I am a firm believer in learning from past mistakes. The problem is, it sometimes takes awhile to figure out what those mistakes were until you repeat them a few times, or enough time has passed that you can see clearly. I’ve had enough time the last few years to reflect on some of my events and can pinpoint the mistakes I made for each one.
My First 5K
Run Like Hell 5k was my very first race. I’d trained for the 5k but wasn’t following any program, which I wish I’d done now that I’ve been working through the Couch to 5K program. The mistake I made in my first race was pacing. I did not pace myself and halfway through I was fizzling out. Part of that could have been the fact that I had the flu for two weeks leading up to the race and just wasn’t healthy enough to run it (but did it anyways), but PACING was huge. It’s so hard not to go really fast at the beginning!
Reach The Beach
You can read the Reach The Beach posts here: Recap 1,Recap 2, Recap 3. Reach the Beach was my first cycling event. Michael started from the 75 mile start point and I started at the 55 mile start point. The race a great one and even though my bike broke in the last 10 miles (that was not fun) I crossed the finish line and overall felt great about the whole thing. Michael and I had been training every weekend doing the 40 mile loop through Portland and it helped a lot! Physically I was ready for it.
What was the mistake? There were two. The first was not being prepared for the drastic climate change at the beach. It was freezing and I was wearing shorts and a short-sleeved jersey and was shivering so badly we thought I was getting hypothermia. The other mistake was not fueling properly.
Fuel is SO important for any long distance event. I should have known better because there were several training rides where I crashed because I didn’t eat enough along the way. It took awhile after all of this to figure out WHAT to eat while riding (dried apricots work well) so I don’t crash. That crash is not fun.
Taking my experience from the 5k I think I did really well on this race. I trained, I paced myself the entire time and felt really good afterward. You can read the recap here: I DID IT!!!!!!
So what was the mistake in this one if everything went well? I ended up injured afterward (thankfully for only about a week after) with bursitis in my ankle. It hurt like hell. The reason I got bursitis? Not paying attention to how I was running for that last mile of the race. I was getting wrapped up in being almost done and the excitement of the crowd…I was running DOWNHILL and I was running too fast, stomping my feet too hard, and my stride was too long. Basically, I hurt myself because I wasn’t paying attention.
Hood to Coast
Hood to Coast…so many emotions, so many feelings. It was something so epic and massive and I’m happy I accomplished it. It was difficult, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Here are some of the Hood to Coast posts: Hood to Coast: Leg 12, Leg 24, Leg 36, Crossing the Finish Line , Day One, After my First Run, Hurry Up and Wait, The Home Stretch, Because You Can’t Do Epic Alone.
I made a few mistakes in HTC…The first was training. I did NOT train properly leading up to the event. I had tons of time, nearly a year, to train. I wish I had done a structured program instead of just running. I also didn’t do ENOUGH miles. I had 3 legs in the race and each were around 4-6 miles each. The most I ran in one training session was I think 8 1/2 miles? I should have been building up to 15 miles at a time and I never got there.
The mistake during the race was in the last leg. I was exhausted, sore, my legs were tightening up, and I should have listened to my body those last two miles and given myself permission to take a walking break. I did not and I think that’s what started my knee issues. Sure I accomplished Hood to Coast without walking, but now I wish I had.
The last mistake was a week after. I went back to running too soon. I had my heart set on running a half marathon and I wanted to get started training ASAP. I should have taken it easy, I should have stuck to light workouts and swimming only. Instead, I pushed it and injured my IT Band.
The Portland Century
There wasn’t anything I necessarily did wrong with this one. I’d say this is one of the more successful events I’ve done. I biked 72 miles with the bare minimum of training. If I had to do it over again I would have trained more, but the little bit I did seemed to be okay. The posts can be read here: Part 1, Part 2, The End, Recovery.
Peach of a Century
I did the metric century in Peach of a Century a few summers ago. This was the last event I did. You can read the posts here: Peach of a Century Part 1, Peach of a Century Part 2. I did okay with my training and did really well during the event. I felt really good afterwards. I fueled properly, I paced myself. It was good.
So what was the mistake? It was the same one I made with Hood to Coast — I went back to activity TOO SOON. This was the event that started my Runner’s Knee. I guess the only GOOD thing that came out of this was that I FINALLY admitted that I needed to fix the weaknesses in my body. I started weight lifting on a consistent basis and improved my body in a lot of ways. That runner’s knee still plagues me off and on and it will probably be something I always have to deal with…but I am focusing on strengthening my glutes, consistently doing yoga to stretch out my tight muscles and working on my balance. It will be a lifelong project I think.
Portland Parks & Rec 5K
It’s coming up soon! I really hope that I’ve done well with my training and learned from my mistakes in the past. Time will tell!
To sum it up…I learned how important crosstraining is, that RECOVERY is crucial, and that I need to listen to my body–when it hurts, when I should back off and when there’s clearly something unbalanced!
What lessons have you learned from past mistakes?