Sunday, 8 May 2016

The Race Recap!

Hidily-hodily friendly friends and happy happy whatever today is to you!!

Why am I in such a giddy, happy mood? It could have something to do with the delicious breakfast of lemon coconut bites and a frozen grape and banana green smoothie I enjoyed for breakfast this morning outside, under cover watching the rain crash down (oddly calming- anyone else agree?), or the fact that today was a lazy, lie-in, complete rest day that let my body just reeeelax (haven't had a rest day in a while and felt like the body could do with a little stress reduction... feeling a cold coming on!)

Anywho, it could have something to do with all of those things but that's not why I am so utterly and absolutely elated.


The actual reason?

You're reading (was going to say looking but then I realised you can't actually see me :P) the words of  the open girls cross country champion for my school! So stoked right now!

You may remember from last year me doing a post on winning the year 11 cross country race.. but I feel like this is an even bigger deal and I'm not going to lie I'm pretty proud of myself. You see I've been in and out of almost falling into my old-friend ITB syndrome and runners knee injury for the past month or so, struggling to maintain good posture and running style and ensuring that I was stretching and foam roller-ing (you should see the bruises on my leg from my spike-y roller- ouch!) every night, combined with the nerves of knowing I was definitely doing a heck of a lot less training than I wanted to be for preparation for this race. I got to the point where I was doing multiple Blogilates cardio videos to last for a good 30 mins to get that same heart rate and breathing that I would from a tough run to increase my lung capacity and stamina!

I hadn't run since Sunday and the race was on Friday. This was due to the fact that after a longer than planned run on Sunday (around 6.5km) my leg became quite stiff indeed and I felt the niggling pain in the outside part of my left knee starting to return. Dang it, Steph, I thought- why'd you have to go out and run for longer than needed?

Come Friday, I was nervous. This is something I truly wanted. This was a big goal for me. This added immensely to the nerves. To put it in perspective? I had two of my school services to attend where I was speaking in both as head girl and the one thing I was truly nervous about was running those 3km!

Better yet? The girls were the very last runners to be let out of the gates (it went social walkers in the middle school, then senior school, then the boys running the 4km and then when every single person was back, the girls running the 3km! Hello butterflies! I couldn't even eat all of my lunch- cous cous salad with veggies and 4 beans- because I was just starting to feel sick)

Should have told myself this to get me through!!

At last we were off, as per usual everyone started in a sprint, I got intimidated and of course tried to stay with the pack. Foolishly. I felt the pain pretty early in (and I wasn't even on the hill for the way back!) I tried to keep the same high pace but definitely felt my body crying out for my usual slow and sustained pace I run for my long runs. I had my eye on the prize though, and I think my mental strength started to take over after about the half way point when I noticed the one year 12 girl in front of me begin to slow down- she started so, so strong and I had pretty much resigned to the fact of getting runner up behind her.

 But I was catching her up this hill (spanning all the way back to my school- I know, how cruel is that!?!) Then I was by her side and gaining ground. And then she said; 'Go Steph. Go.' and off I ran. Those couple of words gave me some inhuman strength to keep going and push myself faster than I had started down the hill. I was gaining ground, I was getting closer and closer to school... then I saw the line-up of cars on the one bit of road we had to cross and I knew i would be stopped to let them through. Worst nightmare confirmed.

I jogged on the spot, not because I felt I needed to but mainly just to calm the nerves of not moving and my competitor being right behind me and suddenly in view. As soon as I saw her round the corner, I was let off and began an even quicker sprint/ run up that dreaded hill.

And then I saw the gates. Lungs not filling with oxygen, eyes cast down, feeling like I was going to throw up the entire contents of food in my belly... and then I was through. just half an oval before I would win. I saw a girl from another year in front of me, maybe 4-6 meters or so. She was fast but she didn't have anything left in the tank. And I did. Somehow I had the remaining energy to sprint my heart out, straight past her and through the finish line, finishing stronger than I ever had before.

I had done it. I had won champion girl. And I felt like I was going to puke! Alas, I did not, instead I got my name taken down, tried to drink (wasn't breathing properly yet) hugged the runner up (we're really close and have been running cross country together for a few years now) and tried to stretch out my throbbing legs (they hadn't worked that hard in a long time!). I was utterly bewildered how I managed the win after such a reduction in training and shaky legs. And just so so so happy as well.

In my smart ways of mine, I had agreed to go to a party that night too- which just felt so good on my legs! Not! But it was still fun, even though I woke up super early Friday morning (too nervous to sleep!) and so was ready for bed at around 9:30pm at the party! :D Ahh, life of a runner :P.

So that is my race recap for my school's 2016 cross country qualifying race! And guess what, there's going to be another race recap coming up soon after I run the 12km HBF Run for a Reason coming up later this month (22nd)! So get excited for that one (an actual distance I like to run!! :)

Today my legs feel tight, sore and like they've been cramping, but a few epsom salt baths, stretching and foam rolling should bring em' right back to their glorious selves!

Your turn:
What's the most recent race you've run? Any marathoners out there? My ultimate goal!!
Anyone currently injured at the moment? What did you do?
Tips fro feeling before an afternoon race? I never usually run any time other than before breakfast (with zero food in ma belly) so it was quite strange to eat around an hour before starting and I did feel quite sick during the run!)
The trophy :)

I hope you enjoyed this little recap and let me know if you want to see more of these kinds of posts (they're quite fun to write!!).
Happy, slightly exhausted, slightly dazed Steph after race!

Have yourself a fabulous day, do something that truly makes you happy and that your body with thank you for. Look after yourselves and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends!! :D

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