Monday, October 18, 2010

One Bad Race, One Good One

Two weeks ago, I ran in the 12 hour Lemming Loop. I started off strong, and was doing fairly well the first few laps of the 5km course. Then I tripped on a root. I had been nursing a minor groin pull for a few weeks, and this trip "tweaked" the muscle in an unpleasant way. I trudged on. The next lap, I tripped on another root and the muscle was tweaked a bit harder. I trudged on.

As I was approaching the 41k mark, 5 hours into the race, I had to dodge a puddle by running over a bump in the trail. I took it at an odd angle, and the "tweak" in my groin began to throb. For the sake of my body, I had to call it a day. I limped into the aid station, hung around, felt sorry for myself, and went home to mope for 2 weeks.

During those two weeks, I ran as little as I could. I took rest days, had short runs on the weekends, and limited myself to 1 fast run on Wednesdays. I figured my season was over, and I should just resolve to running on easy-mode.

Last weekend, I had my last race of the season. It was a 22km trail race. My groin wasn't hurting in the slightest, and I was feeling well rested. I had resolved to make this a "fun run", and the first 50 or so metres of the race I was just jogging along. Then something in my head snapped.

I've never been able to "just run" a race. I have a ridiculous competitive streak in me. I said out loud "What the hell, this is the last race of the year" and I increased my pace to slightly-faster-than 8 min/mile. And I felt great. I navigated the hills and the roots, without tripping or slowing down. The only part of the course that I had to slow down for was a 1 mile stretch where the ground got really soft and uneven, and I had to watch my footing. I finished the race in 7th place, and came within 2 minutes of my half marathon PB!

I'm now a convert to the church of rest days and tapers. I'm going to take the rest of the month easy before I start my speedwork in November. This most recent race has rekindled my dreams of running a marathon sub-4.


  1. Nice! Glad it worked out so well for you.
    Still feeling the sting of a bad race myself, I'm hoping to have some fun at a couple more before the season is out.

  2. Glad to hear you had a great race Dale and 2 minutes shy of your PB. Trust me we all have bad races...glad to hear that race rekindled things for you. Onward and upward for 2011.

  3. Glad to hear that you had a good race at the 22km. Bad races suck, but they make the good ones so much better!