I haven’t written for a while as life again has been pretty crazy, and then coming down with a cold it hasn’t been much fun in the last week.
I thought I would continue on from my last post and talk you through the recent City to South race I ran – my first proper road race (not counting one park run) run on Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) eating.
I have to say I was pretty daunted at the prospect of running 14k in race conditions without my usual plan of having carbs a few days before and on the day of the race, but I trusted my banting coach and went for it.
My usual race prep would have been have carbs the night before, along with plenty of water and then in the morning my breakfast of carbs – a banana and oats. This time the night before I had a normal dinner of protein, fats and vegetables, and then in the morning I had – a coffee with three tablespoons of cream – a bit of a difference!
I was meant to have some salt water an hour before the race and I forgot. It is meant to help with cramping. I had it around my waist in one of my bottles and only realised later when during the race I took a swig and almost gagged!
So my lovely friend Sam and I parked and made our way to the start of the race. I was fairly calm – had my two toilet visits (my running ritual!) and was ready to go! It was really cold, and the race was a couple of minutes starting and then we were off!
I found to begin with that I felt good. I kept a solid and comfortable pace a little it under what I thought I could run and plugged into my iPod and settled into the race. There were plenty of people running and it bottle necked a bit, but I was doing an ok pace.
I have come to terms with the fact that my running times whilst adapting to fat and LCHF way of life are slower. I have dropped almost 30 secs off my usual per km pace but haven’t been stressing about it. So I got through the first few km and was feeling ok.
By the time I got to 5k I started to feel a little bit fatigued. I saw Sam and she looked good and I realised I might be pushing too hard so I slowed a little bit to prepare myself for the hills, and whereas I used to power up the hills I found myself slowing right down to chug up the hills and to keep a good endurance level.
Hills, Hills and More Hills
I found the race quite hilly, and my mind started to play tricks on me and convince me that without the carbs it was a disaster so I started to wane a bit as the hills came and went. I found myself telling myself I wasn’t going to be able to get around the distance and what was I thinking trying to race on low carbs, and it was a real battle but I pushed on determined to finish. Some of the hills were pretty tough but I just slowed down and chugged up whilst people passed me.
I found with my legs that they didn’t feel as bouncy as they usually did in a race. I am assuming that was lack of carbohydrate…who knows but it wasn’t impossible but it just felt that little bit harder when I tried to push. I have heard with LCHF however that endurance improves but the ability to sprint can be reduced.
What happened to team spirit?
One of the things that really disappointed me in the race was the team spirit of some of the runners. I saw a young guy struggling as I was running, he was walking with his head bent on the side of the road. I saw him from afar and could see that he was in distress, yet no-one stopped to check if he was ok. I think it must have been the ‘mum’ in me and as I got closer to him I checked if he was ok and he said ‘No’. He looked really sad and like he was beaten down – it was a tough course and I think he had over estimated how fast he could run. I asked him if he wanted me to get some help but he said he would carry on walking and urged me to carry on running which in the end I did – but I have to just say – I would have stopped and walked with him if he needed it, and it was really disappointing that no-one stopped before me.
As I pushed up Highgate I really struggled but was determined that the hill was not going to beat me and I took an extra swig of my ‘salt’ water which as I mentioned before I was meant to have before the race! After making it up Highgate I figured there were a couple of KM left so it should be plain sailing…no …. there was another hill which caught me out! I pushed up that and realised then that the race was almost over – and as usual I was like a homing pigeon and as soon as I realised where the finish was I literally sprinted.
I don’t know where the energy came from but I pushed to the finish and almost cried when I finished. It had been such an effort. My time was ok and I think my average pace was 6.06km which is not really quick at all, but I was proud I had achieved it on LCHF, and my first hurdle was over! My friend Sam had finished just before me and we got our usual photo taken and headed home jubilant – having finished.
Now to look to the next race on the Sunshine Coast and to learn from this race.
Have a great week!