Jesse's Blog 58 - Road Race
Happy cherry blossom season!
Last weekend was the cherry blossom festival in Hitachi, and it was pretty much perfect. The blossoms were basically full, and the weather was nice. Of course, I was working on Saturday, but I was able to fully enjoy the festival on Sunday. That also includes the Sakura Road Race!
Yes, I joined the race. No, I didn't run the half marathon. Billy sensei did though! Sarah sensei and I both ran the 10km marathon. I don't think I could actually survive a half marathon, because my knees are too weak. I ran 10km last year, but it was really difficult, so I wanted to practice more this year. Unfortunately, I didn't. I practiced a little three weeks before the race, but then the next week I got a bad cold so I couldn't practice at all, and then I didn't want to practice too close to the race either. In the end, I think I went running 4 or 5 times total.
The good news is, I improved my time by 5 minutes! Last year I finished 10km in 61 minutes, and this year I finished in 56 minutes. I'm pretty happy about that. My main goal was only to do better than I did last year, so anything better than 60 minutes would have made me happy.
Unfortunately, my improved time had nothing to do with my body being stronger. It isn't. I didn't practice enough to make myself stronger, and the kind of exercise I did during my diet was only good for losing weight, not for strength. In fact, I think the only thing that caused my improved time, was willpower. Willpower is strength of mind and spirit, not body. If you are on a diet and somebody offers you cake, it is your willpower that helps you say no. I improved my time with willpower.
The reason I think that, is because of my heart rate. Every time I run, I wear a heart monitor. It measures my heart, and connects to my smart phone to display the data. Your heart rate is a sign of how hard your body is working. When you get stronger, you can run farther and faster with a lower heart rate. For me, when I'm practicing running, I usually have an average heart rate of about 150. I can continue running a pretty long time at that heart rate. Going up hills it will go up to 160 for a little while, then back to 150 when the hill is finished. That's my normal running heart rate.
I'm an American, and we are very competitive people. That's why in the race last year, I was so motivated I was able to run the whole race with an average heart rate of 160, which means I worked much harder than in any of my practices. This year? I finished this race with an average heart rate of 168. That shows that I pushed myself even harder than I did last year, which was already harder than normal. I definitely felt like I was going to die at the end!
It was a good experience, but I'm ready to rest now. It was nice to see that I can still push myself harder, but next year I should probably make my body stronger, or I really will die...