Well, I finally got to step back out on the cross-country course and it was AMAZING! Honestly, I would have liked to run a bit faster (I set a new personal record for slowest 4k of my life, yay…) but I felt good mentally and physically during the race. Best of all I had the good fortune to race against my former team at my first race back! All but 1 of the girls were returners that I ran with in college (they’re all seniors now). I may have only seen their backs during the race (they are a speedy crew!) but I got to chat with them a little before and after and it was awesome hearing what they are all up to with school and training.
My most significant take-aways from this race were:
1) I need to focus more on pushing, rather than just avoiding fear by not thinking about the next part of the race. Whenever I started to feel anxious about the pace I just told myself to let my body run – my legs have run enough races that they can pace themselves. However, sitting back and letting my mind drift made me less competitive over the latter stages of the race. I just need to find the balance between relaxing early on and pushing when it’s time to really race.
2) Re-hydrate more effectively. I should have known the heat was worse than it felt when I saw the trainers draping a few gals in ice-water soaked towels post-race. Even though it was only in the mid-80’s it was also sunny, windy, and at altitude – perfect conditions for drying runners up into little runner-raisins. I felt fine until about 4 hours after the race and then “enjoyed” a couple hours of a pounding headache combined with some pretty impressive nausea. Not so pleasant 😛
Celebrated a good race with a new long-run location this morning:
The Cecret Lake trail up near Alta ski resort. The climb up goes from 9000 to 10000 feet of lung-burning altitude over about 2 and a half miles – it hurts like heck but the views are totally worth it!