I’ve dreaded writing this piece since I finished the Madison Mini-Marathon Saturday morning. It’s difficult to admit when your perceived failure is mostly self inflicted and, I know, to call a 2:07 half marathon a “failure” is a far reach. Let me preface this entire article by reminding everyone that running is a personal competition. My worst time could be someone else’s best. But I digress…
You see, this weekend’s shortcoming is more in the execution than the result. I knew what I should have done but did the opposite. I should have known the result would not be favorable. Every race runner knows there are a set of rules, a protocol, for race day. “Don’t wear new shoes.” “Don’t eat exotic fare the night before.” “Don’t change in-race nutrition plan with something untested.” Most importantly, “trust your training”. The list goes on and on. Well, here is where I blew it.
Broken rule #1: Don’t change attire or equipment on race day. It is no secret I believe wholeheartedly in Zensah compression socks. I have worn them from the beginning and they have become just part of the “uniform”. Well, in the recent weeks I have been experiencing heel pain that was mostly relieved by KT tape. I was always a skeptic, but the stuff really does work! So I decided, while packing, that I would forego the compression in favor of KT. My wife questioned me about it and I blew her off. Race day was a rainy, humid mess and paired with my hyperhidrosis, the tape stood no chance. While the tape had zero physical effect, you can imagine 13 miles of tape flopping on your ankle. It was a nuisance, to say the least.
Broken rule #2: Don’t change race strategy with something untested on race day. This one was just me being greedy. I have trained at a runwalkrun ratio of 2mins:30secs for some time. My body clock is in sync with it. With the temps low and my overconfidence that I was used to running in humidity, I changed my ratio an hour before toeing the line to 2min:15secs which I figured would have me breaking 1:50 and a new RWR personal best. What actually happened was a psychological mind screw that eliminated my confidence and destroyed my motivation. The humidity consumed me and my demeanor faded. This was by far my most unforgiving mistake.
Broken rule #3: Don’t break your in-race nutrition routine. I have perfected the in-race nutrition strategy that works for me. I consume one Advocare Rehydrate Gel every 5 miles. This has always worked perfectly. So, why did I consume everything a mile earlier than scheduled? I can’t tell you. I surmise it was due to the mounting stress. This caused me to be more fatigued at the end of the race and resulted in what would have been a poor mood had I not come upon my Madison Mini BFF, Jeanie, at mile 10.
Jeanie was the saving grace to the last 3 miles. She & I seesawed the entire race to the 10mile point and while I knew I was struggling, she appeared to be as well. I took to introducing her to the Galloway method and I reverted back to my usual ratio and together we pushed each other to the finish. She was a joy to get to know and I look forward to continued friendship.
All-in-all, the event itself was really well put on. The medal is fantastic and doubles as a bottle opener. Unfortunately, I think many participants were scared off by the forecast. There was the potential for thunderstorms all morning and while the atmospheric pressure & humidity were a mess, the storms held off till just as we were leaving the 14th mile after-party, which in and of itself was a highlight of the event!
Moral of the story is stick to routine and practice what got you to where you are. That is never by mistake and your results, either good or bad, can never be questioned. But if you do find yourself in a bad spot, make a new friend. It helps turn any negative into a positive!
Thanks for reading…