Race Report – World Kidney Run 20 March 2011

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My second race ever

This morning I ran in the World Kidney Run 5km race held at Dataran Merdeka, which is the same venue as last weeks race, the FT Day 7km Run. I wrote about my pre race prep last night and one of the worries I had was not getting enough sleep. I hit the sack at about midnight last night and sure enough, I was not able to go to sleep until about 3:30 AM which gave me about 2 hours sleep. Needless to say, my energy level was at a low when I got up to get ready for the run. The thought of not waking up and missing the race did cross my mind but I knew I’d regret it big time later. So I got out of bed, had a shower, did my prayers and got ready to go. We got there at about 6:45AM and parked about 1.5km away from the starting line. This gave me a chance to do my slow warm up.

My warm up lasted about 30 minutes and consisted of a slow run to bring my heart rate from 50%+ MHR to 70% MHR. I have just discovered the importance of warming up and I wanted to make sure I follow all the best practices.

Warming up

When I got to the starting line I realised that this was a very different event than the FT Day Run last week. There were lots and lots and lots more people than last weeks event. When it was time to get ready to run I found a place right at the back of the pack. I had a strategy and I didn’t want to depart from it. The race strategy called for me to run the first km at about 70% MHR. When the gun went off I suddenly realised there were a lot more people behind me than I thought and I had to push off faster than I had wanted to. Before I managed to come to my senses my heart rate shot up to 90%. Phew.

And we’re off….

I slowed down as much as I can hoping to bring my heart rate down but it wouldn’t go under 80%. I thought all right. A plan is only a plan. When the time comes to execute, reality is different from the ideal. So I had to salvage as much as I can and just started running slowly, trying to stay under 80% MHR as much as I can. 1 km into the run is the first hill. Not really much of an incline but its a long way. I began to take smaller steps always conscious of not pushing myself too hard so early in the race. This seemed to work as I was able to keep the heart rate at about 80%. Compared to the 90% I was running at last week at the same location, this was an improvement. Still, my pace was extremely slow. People were already passing me from the get go and I kept glancing back to check whether I was last. Thankfully I wasn’t but the crowd is getting awfully thin back there.

I got through the hill in one piece though at 1 point I had to walk for about 30 secs as my heart rate was in the 90s. It got flat for about 1 km until I hit the second hill. Same strategy. Small steps and just focussed on the breathing. I have to admit I wasn’t a happy camper at this point. My pace was so slow. The GPS on my Polar FT60 was registering a pace of about 3 km an hour. By the time I got through the second hill I knew we had hit the halfway point as I saw the water station.  I didn’t need a drink so I just ran pass it. At this point I decided to up the pace a bit and allowed by heart rate to go up to above 80%. I felt more comfortable now and my pace had picked up quite a bit. I knew there was only 1 more hill left which is about 1.5 km away. Then I decided that it was time to let go and let it rip. I started picking up my pace and my heart rate jumped to 85% MHR and I maintained this pace until the last hill.

Wow. At this point I was overtaking a lot of people and in my usual manner just kept smiling all the way. I really felt energised and alive at this point and I was exhilarating. By the time I got to the last hill I was really pumped up. I slowed down and started to take smaller steps. Walked for about 20m till I got to the top of the last hill and I knew I had about 1 km to go so no more playing safe and I just ran it.

The final km. Checking my watch which says 50 minutes with 1 km to go

The odd thing was that at this point my Polar was indicating that I’ve been on the move for 50 minutes which gave me quite a shock. I kept thinking that I cant have been running that slow. During my normal runs I was able to do the 5km in about 45 minutes easily but today, I had 1 km to go and I was already pass the 50 minutes mark.

I convinced myself that I can’t do anything about it then. I was a bit sad and depressed that I wasn’t even going to get a bronze medal based on my set of targets for the race. I did managed to pick up my pace considerably. My Polar GPS was telling me that I ran the last 2 km at a 10km per hour pace which is not bad for me.

Running in a race is the only time that all
other traffic would stop for you

I still could’t shake off the feeling of disappointment because of the timing. Actually at this point, severe doubts came into my mind as to the sanity of what I was doing. Eventhough pace is not an important  target this year, I do want to make sure that at the very least I can run faster then the last race. I was thinking about my problems with swimming and cycling at at that moment I felt like giving up. At the last stretch of the race with 500m to go, I just pushed all those thoughts out of my mind and just focussed on my stride and my breathing.

Why has everyone stopped running?? 50m to go

I really went all the way when I saw the finishing line. I really felt like a champion on that stretch. I was beaming from ear to ear and I was really enjoying the moment.

Final time- 57 minutes.

Medals were only given to the top 60 runners in each category so no medal for me this time.

I couldn’t feel a bit sad. But I kept saying to myself. You’re getting faster and fitter. But the thought really kept nagging at me.

57 minutes for 5km? This cannot be. I finally got the answer. I checked my Polar GPS as well as my iPhone iMapMyRun data. Both my Polar and iPhone indicated that the run was not 5km and was actually 6.1 km. I don’t know how that happened and whether I was the one that got it wrong from the beginning. I don’t want to raise any fuss but I have to be honest, I felt happy when I found out. If I ran 6km in 57 minutes then I would have ran the 5km in about 47 minutes which is OK for me.

http://js.mapmyfitness.com/embed/blogview.html?r=237130058111069237&u=e&t=run

I learnt a lot today. I have to really work on my focus and concentration at the beginning of the race. I don’t want an explosive start and would rather be the last one out so that I can run my own race and not get caught up. I know that I am a slow starter and will finish stronger than when I started. Whether that’s a sound strategy is something I have to think about. I also need to get used to hill running and will do so soon.

Which one is the clown??

Now that this race is over I can relax for the next few days. I’ll write more about my plans tomorrow.

For tonight, I just want to rest. Reflect on today and last weeks event. Just soak up the moment. I’m still 20kg overweight and considering that, I am not doing that badly.

If I can do it, So can you….