Edit 2/16/17: Photos are in!
Yesterday, the journey I’ve been chronicling for the last few weeks finally came to fruition: yesterday I ran and completed my first competitive wave at Warrior Dash. A little over a month of training crammed in between long days of work finally finished off with a long morning and a great race. Here are some of the things I got out of my first competitive run:
My first big achievement worth discussing is my time. I’ve never been good at tracking my time in these races, but I made a goal to accomplish this race between 40-45 minutes. I didn’t finish in that range, but still completed the course in less than 50 minutes. That’s a number I can be happy with. Considering the conditions of the day with the low 50’s temperature and incredibly soft sand, I’m glad about that number.
The other great thing about finishing in under 50 minutes is not being “lapped.” In previous races, I end up meeting people on the course who started a wave or two after me. The next wave after 8am started at 8:30, and I stayed far enough ahead of that group to not get lapped. It may not have been my goal time, but it was still a respectable finish for a competitive wave. And I’m happy about that.
So yes, disappointments are possible. Let me just say that my disappointments did not involve my expectations. I already knew I wasn’t going to make it to the podium or qualify for the OCR World Championships (although either one of those would’ve been awesome). I did have two major disappointments.
The first was my pacing. I started off on one of the best paces I’ve had in a while. At the second water station, I asked for a time and distance estimate. I was just shy of the two-mile mark at 22 minutes. That’s actually a pretty impressive pace for me. However, after that, I definitely started slowing down. Two miles in and my pace was good. Finishing right before 50 minutes means it took me over 25 minutes to finish the last mile plus. Maybe it was the cold. Maybe it was the soft sand wearing me down. Whatever it was, it dragged me down.
The other and biggest disappointment was getting in my own head. Here’s the situation: Like I said before, I was keeping a good pace, I was getting through obstacles better than before. Through the last mile, I had a few rougher times. After crawling through the obstacle Magic Carpet Ride (and seriously, I’m sorry to say, but crawling? For real?), I went into Fisherman’s Catch with wet hands. And slipped twice. TWICE. Those stinkin’ metal grips and wet hands don’t mix. After that, I ran through soft sand and leaped over the fire with little confidence that I’d make it over. Then I started cramping as I went through Pipeline. And at that moment, my confidence was shot. I got over Pallet Jacked in a shaky fashion, then came Goliath, one of Warrior Dash’s signature obstacles. I climbed up the cargo net, got to the top, looked down the slide, and couldn’t bring myself to the edge. I sat up there for several minutes, watching others head down the slide with no problems. My friend called me from below encouraging me (or she told me later; I couldn’t hear her). And after all that time, I decided not to go down the slide. I climbed back down the cargo net and walked around. After finishing the race, I hated that I went around the obstacle. I hated that I talked myself out of it. So, this is my lesson: stay out of your head. I knew I could go down that slide. I knew I wasn’t too tired or that my calf wouldn’t cramp; I just psyched myself out. And I should never have done that.
So What Next?
Well, is my conversion from casual to competitor ending here? Honestly, as I thought about it, no it hasn’t. I would love to try a competitive wave again. And maybe with some more training and better focus, maybe I could get through it faster. Maybe I’ll be up on that podium myself. But for now, I’m glad I made it through the course. In one piece. And that’s pretty incredible.
Edit 2/16/17: The gallery below are the photos taken by Gameface Media. I should have photos from my friend soon. Keep a look out for that!