Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lessons Learned

It was a beautiful day...Sunday turned out to be sunny and hot. I haven't run in "hot" this year yet and it showed. The course was much more rooted and rocky than I remembered it being. I twisted my ankle pretty good at about 8 or 9 miles in, of course just as I was starting to hit my stride again after a particularly difficult section that involved scrambling over a waterfall and some other ups and downs that were totally unrunnable. I finished, but I did very poorly by my estimates...here's why -

1. Dehydration

I did not adequately hydrate before or during the race. I don't have a water pack (CamelBack) but I'm getting one now (it's already on order). I've been out of this long distance running thing for so long that I've forgotten how to adequately plan for these things. There was no aid station for the first 17k and I ran out of water after about 6 or 7 miles probably.

2. Panicking

I panicked and gave up after twisting my ankle. It seemed like a bad one at the time so rightfully so I just thought of getting back to the start (the course was run on a figure-8 pattern with the start/finish at the center of the two loops). But I didn't mentally recover when my ankle DID get better. I should have started running again, I would have felt better. But then I transferred my panic to the fact that I didn't have any water. Looking back now it seems stupid...but I wasn't sure where I was and I was afraid of getting into trouble.

3. Being too hard on myself

Feeling like a total looser because I was going slower and slower and that my finish was way down low near the bottom of the list when I know that I can do much, much better. I did push ahead and finish...and I ran out of water again on the second loop! I only had a 20 oz. hip pack bottle...but obviously that is NOT enough anymore - hence the water pack that I'm anxiously waiting for. I haven't seen these trails in years...I shouldn't have expected so much. I do sooo much better on trails that I know well. So if I want to really excel at a race it has to be on trails that I've scouted out already, at least.

I was so angry with myself initially that I wanted to quit entirely. Hell, it'd be a lot easier to sleep 2 hours more in the mornings and just forget all of this. But then I thought about all of those great quotes that Olga had on her blog. I thought of this one especially-

What is defeat? Nothing but education; nothing but the first step to something better.
- Wendell Phillips

So I'm going to stop being such a big baby and get on with it now. And do things smarter. Onward, upward and better.


angie's pink fuzzy said...

lessons learned is a good way to approach it! hope you get the water bottle/pack situation figured out so you're well-hydrated in the future.