Today was the Hatley 8k at Royal Roads University (RRU). It was race number four out of eight in the VIRA series and it was hosted by the Frontrunners Athletic Club. Each race in the series is hosted by a different running club on the island. I am part of the Frontrunners club as most of you know from past blogs so today was a big day.
I woke at 5:00am because I was thinking about the race so instead of trying to fight to sleep I just got up to have coffee. Warren and I had to be at the RRU gym for 8:30am for a volunteer meeting because we were helping to set thing up for the race. I helped with race bib pick up and Warren helped to set up the gym. By the time people started to arrive we were ready to go.
I was feeling pretty nervous for the run but all morning I kept saying to myself “run your run”. I do believe it is the best way think about a race because it is for you and not someone else. I hadn’t been nervous for the last two races so it surprised me I was for this one. Sylvia, one of my friends said to me “Are you getting paid to run this race?” I laughed and said “No.” I knew what she was getting at and was happy for her question.
I finished at the race bib pick up around 10:30am and headed to get changed. I wanted to get a bit of a warm up in before I headed to the start line. I found Warren and we ran together and did some technical drills. It was good to be around him and he made me feel more at ease.
The start line of the race was jammed full of runners. I wasn’t able to get near the front of the group because I was late getting to the start. I stopped when I saw Nicole and Sean, two club members and stood with them. Nick counted the time down and we were off. My playlist was playing and I pressed start on my Garmin as soon as I crossed the start line. I weaved my way through the runners and felt good. My nerves had settled and as I ran which I was happy for.
This race is quite a hilly one and even though I work at RRU and have run this race for the last four years I had been dreading it. But as I ran up the first gradual hill I felt good and it didn’t feel like the struggle I thought it was going to. Along the course I saw many familiar faces and they helped me along. At the 4k mark I checked my watch and it said 18 mins and something. I then thought of a conversation that Warren and Jamie had at the last race. They were talking about having a “negative split”. I laughed and said “I have never had that.” Well, today I did and I also had a personal best for this course. Last year I had a finish time of 37:53 and today I had a finish time of 35:39. I shaved 2:12 off my time. Giddy up!
When I passed the marker telling me I had run 7k already I was happy to know I was almost done. The last kilometer was flat and I told myself “I was good and I had this.” Yes, I talk to myself when I run. The last 100 meters is a timed sprint to the finish and I boggied to get to the end. Once I finished I was greeted by Warren and Jamie. Once I caught my breath we chatted about our runs and then Warren and I headed towards the gym. I wanted to grab my peanut butter Gu and then head out to run another 12k because there was a 20k run on my training schedule.
Over coffee this morning I had mapped a 12k run so I knew where I was going to go and I wouldn’t have to keep checking my watch to see how much father I had to make up distance. I figured my run afterwards would be slow because the course was full of hills but I kept a good pace and felt good. I think it was the peanut butter Gu that did it because we all know I have a huge weakness for peanut butter. The first taste made me smile.
I made it back to the gym in an hour but I missed the awards for my age group. Kirsty is in my age group so she picked up my first place medal and she received a fourth place ribbon. Congrats to her! I found out Warren placed sixth in his age group as well and I am happy for him.
I am enjoying my training but I have to say I miss seeing my fellow runners after the races. My training runs are getting longer and the next race in the series is a 5k race so I will be out longer again after the race.
So, overall I would say that my nerves benefitted me today and I would also give credit to the weather. Running on a beautiful day can’t be beat.
Do you find nerves help you run better? What do you do to calm yourself?