(Note: I began writing this the week after the race.)
I ran Pacific Coast Trail Run’s race at Malibu Creek on March 3. I opted for the 25k distance. Cherry picking? Maybe, but I like to think I was only in shape for that distance at that time.
Garmin Run Details: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/154623566
My goals for the race were simple: run every inch of the course, work through any discomfort, enjoy the course, and to appreciate my capabilities and effort. The first goal was dependent on accomplishing the second goal. The third would be a practice of running in the moment and to take in the coastal and vista views the park offered. The last goal was to work on something I’ve had a hard time doing in the past. I’ve often been too critical of my effort and preparation which has caused me to not enjoy my accomplishments.
Malibu Creek was to be a test of my limits. I wanted to push through my racing barrier to compete. In a previous blog post I wrote about pushing past our limits. I’m happy to say I was able to run the entire course because I didn’t allow myself to be bothered by pain and discomfort. I may have ran a more conservative pace to accomplish the goal of running the entire course, but the side stitch (result of poor aerobic conditioning; short, quick breaths) still presented itself as a problem. Instead of stopping, I managed the pain with some deep breaths and pressure in the area under my ribs. I ran with this discomfort for about four miles. Nearing the finish, my mind had completely blocked the pain away and I was able to run a decent pace to the line. I remember thinking as I crossed the line that it was the first race I had not walked or stopped due to a little pain. It’s definitely something I can reflect and build on to be more successful at future races.
I’ve gotten better at running in the moment with my countless miles running solo on the trails. Since starting my time in the mountains I’ve began noticing the environment around me which has led to a better appreciation of nature and the part we play in that environment.
How does that sense of “now” translate to race day? For one thing, I wasn’t concerned about my relative position to the person leading the race and the people behind me. I was running my own race and working through where I was at that particular time. When I was running uphill, I was running that hill and not worried about the downhill section coming up. When I was running on the narrow sandstone path, I was running on the sandstone and not concerned with the dirt fire road or concrete finish. When I was thirsty, I drank. I was focused only on my effort and my goals. I had a feeling if I can just focus on my running and accomplish my goals I would have a great finish.
The last goal was something I failed to do. Although I was happy with my overall performance, I still doubted my abilities and was critical of some some things I did. I know my downhill running will improve with more miles on technical terrain, but my inability to “let the brakes go” frustrated me. It also bothered me that I didn’t go out faster in the beginning. My training runs were faster the first two miles than the actual race itself. Would I have won had I gone out with the leader? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s something that troubled me at the time. I would like to one day write a recap where I can write, “I’m happy with my performance, enjoyed my self immensley, and would not have done anything different.” One day.
Lastly, it was nice to see and talk to Melissa and Deo at the race. Helps calm the nerves to have people to talk to. Deo ran the 50k and finished 3rd in his age group! Amazes me how he’s able to run so many races and manages to put in a great effort in each one. Photos courtesy of Deo.
Next up for me is the Santa Barabara Endurance Race 50k on April 14. Hopeful to be competitive. If anything, good excuse to make it up there and have a few beers on State St.