Monday, March 26, 2012

20km Road Walk NZ Nationals

I was not feeling as confident about this race now.  Leading up I was sure I would do great, my training was going well and I was sure I would get an awesome time.  I was aiming for 1.52 - 1.53 and new I could do it.  But when I woke up at 3.30am to make some breakfast I had trouble standing.  My calfs and shins were hurting so badly and my right leg was burning.  NOT a good start.  I had my food and got changed into my shorts and crop top...then climbed back into bed for some more sleep.  Plus this is my way of activating my "system" and going when I wake up....only this didnt work!  So I was worried I would end up with GI issues later in the morning.  I woke at 5.30am when Brooke sent me a text to say she was up and on her way.  I got up and quietly put my shoes on and headed off into the rain to met up with Brooke.  We drove into the city and picked up Jim and then headed to the road course.

It was a light drizzle when we arrived.  We walked down to the start and found some shelter under the eves of the funeral parlour opposite the start line.  I wandered off and joined a few of the others in a warm up lap.  The course was very slippery, with 5 turns and lots of white lines around.  In the drizzle it made them very slippery under foot.  When I came back from my warm up my coach asked how I was feeling and so I told him about my legs.  I was trying very hard to not focus on anything negative but I had to say something.  He quickly gave both my shins and calfs a hard massage and commented on how tight they felt.  In my haste to get ready early in the morning,  I had grabbed the wrong underwear and just after one lap to warm up I was getting rubbed....GREAT!!!   I quickly had time to put body glide on and before I knew it I was off to the start line.

We lined up and the gun goes off.  I set off at a pace I felt happy with.  I wanted to settle into my race pace and I was ok with taking the first km slower than needed.  Rozie was in front as expected and Brooke had headed out quicker than I first thought she would.  But I was happy to let her be.  Leslie again settled in behind me along with Alana.  I went through my first km in 5:37 and that was a fine pace for me.  On the second lap I passed Brooke and started to make some distance between myself and the others.  I wanted to put a good 100m or more behind me and over the next two km I did manage that.  I passed through 5km in 28:15.....way too slow.  It should have been 27:10

My right leg was starting to burn and my coach was trying to give me tips on how to get my glutes firing as he could see clearly that I was not working my glutes in this walk.  He could see that I was in trouble and there was little he could do.  Each time I tried to fire my glute my piroformus would grab the sciatic nerve and send pain down my leg.  By 8km I was struggling to land my right leg.  It felt dead and heavy and it was here that I was getting warnings on the course.  I could see that Lesley had gained on me and I was slowing. I passed through 10km in 57:13 and I figured all was not lost, I just had to hang on till 15km and then pick it up then.  But it was here that Lesley had caught me and passed me.  At first I thought to let her go but I was not sure if she would hold that pace for another 10km but the aggressor in me took chase.  I came up behind her and decided to sit right on her heel and push her faster than she planned.  My leg was screaming but my fitness felt fine.  I was not breathing hard and felt that I could hold this.  But during the 11km somehow we both slowed.  We had both been so focused on what each of us was doing that we lost touch with our pace and before we knew it Brooke had gained 30m on us.  Leslie pushed on and I pushed to catch her up, just as I headed around the tight dog leg my foot slipped out on the white line and the twist was enough to send a shot of pain into my hamstring.  I took check for a moment and it felt like it had settled.  I picked up the pace and chased after Leslie.  She was 10m ahead of me and over the next 300m I caught her up again.  As we rounded the big right turn to head back to the start finish, I landed on my right leg and as I turned to land my left leg I felt a stabbing pain go deep into my right hamstring.  It was like a knife had gone in my leg and it pulled me up instantly.  4 steps later and I get my first red card from the judge beside the turn and 300m later my second red card goes in.  Leslie had pulled away and now Brooke had just passed me.

My coach saw me struggling to walk.  Trying hard to keep legal so that I could stay in the race.  He called out and asked me if I could continue and I said Yes, I want to finish the race.  Next judge gave me a yellow warning, and then the next did too.  I was in agony.....both in my heart and my leg.  I felt like I was screaming inside.  I rounded the next corner and started working on my mental attitude...telling my self I can do this and that I can still catch them.  I looked up and saw Jim my coach with his arm up...signalling me to stop.  I knew I had to but I didnt want to................I was in so much pain.  But I follow his advise and stop..........I felt like I couldnt breathe ..... I had every emotion hit me ... and I burst into tears......and sobbed my  heart out mid field.  Leslie and Brooke round the dog leg and head back towards us and see me standing with Jim holding me while I sobbed and held my leg.  I have no idea what went through their minds at the moment........but I know that it changed the whole race for them both.  12km and I was out.

I have never NOT finished a race and I didnt know how to handle it.   I felt like a failure, I felt I had let everyone down, I felt robbed..................I felt devastated!!!  I limped slowly back to the ambulance and got an ice pack and then sat away by myself for a bit.  The race became exciting when Brooke passed Lesley and eventually went on to get silver in 1.55.?? and Lesley took bronze in 1.55.56

yes I was very happy for them.........but I was more disappointed in my self.  Hindsight is a great thing.  I probably should not have raced the 3000m and in truth....I probably should not have gone to Auckland as I dont think I had properly recovered from Hobart and the dehydration issues and kidney problems.

So I flew home late that night and now its Monday.  My leg is still very sore and so too are my calfs again.  My body hurts all over and my pride feels very battered.  Time for me to take a break from intense training for a little bit.  As we are selling our house, I think it is time to put some energy into this.  I will keep walking but for the next month it will be just for fun and fitness.

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