I’m not sure if it’s just the time of year, or having been on vacation, or perhaps I overdid things earlier in the year again, but it’s been tough to get out in order to get in the miles lately. Despite the motivational issues, I haven’t done too badly – the mileage just isn’t up to what I was doing earlier this year.
Since last Tuesday’s race (where I didn’t feel great) I have managed 3 runs, 1 race and 1 bike ride (only my 4th ride of the year – probably should do something about that). Don’t worry I’m not going to bore you with all the details, but I do want to reflect on the race at least…
Sunday morning was the Miles for Minds 5k in Edison, NJ. I ran this race for the first time last year because I was in a multi-race battle to try and beat Rolf. This year Rolf was also the reason I ran it, but the circumstances were very different. If you click through to the link to his blog above then you will see that he is recovering from a major injury which he documented in his previous blog. This was his “comeback” race.
I also had another motivational factor – last year I won my age group, and I was hoping I could repeat that this year.
I don’t know about anyone else, but sometimes before a race my body shuts down – sometimes this is the morning of the race, sometimes it’s the day before. It can take a variety of forms – stomach issues, extreme tiredness. It’s not that I feel nervous or anything (at least I’m not aware of it if I am) – with the tiredness it’s almost like my body is trying to make sure I conserve enough energy for the effort, but I have no idea what the stomach issues are about. Is it just something that affects me? It’s not something you really talk about I guess so I have no idea if anyone else goes through similar things.
On Sunday morning I had the stomach issues, but it wasn’t like anything that had happened before other races and I felt like I might actually throw up. I knew I had to go to the race, but I also knew I could run it with Rolf as he isn’t up to his old race speeds quite yet. I felt like I couldn’t eat anything but I forced myself to eat a protein bar and surprisingly things started to feel a bit better.
At the park when it came time for warming up I still wasn’t sure. A slow jog seemed to be making my stomach do little back flips so it wasn’t looking good for the age group win, but somehow it seemed to settle as we got further into the warm up – I decided to go out racing and ease off if I felt like I couldn’t make it round.
The course for Miles for Minds is not exactly what you would call flat, so I knew this wasn’t going to be a PR. Last year I had run this well though – better than I expected. Roosevelt Park in Edison is quite hilly and the course includes quite a few turns. It didn’t feel as “easy” as I seem to recall it being last year and even though I was maintaining a good pace it was a bit of a struggle. I passed a few people, but got passed by a couple towards the end and didn’t have enough kick to try and stay with them, but ultimately I was very happy as it was enough to get the age group win.
The next part was the most important though – after grabbing a bottle of water I ran back down the course to run in with Rolf – he’d been chatting away with Alberto for the whole race but they’d still been running at a decent pace so it wasn’t far before I came across them and ran with them back down towards the finish again. Next year Rolf, I hope to be battling it out with you again.
As the subject of this post is motivation, I have to mention the River to Sea Relay this Saturday. I’m in a team consisting entirely of people who have never run this before, and it’s tough to know what to expect. It feels like there have been hundreds of pages of documents relating to it, and then there’s the stresses around replacing team members who have dropped out. This, at times, has lead me to wonder why I’m doing it, but now as it’s so close I think I’m finally settling into the realization that this should be a really good fun day out.
Has anyone reading this run the River to Sea relay in NJ before? Any advice for first-timers?