Saturday, 31 August 2013

My Jost Running 10k race

Last week I competed in my second Jost Running race. This time around it was a 10k race that had me competing against people from all over the world, a fact that I love! 

I woke up early on race day, had my usual pre-race breakfast, checked the weather, and got my running gear on. After filling my water bottle and grabbing an energy gel, I was ready to head out for my 10k race.

The night before I mapped out a route I never ran before. I did that to make it more exciting and unpredictable. I had no idea where or how many hills there would be or what the terrain would be like. As most races I run are on routes I never ran before, I thought it would be a good idea to do the same thing for this race. I headed towards the starting line and was pumped! I set my finishing goal for an 1 hour and 10 minutes. I was off! My race had started.

My plan was to run this race doing a few sets of running 20 minutes and walking 1. I started with a slow pace plans to speed it up after I passed the 5k mark. I remember thinking if anyone else was running this race at the same time I was and what their plan of attack was. 

I encountered a few early hills but I was fresh and took them on without any problems. I completed my first set of 20 minutes of running and took my first walking break. After a sip of water and 1 minute of walking, I was off again.

After I passed the 5k mark, I increased my speed. I was running a bit faster than I should have been as I felt a loss of energy after I reached my second set of running 20 minutes. I consumed the energy gel, drank more water and began running again only at a slower pace. 

As I headed toward the final part of the race, I saw something I wished I didn't see. HILLS!!! Lots of HILLS! I knew the finish was going to be tough. 

Those hills took a lot out of me. The inclines were deep. For a moment I thought I was in San Francisco! 

I finished the race with a time of 1 hour and 12 minutes. I missed my goal by 2 minutes. I blame it on those hills! 

I really enjoyed myself again during this Jost Running race.

I am currently training for my next Jost Running race which will be a half marathon. I can't wait for that race! 

Sunday, 4 August 2013

My first Jost Running 5k race

Today was my first 5k race with Jost Running. I wasn't sure what to expect as I normally run races with hundreds of other runners, this was my first stab at running a virtual race against other runners from all over the world. I anxious to know how I would handle a virtual race and today I would find out.

The words "virtual race" did not my prevent me from thinking that this was different from any race I had done in the past. I kept my same race routine leading up to race day. I psyched myself up exactly the same and I set my goal. My goal was to finish the race in under 33 minutes. I was never really concerned with speed so I figured 33 minutes was a fair goal for myself. I planned out the 5k route the night before race day and made sure I had a good night sleep.

I woke up early and had my normal pre race breakfast of granola, blueberries and vanilla soy milk. This would be enough fuel for me to finish this race. I changed into my running gear, pinned on my bib, and off I went. I approached the starting line of my 5k route at around 9:00 am. I had it fixed in my mind that this was no ordinary run but a real race and I was competing against many others from around the world. I closed my eyes, counted to 10 and I was off. My race had begun.

I started with an easy pace as my strategy was to hit the gas at the last kilometre. I was making decent time as I wanted to accomplish my goal of under 33 minutes. If at any time I forgot this was a race, my bib would remind that is was and I better not slack off. All I could think about was how I am going to compare to all the other times. I thought about all the other runners who would be running this 5k race and competing with me. With that in mind, I sped up my pace  a bit. As I got to the third kilometre, I actually had a passerby say "Go Lewis!", as they saw my race bib. That gave me a good feeling! The 4th kilometre was coming up and I knew I needed to turn it up and run hard for the finish.

As soon as I passed the 4th kilometre I started running hard as my time was 24:32 I was in the home stretch and wanted to hit my goal of under 33 minutes. I was thinking about the other runners competing and how they are going to handle their homestretch. I continued to run hard for the finish until I crossed the finish line with a time of 31:59! I was very proud that I accomplished my goal by over a minute! I took a long drink of water and immediately wondered how my time will compare to the other runners. I went home, sent my time in and now look forward to getting my medal! 

As I stated, this was my first virtual race and I had a blast! Knowing that I was competing with other runners kept me focused and motivated the entire race. Just the thought that my time will be compared to other runners all over the world is very exciting! And receiving a medal for my hard work is very rewarding! 

I'm now looking forward to my next race with Jost Running. It will be a 10k so I better start training as it is coming up later this month and I want to focus on a good finishing time. 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Being a first time running instructor

This is the last week of a 10 week running clinic for beginner runners that I was instructing. It was my first go as a running instructor and I'd like think I did an good job. I met and became friends with a number of individuals who I had the pleasure of teaching the "art" of running.

It felt like yesterday when the manager of the local Running Room, which I work part time for, asked if I would like to instruct the Learn To Run clinic as she felt I would be good at it. I was reluctant at first as I never instructed anyone on the basics of running. I wasn't sure I would be any good at it. I remember thinking that it would be a great challenge to guide a group of novice runners and train them to be race ready for an upcoming 5k race. The challenge was too good to pass up so I accepted. Finding out that I would get paid for it as well was a nice bonus. So for the first time in my life, I was actually getting paid to run! 

I found out there would be 11 people in my group. That got me a bit nervous. All I could think about was how these 11 people were going to be counting on me to get them through 10 weeks and make them better runners, build there endurance, give them tips on improving, show them proper stretching techniques, offer injury prevention advice, guide them on proper clothing and shoes, proper nutrition, etc. Yep, I was getting nervous.

So the first day arrived, I had my notes ready and greeted the runners of my group as they walked in. Soon all 11 had arrived and were patiently seated waiting for me to begin. The only problem was I was in the stores washroom asking myself if I was ready for this. A co-worker  knocked on the door and said, "Lewis, its 6:30, they are waiting for you to start. This was it! It was showtime!

I walked up to the front of the group and introduced myself again. That's when I noticed that all 22 eyes are focused on me ready to learn, ready to hear me talk about running, ready to follow my lead as a runner. I talked for a bit sounding rather nervous but was okay overall. I had everyone introduce themselves and explain why they have joined the group. I felt I needed to break the ice somehow, ease the tension and my nervousness. I got my opportunity. One of the runners introduced herself and told everyone she was nervous as she didn't know "how to run". I asked if anyone shared her worry about not knowing "how to run". A few others raised their hands. I informed them it was easy to run. I told them all you need to do is put your right foot in front of your left foot, then your left foot in front of your right foot and repeat. Then I thanked them for coming and jokingly said "Good night folks!" This got a nice laugh and all tension and nervousness disappeared. 

We went out for an easy run which everyone enjoyed. I helped everyone during the run, answered questions, and offered advice. I was already enjoying the role of instructor. I knew this was for me.

The weeks went by and sadly a number of runners did drop out. One due to injury and others just stopped showing up. This made me think that I need to do more to motivate people so they won't want to drop out. The thought that I didn't do enough sticks in my mind. 

My first group ended up with a core of 6 people. Watching them complete their first race and knowing that I played a big part in that is so gratifying. It's a wonderful reward when someone comes up to you and thanks you for getting them prepared for their first race, that they couldn't do it without me.  

Yes, being an running instructor is a role I want for a long time. I was asked to instruct the next group of beginner runners. So I guess I am doing something right. And mark my words, I will see to it that nobody quits. That's my goal. Making sure all who starts finishes.