t have the same amount of time between long runs. It didn’t affect me on that run, but the following week I ended up with a small calf strain, jumping over something in the road while on a training run. To be clear there is nothing wrong with moving stuff around to fit in family stuff, and general life, but I should have made sure to work in the right amount of rest and take into account that decreased rest time when planning the following week and I did not. Interestingly enough, this is something I would always do for people that I coach, just reinforcing the idea that it’s better to have someone looking out for you, than to always try and do it all yourself.
Enough of what I messed up, how about what I did right! The injury fell right before the Dutchess County Classic, and I was really looking forward to racing that this year, and up until that injury had some lofty goals. However, the day before I went for a test run, and still felt some pain from the injury, and thanks to some wise advice from John (see again, need someone else looking out for you), remembered that Chicago was my “A” race and I didn’t want to sacrifice my “A” race for a “B” race. So I sat out the classic, got to play with my drone (see video here) and cheer on some amazing people! After a few more days of strategic rehab (you can see my plan here) I felt no pain, and returned to running. I knew that I wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be 2 weeks out, but was happy to be running, and excited to race.
We made sure to arrive into Chicago 2 days early, just to leave room for any travel issues, got to the expo, checked in and saw a bit of Chicago before relaxing and getting prepped for the race. Come race day the weather was basically the only weather I hadn’t trained in all summer, coldish and raining. Even with that weather the streets were packed and it was hard not to get excited with the large crowds. I set out a plan to keep a nice easy pace, and enjoy the race. I wasn’t going to push it, as I was still not 100% confident in the calf. Everything was going great, until about mile 15, when the wheels sort of fell off. I couldn’t quite explain why, but it felt like I was getting stabbed in the stomach with each step, I was following the full nutritional plan that worked well in training, but it wasn’t going great that day. After some thought I figured out that, it was cold and raining (I know how could I forget), and I wasn’t really sweating as much as normal, but part of my plan was salt tabs, to replace the sodium lost from sweating. I quickly stopped at a water stop and drank a bunch of water, changed out one of my bottles for all water, and quickly felt much better. I then got to enjoy the last 10k and take in what I could!
Now it’s time to put all these lessons to good use and plan for next year!!