Most of the races I run are in the early morning hours. This always works for me because I’m an early morning runner. This past Saturday night I ran the New Years Race in Los Angeles.
It was a real mental and physical challenge for me. I learned a lot about myself and what I need to do to improve my running.
In order to not deal with the challenges of traffic and parking in downtown Los Angeles, we decided to travel by metro. Now that is another crazy experience and another story, but I had to share the train selfie. If you haven’t ridden the metro in this area, you need to experience it at least once.
The energy of the pre-race was impressive. Getting into the assigned corrals with other excited runners as the race anticipation was building was exhilarating. We started off down city streets laced with business lights. We turned a corner and ran through a long tunnel. This was my first favorite part of the race. The crowd of runners had not spread out yet so we were packed together pretty tight. It brought a smile to my face and feelings of running excitement.
That running excitement quickly faded in the next mile. Hills. Hills. Hills. This race course I quickly came to realize was a real challenge. The race started moving up to Dodger Stadium. I absolutely love Dodger Stadium. I am dedicated my Boys in Blue, but not the hills around Chavez Ravine. What I failed to realize was that the race course was up and down and back up again around the stadium. I was dying. I do hill train, but I was not mentally expecting this part of the race. About mile three I told myself that I would not be setting any personal record. At that point I accepted my slower pace and took the time to enjoy the beauty of the city around me.
When I mentally accepted the hills I decided to take a few extra pictures to remember the race. The problem then was I drained the battery and my phone crashed. This left me at mile six with no music. I tried repeatedly to get my phone to restart with no luck. It mentally registered that I had to suck it up and just run. Surprisingly, I found I enjoyed those seven miles. Listening to the runners around me kept me motivated and going. I enjoyed it enough that I will actually consider running my next street race with no music.
My race challenges seemed to continue because at the end of the race I was conscious to the fact that I was not physically ready for the 13.1 distance. A was just coming off a winter cold so my appetite was low during the day. This lead to me not eating enough before the race. I did not have enough fuel, I also did not properly hydrate. This lead to me getting seriously sick at the end of the race. Nausea struck and my muscles cramped. I was absolutely miserable. I cried and whined my way back to the train station. When I got home I showered and crawled in bed feeling so disappointed in myself.
As I sit back after and reflect on this race I realized I have areas in my training that I need to still fine tune. I need to drink more water. I don’t properly hydrate and this slows me down. I also need to spend more time hill training. This will be required to meet my dreams of completing an ultra marathon in 2015. Lastly, I learned that not every race will be easy. I won’t set a personal record every time run. I take these understandings and mentally log them as I continue my 2015 race season. This Saturday I will tackle yet another hilly race course and I look forward to sharing the experience with you.