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This morning, I ran my first 10 Mile Race in Phoenix Park in Dublin. The race was called the Frank Duffy 10 Mile and is part of a race series leading up to the Dublin Marathon in October. I am hoping to run the marathon so this was a good training run for me. Frank Duffy was “a legendary Civil Service Athletic Club Coach” according to the Irish Independent, but that’s about the only information that can be found on the Internet about the legendary man. The course was very beautiful, Phoenix Park is probably one of our favourite spots in all of Ireland.I had a bit of a slow start. We arrived on time; however, there were very large line-ups to use the bathroom and we were forced to wait and join the runners as they took off from the start line. I should really have started in Wave One – Sub 80 minutes but I didn’t end up starting until Wave Three – Over 95 minutes! So it took quite a while to weave through people to get out into the clear. It was a pretty flat course with only two long gradual hills between miles six and eight. At the beginning, they announced that we would be climbing from mile six to mile eight but thankfully we weren’t. There were some flat stretches and a little bit of downhill in between the uphills. I found the last 2 miles the most difficult. Distance running is such a mental battle – your body is telling you to stop and I find I have to work really hard to keep myself going. My time didn’t suffer too much from my slow start – I finished the race in 1:18:06 with an overall place of 1094th! My goal going in was to finish in less than 80 minutes – accomplished! So if I can maintain that pace for an entire marathon, which would be highly unlikely, I would finish in 3 hours and 24 minutes. I wish…Here’s me before the race! I ended up being a little over-dressed – but I would always rather be over-dressed than under-dressed, although I’m sure some people would disagree. It was raining when I got ready so I decided to wear a cap to keep the rain off my face. My friend, Ali picked me up and drove me there – which was SOOO nice because otherwise I would have had to leave an hour earlier to get 2 buses! By the time we got there, it had stopped raining and the sun was coming out – so the cap and the long sleeves were totally unnecessary. Oh well – next time I might bring a t-shirt along as well so I can make a last minute change.

And here I am after the race! Matt came to the finish line to try and get a picture of me but he didn’t see me and I didn’t see him! There were a lot of people around the finish line so I must have gone through in a big pack. I felt bad that he came all the way to see me run and he didn’t get to – but it was nice to see him afterwards! He chose not to run today because his ankles tend to get really sore when he runs long distances and he’s also busy getting ready to go back to school on Monday.

Here’s Ali and I after the race – we look happy to be done! Here are a few of my race strategies – not that I have loads of racing experience – but this seems to work for me:

– Drink lots of water and eat a good breakfast 2-3 hours before the race. This morning I had oatmeal, peanut butter and yogurt and I brought a banana along to eat about 30 minutes before the race. I drank about three glasses of water before leaving the house and one more small cup right before the start.

– Take the day before the race off from exercise, even cross-training, and get a good sleep! I usually ride my bike to work which takes about 45-50 minutes each way – so I made sure to get a lift on Friday. I still went for a walk but I definitely didn’t exert myself too much.

– Eat lots of carbs! I made a stir-fry with brown rice on Thursday night to fill up on and then on Friday I tried to eat a bit lighter. I still included carbs but I don’t like to eat a big heavy meal the night before a race. I also tried not to eat too much sugar on Friday because I find that I feel slow and sluggish when I exercise after eating too much sugar.

– Start off the race a bit fast. I know many people will disagree with this because if you start off too fast, you won’t be able to maintain your pace. But if I start out nice and easy, I’m more likely to continue nice and easy then pick up the pace – whereas if I start out quick, I am usually able to stay pretty steady for the rest of the race. Bear in mind, the longest race I have completed is a half-marathon – this might not work for a marathon – which I will soon find out!

Since I got home I have been eating and moving between the couch and the bed. I took a small nap and watched half of a movie. My legs are feeling pretty good right now, but we’ll see how I feel tomorrow! I won’t be able to run the Dublin Half-Marathon in September because I’m going to be a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding in Toronto! My next race will probably be the Dublin Marathon, if all goes according to plan. I’ll be doing another post about my training plan soon. And my first recipe post will also be coming soon!

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