You know how surprised you get when you expect something to go in one direction and it totally ends up going in the opposite direction?
Well, that’s what happened to me at the Fornebuløpet 10K this week. I totally got knocked for a loop.
I started out thinking that Fornebuløpet was going to be a much easier race than Sentrumsløpet. I had more time to train for this race. The course was flatter. It was in the evening. The weather was beautiful. What could go wrong?
I should have known that something was wrong from the moment I woke up on Wednesday. I was tired. Really tired. But, then I guess that’s what happens when I only get 5 hours of sleep. Duh.
My sad, sad story of woe
All day long, I couldn’t shake the tiredness from my body. I drank three cups of coffee where my max i normally two. I tried not to yawn a lot as I sat in an all day work meeting with 9 other colleagues. I tried hard to pay attention to what people were saying. but all I could think about was if anyone would notice if I just closed for just a few seconds. Just a tiny few seconds. What would that hurt?
I didn’t eat enough that day. I ate a roll in the morning with two slices of salami. I had a Quest bar for a snack, and I ate a salad for lunch. Not entirely the best fuel on race day.
I left work around 3:30pm to pick up Keira from school. During the whole 35 minute drive, I was hungry, grumpy and tired. Hoping against all hopes that my friend would call and tell me that she didn’t want to race, which, of course, would then mean that I couldn’t race because she was my ride.
But, alas, no. No such luck.
When I got home, I scarfed down a little bit of food and then got dressed for the race.
Elisabeth picked me up at 5:40pm and we drove to Telenor Arena with another friend. We wanted to get there early so we could pick up the start numbers and use some time to warm up. My start time was at 7:12pm, so plenty of time to warm up.
We warmed up for with some light jogging for a good 20 minutes. Even that was an effort. I kept telling myself that I wasn’t tired. That I could shake it off.
At 7:12pm, the gun went off and it was time to run.
Urg. My legs felt like lead from the first km, but I was able to keep up a 6:02 km. By the time I reached the 3km mark, the 6:02 had moved to 6:10/ km. I had such a lack of energy. Thankfully, there was half of a power gel in the pocket of my hand held Nathan water bottle.
After I chugged that power gel, I felt a little bit better until the 6th km. Then I started petering out again. This race was one of mind against body.
I was constantly running the same self-talk over and over in my head.
Stop. No, don’t stop.
I’m tired. I want to stop.
No, keep going.
I vaguely remember that the course was beautiful, but all I could think about was how hard this was, how I couldn’t breathe, how if I couldn’t even get to the measly 6th km mark without feeling like I was going to die, how was I supposed to make the half marathon in September?
My breathing was heavy. My heart rate was high. And my pace was getting slower and slower. By the 8th km mark, I think that I was up to 6:30 per km.
Between the 8km to 9km mark, all I could think about was stopping. Maybe if I just stopped for a little bit, I could catch my breath and then I could run again…but, for some reason, I didn’t stop to walk. I just kind of felt that if I stopped, that would be admitting defeat. That would mean that I wasn’t good enough. That I hadn’t worked hard enough. And so I slowed my pace down. But I kept going.
To take my mind off the pain, I would count how many people I could pass by. I only passed a handful.
Oh, my legs are tired. Oh, I can’t catch my breath….just a little bit more, I would tell myself.
At the 9km mark, I felt like I needed a little change of scenery. I needed something that would give me an energy boost to the finish. Maybe I needed to change my music. So I stopped for a few seconds to change playlists. Puh. Didn’t work.
The only thing I could do was to keep plugging along.
And then I reached the last few hundred meters. Thank god because I didn’t think that I could have gone on much longer. The girl that I had passed along the way, had just passed me and was making a beeline for the finish line inside the building.
That caused me to try and pick up my pace, but my lead legs didn’t seem to want to move. I thought my lungs were going to burst as I pumped my arms and legs as fast as I could to what I thought was the finish line. There were two speed measuring cameras on each side of the doorway and as I ran passed then, I stopped because I thought that was the goal.
Well, too bad for me, because I was 100 m too short.
As I was doubled over trying to catch my breath, I heard Elisabeth cheering me on and then out of the corner of my eye, I saw a person passing me by. In my lack of air induced state, I vaguely recognized that I had stopped too short.
So then I had to pick myself up and run as fast as I could to the real finish line. But, too late. Damage done.
Finish time was 1:06:33. Finish time at Sentrumsløpet was 1:06:19.
All I can say for this race is that at least I finished. I didn’t stop. I didn’t give up even though I wanted to with all my heart. Yeah for me.
There’s always a silver lining in every story of woe. My silver lining is that I learned a few important lessons:
Sleep is important
I never realized how important it was until I started training. I don’t know if it’s the training that makes me so tired or I’m just getting older, but I need sleep. No sleep makes for a very grumpy Jennifer.
I wasn’t so strict with my sleeping schedule these past few weeks since my parents are here. They’re both nightbirds and so I’ve stayed up later than usual hanging out with them.
Eating is important
Eating? Well I wasn’t so strict with my eating schedule these past few weeks either. I obviously didn’t eat enough.
And the week before the race, I indulged in alcohol. I couldn’t help myself. We were in Berlin and when in Berlin, I can’t stay away for the German beer. It’s just sooooooo good!
Check out the foam on the beer. As you can see, Mom and Dad like the beer too.
The funny thing is that the days before the race, I didn’t really eat that well or a lot of carbs.
The day after the race, I ate carbs like they were going out of style. What is up with that?
Once my parents leave, I’ll definitely be getting back on a stricter schedule.
Working outside of the comfort zone
I’m not sure if what I did was called working outside of my comfort zone or not. Or maybe it’s just called surviving.
Although I kept going, I wasn’t able to push harder through the tiredness. I stayed right under the pain threshold with regards to heart rate and to pace. One foot in front of the other. That’s all I could do.
I’ll have to investigate further what “working outside of the comfort zone” means. Especially if I want to run faster. 🙂
Ok. That’s it for now. See you next time.