It finally happened. The Star Wars Dark Side First Order Challenge (10K + Half Marathon) race finally was here. This is the race that got me motivated for over a year and seemed imposible and crazy. Me? A Half Marathon?? And a 10K before that??? That’s gotta be crazy. Yet, we signed up and got on it.
There were so many things I wasn’t ready for, but I’m taking this as a learning opportunity to be better the next time as I start looking at the other crazy challenges I have planned for the rest of the year).
Tired. I was very freaking tired during the challenge. The night before traveling I practically didn’t sleep (2, 3 hours maybe) as I was working late at night and getting ready to fly. Then the flight on Friday morning, getting the stuff, walking around, going to bed late and tired from the travel only to wake up at 3am (2am my time) to do the 10K, go to Animal Kingdom, walk a crap ton, go to bed again late, wake up again at 3am (did I said it was 2am my time zone?), do the Half Marathon, then crash. It was just to fucking much. Definitely if I ever do this again I’ll need to plan better my time around the parks and get some rest at some point. I was getting 2-3 hours of sleep (maybe 4) before and during the challenge and that really really burned me out. In ideal conditions (being at home and sleeping more than 4-5 hours) I definitely think I could have had a less miserable experience come running time, but then again, that’s why we train and adjust. Lesson learned: get some sleep!!
The weather. The last 6 months basically I’ve been training in the frozen tundra that I like to call home. I never thought about Florida humid weather which wasn’t so bad when you think about it (Dam 2 Dam 2017 weather was worse) but I wasn’t ready for it and it took me by surprise. Lesson learned: seriously think about the weather for race day when traveling. Also hidrate properly days before the challenge and during the challenge.
Have running gear and fueling stuff at hand. I forgot my pace band at home, I forgot my earphones at the hotel for the Half, I didn’t took my pre-workout for the Half (I missed my energy kick!). Not cool. Not cool.
Recovery. Thank goodness my wife insisted me to book a massage on Sunday after the Half. Also, ice bath and epsom salt baths for the win. That totally helped me up to get back on my feet (literally) on Sunday night.
The mental breakdown (or hitting the wall). Since I was doing the Half with no music I had a lot of time to think and chat with myself. Not a very good idea. Specially after that mile 6 when my body started to complain and I hit my wall. Something about having my parents there didn’t help at all. I know it’s stupid but having them there got me messed up. Wanting to “prove” and “show” them what I was capable of and then greatly under perform (based on my expectations) really really bummed me out. But then again it’s all mental, they were proud as heck of me for doing this, my wife was proud of me for even waking up in the middle of the night, my daughter was happy and proud to see her daddy run. Me however I was feeling like shit, for not doing what I wanted, what I was going after. But hey, if Shalane Flanagan can fail then so can I. At some point I remembered what my original goal for this race was: do not get swept by the balloon ladies and finish in one piece. And I did that!! Anyway, learn to deal with expectations and don’t feel like shit when things don’t go my way.
The race. The races were pretty cool and even though all the stuff that I mentioned above happened I really liked them and would definitely consider doing something like this again. Good vibes, cool costumes, didn’t stop for pictures, the cast members were encouraging and running through the parks is a really cool experience. Also cool medals!
What’s next? The month is almost over and I’m a few miles away from completing my April goal. Do a few recovery runs during the week and go back to bootcamp. Prepare for Dam 2 Dam on June 2nd and start adding miles and training for the big races coming up at the end of the year.
Caesar over and out.