Race Synopsis from Italy

Campaccio XC in Italy 1/6, a quick turn around after the NYRR Midnight Run on 12/31, and with the exception of the bruising from falling at the start, my body recovered really well and I was right back to training this week. I didn’t have enough time between races to do a real workout, but 8x1min pick ups gave me some turnover and then striders the day after travel brought my legs around without any issues. I was very sad to leave Dillon in Houston. I didn’t have enough time there with him before I left. He was so supportive and encouraging as I sat in our room crying as I packed. I always say I want to travel, but doing it alone is far less meaningful and much more scary. It’s a catch 22 because I want him to be with me, yet, when I do travel, I like to just focus on myself and my needs and not be distracted. Flights went well, slept 4hrs and all I can say is that Advil PM saves my life on international trips. Otherwise I spend countless hours of frustration trying to force sleep. I also wore a hospital mask to help with germs.

germs

My immune system is just not that great, and having been sick 3 times in the past 2 mos, and getting the flu the week of Club XC, I figured I should try everything so I don’t have regrets. I look so weird though HAHA. Easy runs, the struggle to communicate, good food, and the connection with other runners took up the days before the event. Race day came and with it excitement, nerves, and adjustments to the routine. Shake out like usual 3hr before. 10min super easy at a wog (Walk/Jog) pace. 2 shots of expresso, one 2.5hrs before, and one 1.5hrs before… I asked for coffee, but I received this little guy.

The warm up itself was Kenyan style… I joined Betsy Saina and the Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes for a 20min jog 1hr before race time. It was 8-10min pace. I added on 4×20/40s to get in 3miles total. Then easy striders and drills before the race. I felt like I have been pushing too hard in my warm ups, so I made the adjustment here and was satisfied with the outcome. More starting line confusion (just like the NYRR race) as I couldn’t understand the announcer and all the sudden we were on the line and the gun fired. No commands. But I was ready, and had a great start this time, no jostling, no falls, really smooth and then settled into position. I felt strong, in control, relaxed in my form, and sharp in my mind.

Breathing routine was on par and I was right where I needed to be at the mile. I made the right decision to not go with the lead pack as their finishing times were much faster than what I am ready for. In hindsight, I would have pushed a little more after the first mile, as I settled maybe a bit too much. But I am very pleased with how I raced as I learned from each loop (2k x 3) what my competitors strengths and weaknesses were, so on the final lap I picked it up on the hills to separate us and put a 15sec gap over the last 1k. Finishing speed still needs work, and strength building so I can work harder in the middle part of the races, but I did negative split with a 10:03 3k and 19:56 finish time. I examined my finish line video (see below) and have since made some form adjustments to help me change gears more effectively.

Super chill 4mi cool down with Betsy gave me 12miles for the day. I didn’t use Advil pm before the race because I didn’t want to be groggy. Two nights before (the first night in Italy post travel) I slept 13hrs and felt great. But before the race I only got 6. The night after only 3… I should have taken it then, but I didn’t plan ahead and felt tired at 9 when I first tried to sleep, but by 1am when I was still up it was too late to take it because I had an early run date with Betsy in the morning. Annoying not to get that critical recovery slumber and now I know better. Everyone said they struggled sleeping after the race, so at least I wasn’t the only one and this seems to be a norm for most athletes. The run the next day was 8-9min pace for 8miles. I left the event feeling as if my patience and perseverance is beginning to pay off and the slow process of recovering and regaining consistent training after the injuries, illnesses, and surgery is on the upswing.