Monday, May 27, 2013

10K: Round Two

This past weekend, I ran the 10K race during the Ottawa Race Weekend. Before I get into that, I wanted to write a bit about what I learned at the running expo that took place at the Ottawa Convention Centre where runners picked up their running bibs. (Taking these pictures always excites me so much and I just LOVE the Ottawa <3 Boston sign in the corner!)

Aside from the usual mini displays of last minute running items you could buy (like in case you forgot that you need running shoes to run...?), there was also a corner dedicated to hosting a guest speaker. That guest speaker was John Stanton, president of the Running Room, and he was pretty awesome.  Here he is, and I'm not quite sure what he's demonstrating here...

Among the many tips he shared with us (though mostly geared towards those running the marathon), I found these to be most valuable to anyone starting to run, or looking to sharpen their regime.  Without further ado, some running tips:

1. Stretch only after you run. Stretching your muscles sends a signal to your body to calm the nervous system. This is great after your run, to tell your body to chill out.  You don't want to calm your body before your run, so use your running warm up segment for stretching purposes.

2. Try to end your run the way you started it.  That is, cool down the way you started- with a jog. Never stop running abruptly. Keep moving.

3. After your run, it's okay to feel dizzy.  It's not okay to faint. 

4. It's okay to hit a wall.  This is a period of time where your body switches its source of energy. Give it a few minutes (don't give up), check that you aren't dehydrated (have a few sips of water, if possible) or that your energy isn't completely depleted (maybe you need a quick gel pack), and keep at it. The wall will break in a few minutes. 

5. A decrease in 1-2% of your body's water will lead to fatigue (!!!)

6. If you're doing endurance training, you absolutely need to replenish with food high in Iron and Vitamin C.

So that's that - some great tips to rejuvenate your running techniques, and some stuff to help you feel better about running in general :)

And so with that, on to my 10K running experience:

So, it seems I didn't train as hard as I thought.  I was almost late for the race too, and almost twisted my ankle climbing the fence to get into my corral group...oh and I ran with a splinter in my foot lol jeez...

I expected for the race to be just like a regular run, but I forgot how competitive I get while running, and how painful it is for me to watch dozens of runners pass me by while I take a walking break. It kills me.  Watching that pace bunny disappear further into the crowd until I can't even see his ears really hurts.  For that reason, I never take full breaks as I would normally do while on a regular run. I just can't. (And yes, I'm working on it!)  So, given all that, I ended up putting my body through an unexpected beating, with endurance and speed combined, and that wasn't a very healthy thing to do.  But onto nicer things...
Towards the end of my run, I definitely hit a mini wall. I say it's a mini wall because the race itself was relatively short, but it certainly didn't feel little. I started to walk while everyone around me ran. I walked and walked and walked and slowly felt my face drooping into a frown when suddenly, I saw someone's hand stretch out towards me. I looked up and saw a man cheering me on.  As I walked past him, I couldn't help but make a face like "PARDON??"  to which he yelled "RUN! KEEP RUNNING! GO!"  and at that exact moment, he gestured for me to stretch out my hand, and high-fived me.  It was like a jolt of love, of energy, or that inexplicable commoradery that I have only ever seen while running. I felt my face turn back into a huge smile, thanked him and burst into a run.  The wall was still there, but I was too happy to care.  The last 3 km of my run were difficult, but I couldn't stop smiling. The signs, the people, the smiles, the clapping, the bells, the outstreched hands waiting to encourage us...what a beautiful reflection of humanity.  I finished at 0:53:13 beating last year's 10K time by a whopping 5 minutes, which means, given my lack of training this time around, that I am just in better overall shape, which is the best gift my body could ever give me.  Despite feeling really sick after the run, I'm really happy with my time (and I still don't even know how I managed to do that!), and am really looking forward to training for the half marathon in September!  Yep, I signed up for the Army Run. 

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