My first race 2007 - 3.080 m Cross Country (Read 402 times)

    Sunday, 18th February - my first race of this year. It was the start of a series called "Trofeo di Gorizia" - six races with different characteristics. They will take place within October, and I would like to participate in all of them. I had been ill in the beginning of February, could not train for 10 days, and restarted only about one week before the race. I was a little bit worried about that, particularly after the first two trainings, as I felt still weak. Undecided Fortunately this first race was short, 3080 m cross country. I had never run it before, so I didn't know the course. But people told me that it's hard, most of my friends don't like it. So I cancelled all my long training runs for the week left until the race, did only some easy speed work as 200 m repetitions and fartleks. I felt better from day to day and was rather confident in the end that the race would not be a complete disaster. My friend Marina picked me up in the morning, together with her husband Dario and her sister Gabriella. We went to Mariano, a small village in the flat country that extends in this part of Italy between the Mediterranean Sea and the Alps. It was a bright morning, blue sky and a lot of sun, but still rather cold – the best weather I could imagine for this first race of the year. When we got there not many people had arrived yet. The reason was that the race was organised in different starting groups – all the age groups of women and that of men over 70 years were the first and had to start their race of 3.080 m at 9:30 o’clock. The other age groups of men started afterwards for their race of 6.160 m. We got our numbers that we will use for all the six races of this series and prepared for warming up. I had chosen long tights and a shirt with long sleeves. At that time it was still fresh, but I was not sure that I had really chosen well … I could feel how it was becoming warmer rapidly. Anyhow, for such a short race this would not make the difference. Testing the course during our warming-up we got a first impression about what was ahead of us. I enjoyed this loop with a lot of nature around, all green, and no streets. But I knew well that speed makes the difference between pleasure and suffering… I had two objectives for this race: (1) run a decent time – however I had no idea where I stood and how I could perform on such a course, (2) if possible, beat Marina who is running for many years more than me and who usually is always faster – but in short races I have a chance and I managed already twice last year!! The race started in time. I had immediately the impression that I was going too fast. I could breathe well, no problems with that. Also my legs were working normal, not more pain than usual. But I was anyhow not feeling comfortable. My head told me it was due to the surface – I had done most of my winter training on the roads as cross country like courses are not illuminated in the evening. So I tried to keep the pace, concentrate on the course, and just run my race. It was a loop that we had to complete twice. The start was on grass, but it changed to mud soon and remained like that most of the time - a slippery course covered with many puddles. I tried to avoid them because I hate sucked shoes and the extra weight to lift with each step … So I had to keep concentrated, react continuously, and could not stay closely behind other runners in order to keep pace as I do on the track. The course was not as flat as one would expect in this landscape, slightly undulatory, with a dam in between that had to be crossed - a short, but very steep gradient, up on one side and down on the other, all mud also this. This was followed by a piece covered with a thick layer of wet leaves in a narrow hollow way flanked by high plants that had lost those leaves. Sliding and running on such a damping surface costs a lot of energy! Then a narrow curve back to the open fields, some hundred meters straight, and another narrow curve to a path that brought us back on the grass to the start line. First loop done!! Tongue I never saw the other women from my club during the race. But I felt that they were behind - or maybe I was only hoping that? And I didn't spend any time in thinking about my tights or my shirt ... Second loop, the muddy pieces felt much harder this time and my legs were becoming heavy. Then I heard somebody arriving from behind. Two women where approaching me. And one of them even passed me. In this moment I remembered what I had read in a book about training: If you feel like slowing down in a race, try first to accelerate. Often you need only a change and you will feel better. If it doesn’t work you can always slow down … So I tried to follow her. And I really managed. I could even pass her again just before the dam in order to run it my way without somebody in front of me, more jumping down on the backside than running down. She was however stronger in the end. Later on, back on the field, she passed me again and I didn’t catch her any more. Behind the last curve, on the path leading to the grass, also the second woman passed. I felt too tired to react immediately, but I tried to keep near, hoping that I could still do something back on the grass. When I started to accelerate, she was well in front of me. I didn’t think about breathing or pain any more, just accelerated as I had done for my 200 m repetitions in the beginning of the week. And I think I even reached the same speed for the last 100 m, felt like flying, despite the tough race before. I heard people cheering on me – some guys from my club … And I managed to cross the line first! Yes I was completely done Dead , had no idea about the time at all, and forgot even to stop my watch immediately. The time I stopped was however already amazing, the official time of 15:13 is fabulous!! A pace of 4:57, very near to my personal best for 3000 m – pace 4:52 - run on the track when season was at its height last year! I didn’t even dream of running this pace on such a course, just after the winter, with very few speed training sessions done. Maybe the break for illness was even constructive?? And by the way: I have beaten all the other three women from my club, even Gabriella, the much stronger sister of my friend Gabriella, something that has never happened before. The season couldn’t start better!! Maybe I will have to pay in two weeks, when I will run my first HM of this year, the second race of this series. I have lost several long trainings during my illness and while preparing for this cross country race last week. But life is now … And I have got a lot of new motivation on Sunday! Big grin Big grin Big grin

    ... keep on running ... ... and ciao, ciao Regina

    Princess Cancer Pants

      Wow, that's an amazing pace! You should be VERY proud of that effort! I'm super impressed! Big grin k

      '17 Goals:

      • Chemo

      • Chemo-Radiation

      • Surgery

      • Return to kicking my own ass by 2018


      She was not strong. She was valiant. Radiant. Brave and broken. The beauty she discovered in the aftermath was unparalleled to anything she had known before, because it had come at such a cost.

      ~ Unknown

        Congratulation on beating your friends. I hope your season stays that well.
        Run more.
          Great job and report! Congratulations!

          Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away...(unkown)

          Go With The Flow
          Thyroid Support Group

            Now this is really something! Congratulations! Great time considering all that mud. I've been running on mud lately and it is hard. I am impressed. It seems that forced taper worked for you just fine. Thank you for your great report too. Ewa
            I would rather wear out than rust out. - Helen Klein You create your own universe as you go along. - Winston Churchill
              Thank you!! Yes, I'm really happy with this. But there is still a lot of room for future objectives: The best woman in my age group - W45 - was about 2:30 minutes faster tha me on this course. And there were even two much older women - one in W55 and one in W60 - that have beaten me!! So my goal is to keep on running and improve until I reach these categories. Then maybe I might even have the chance to win a trophy !!! Wink

              ... keep on running ... ... and ciao, ciao Regina