Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mixed emotions

Today was the 6 something K race at El Campello. As I thought it was on sand I was going to run barefoot but upon arrival they informed me that it was 50/50 sand and asphalt. Because of this I decided to choose the trainers - big mistake! The other mistake I made was to tie my chip around my wrist.

Sand drains your legs more than anything I´ve ever run on, including steep hills. I had set off quite fast but the first 1.5k was along the beach and it didn´t take long for the strength to turn my legs to nothing. I got overtaken by a few people along this stretch as I gamely battled on to keep my rhythm, but it was hard. I realise now it would have been easier without the trainers but that´s a lesson for another day. Then finally we moved onto the road to come back towards the start. By this point I was already quite tired and I got overtaken by more people. The sun was also beating down and I was feeling very dehydrated.

Eventually I got to the end of the first 3k lap but there was no water station in a race this short. Luckily my wife was there and she handed me a drink with a wry smile on her face. This must have been because I was sweating like I was in a shower and my face was redder than a lobster´s. Then it was back to the sand. Mentally I was doing fine and I just concentrated on keeping my pace as best I could while finding the best line on the beach to run along to ease the pressure on my legs. I kept going and was still getting overtaken now and again (a consequence of sprinting ahead of better runners than myself at the start) but I was ok. Then finally, I got back into the home stretch along the road neck and neck with another guy.

I noticed that he was trying to gently edge ahead of me by slightly increasing the pace but I kept with him. Then I tried to do the same and he kept with me. Suddenly realising I was in a battle, I remembered a cross-country race at school where I let someone go at the end when I had plenty left in the tank, and our team lost by one point. It was a funny thing to remember but it spurred me on. Then, with about 400m to go I kicked and pulled away from him. To my eternal satisfaction he couldn´t keep up. I crossed the line in about 28:30 which was pretty good for me considering the terrain.

But...because I wore the chip on my wrist it didn´t register when I crossed the line, so that guy got the podium finish for our category.

How do I feel about that? I had to remind myself why I go running as it isn´t for recognition. But...well, you know. Overall though, I´m really pleased as I felt I showed really good mental strength and that´s the best thing I can take forward from this.

Footnote - my kids also entered their first race!!! They both got medals as well for doing about 200m and they are made-up. So am I. They looked so happy.

Friday, June 8, 2012

A first for my kids!

Just a quick note. I do have a race tomorrow, of 6k on the beach at El Campello. If anyone is there I´m wearing dorsal number 77. If you can´t find me I´ll be on the podium at the prize-giving around 11am (ahem).

I´m choosing this one over a 10k trail race because my kids will get the opportunity to race as well. My 4 year-old will do a 200m run and my 6 year old will compete in a 500m run. Note to kids - it´s not the winning etc...

I´m sure I´ll scream myself hoarse. Watch this space!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

At least my legs aren´t jelly

So...they cancelled the race. The whole point of my training for the last 8 weeks comes to nothing. I even pulled out of a dinner last night (no big loss on my part though) and tried in vain to get some sleep, ending up with about 4 hours, before I got up at 5:30am, filled up with a huge breakfast and set off for an hour´s drive to the start line.

I don´t think it´s justifiable just putting a notice on the website. There was only 31 of us registered and we had all submitted our email addresses when we put our names down. How difficult or time-consuming is it to notify us by email? Not very, is the answer. The other argument is how difficult is it to check the website. But no, I think the onus is on the organisers to do their best to inform everyone, especially when they live an hour´s drive away from the starting line.

Anyway, at least my legs aren´t jelly. As I was joining the motorway to drive back I saw a Mediterranean storm starting up over the mountain. I thought it would have been quite cool to run in that, apart from the danger of being struck by lightening, or running down steep, slippery slopes in old trainers. But still, imagine the thrill. Then I thought, at least I´m not knackered and wondering if I´m losing the will to live which is what almost certainly would have gone through my mind at some point.

The next thing on my list of goals is the Valencia marathon in November. I´m still not sure why I want to do a marathon though. Maybe someone will tell me one day.

I don´t want to write anymore. I´m furious.