During my TransRockies build-up, I had this holistic revelation about training recovery. We tend to view runs, swims, gym sessions, whatever sort of training session we’re looking at, as discrete events. But this is so, so wrong. How you hydrate on a run on Saturday affects your run on Sunday. What you eat today, fuels tomorrow’s runs. Hopefully it’s obvious why this is an important concept to grasp for a six-day stage race.
Since then, I’ve started viewing entire weeks as discrete training events with periods of increased intensity (actual workouts), periods of heavily decreased intensity (sleepy time), and then things like work are some where on a spectrum between those two based on how stressful things are (can’t ignore that).
When I started looking at things like this, I realized just how badly I was sucking at sleeping. Most days I still act like a 5 year old and want to stay up late watching or reading stories and then suffer when I have to drag myself out of bed in the morning after not enough sleep.
So, I’ve been really trying to focus on sleeping more. And more consistently. It’s really really hard though.
Also, some times obsessing about all this stuff gets a little tiring in itself. Some times I do want to stay up and do “normal” things. Balance. You gotta let go from time to time.
This is why I did the Hallow’s Eve half-marathon on 3-hours of sleep. Oops.
Once I’d committed to being an idiot, I worked out how late I could sleep in and still make it to the start on time. Doing this made required me heavily cutting into my normal amount of pre-race readiness time. All I really had time for was grab my number, get changed, pin it on and do a 5-minute warm-up jog.
A lot of people were dressed in costumes for this run, which was a lot of fun. I can’t believe some of the things people were running in. I think my favorite was the couple dressed as Red Riding Hood and the Wolf — he chased her the whole way. Also the dude with the giant horse head mask that clopped with two coconut halves the whole way. That man was dedicated.
When someone asked me what I was dressed as I told them I was a zombie — I sure felt like I was the walking dead.
I think the lack of warm-up time hurt me more than the lack of sleep. The course had an uphill start and I didn’t want to push it too hard on a cold engine so I held back quite a bit. For a road race this wouldn’t have been an issue, but once things got into the single track and I started to get warmed up I found myself behind a lot of people I wanted to pass but couldn’t find the opportunity to.
The lack of sleep definitely made it harder to focus. On one of the first sections of downhill single track I caught myself having some great ideas about how help one of my team members at work. What I should have been focusing on was not tripping and breaking my neck so that things like going to work were still possibilities.
All of that pretty much settled down by the time we got to the stairs on the Baden Powell heading towards Mountain Highway. And once we got to the highway I turned things up a bit. I was familiar with the course and knew what was coming, so I took advantage of the wide open uphill to pass a few people.
I chose to run with my hydration pack and carry a couple of gels with me instead of taking advantage of the aid stations. It was fun running with someone and having them stop only for me to blow through and never see them again.
The second half of the course was pretty uneventful (except for once when I slipped on some steps and landed on my ass). I passed a few people, and probably had a bit too much gas left in the tank as a result of starting out so conservatively. The bit of speed work I’d been doing and my general fitness made a good showing at the end as I was easily going sub 3:30/km’s on some of the downhill stretches.
The post-race snacks were awesome: halloween candy and cans of coke. I never thought about it before, but cold cans of coke are probably the best post-race snack I’ve ever encountered.
Afterwards, I went home (grabbing a burrito on the way), showered and then took a 4-hour nap.
I would definitely do that race again. Results.
I know this isn’t my most interesting race report ever, but it’s been sitting as an outline in my drafts box for weeks and I didn’t think I’d be up for awesome-izing it any time soon.