Well, another sucky attempt at this stupid 5k distance.
Problem number one: I don't know what my current pace is. At any distance really, but mostly for speed work. I met a friend from the race team and we went for a short jog before the race and she asked me what pace I hoped to race. Having really no clue, I told her it'd be nice if I could run solid 8s for each mile, that would land me just slightly below 25minutes. SADLY - that's just where I am right now (I ran this race 2 years ago and it is my current 5k PR of 22:09. sigh).
Problem number 2: I have lost my ability to properly pace myself, I've lost what pace FEELS like.
I wore my Garmin, specifically because I didn't want to go out too fast and die at the end (long time readers know I don't like to wear the Garmin in races because I spend WAY too much time looking at the thing and not concentrating on what a certain pace feels when I run!) . Funny... Garmin or not.....
Mile 1: 7:27 (oh crap!)
Mile 2: 8:09 (better, but I was already pretty cooked. ugh)
Mile 3: 8:39 (really? Holy suckville!)
Overall: 25:21 (8:04 pace)
I'm not upset at the time, I fully accept this is where my conditioning is right now, I just wish I'd have run it more consistently pace.
Somehow though, I managed 3rd in my age group. I'm not sure how I pulled off that miracle other than thank you for smaller races.
This "comeback" thingie is really blowing - big time. I honestly have no one to blame but myself. Whatever progress I was making last fall is gone. February should have been a great month to get my head on straight and get back to the speed work, yet it was anything but. I've managed to mutilate any and all progress ... but every race I do, good or bad, teaches me something about myself out there and I think this race was just what I needed to kick my fat butt ... what a HUGE wake-up call!
I have a plan, I really do, and I think it's going to go great.
Starting this Tuesday, the Phidippides Track Club fires back up again and I will be the first one there with check and release form in hand. This is a interval speed work track club and these guys are wickedly fast and really make me push myself out of my lollygagging comfort zone. I'm also starting to work with a guy from the team who is making me go to these cardio boot camp classes. If you've never been to an hour-long cardio boot camp class, I'm here to tell you that this class will KICK YOUR SWEATY BUTT (and every other sweating pore in your body). Holy crap this class is insanely tough. This guy is also going to work with me get my diet under control and help me try to understand why I keep sabotaging it; it will be great to have someone other than myself to toss ideas out and someone there for support.
I think with these new plans in place, by summer I will be able to regain the fitness level which I desire. I've just gotta put all the personal stuff aside and stop using it as an excuse and keep my head focused. I know I can do it!
So today's feeble attempt at consistent pacing brought me to recall a marathon I did a few years ago: The Big Sur Marathon in 2008. Bleh! Fellow blogger and Pikes Peak extraordinaire, GZ (what an incredible athlete he is!!), recently wrote a great post, "If you could make it right....", asking readers what performance you'd make RIGHT if you could have another chance. Meaning, what race did YOU personally screw up so badly and wished you could re-do it all over again.
It appears I have a reoccurring pacing pattern, Truthfully, though, this inconsistent pacing problem is more a lack of proper training. If I haven't done the work, I don't know where my pace should be. I hadn't done the work for today's race and I hadn't run a prior marathon in 5 years when I ran Big Sur. Both left me sort of clueless out there on the course.
In 2007, I started working with a personal trainer (very long time readers will recall that whole nightmare - ha) as my goal in 2008 was to get to Boston and I knew I needed some serious weight training to get my body fat down to race strong. But I didn't want Big Sur to be my BQ race; I wanted to go to Big Sur with my girlfriends and Big Sur teach me the valuable lessons about pacing and fueling, etc. that I had lost with my marathon hiatus. I wanted to use Big Sur as a fun run as I got into better shape for a fall BQ race.
But my then-trainer had other plans and told me there was no reason for me not to BQ in Big Sur (Hell yeah there is...that's one of the hardest marathons out there...can you say holy monster hills, Batman!?!). But in my stupid head, I wanted to please him - despite telling him repeatedly I did not want to BQ in Big Sur - and when I stepped on the start line of that race, in sweltering heat and horrific winds, I thought to myself I was going to get to Boston or I was going to die trying. I wanted to show him I could do it.
Mile 1 I think I clocked about a 7:20 mile. I held onto this insane pace - even though I only needed a 9:10 pace to BQ. My head thought I could hold on to this for the entire race.
By mile 18 I was puking. The heat. The hills. The wind. The ridiculous pace all got to me and I almost DID die trying.
It took me 3 months to get over that race, I was literally was so distraught how poorly I ran it....but mostly, I was upset with myself that I set some stupid goals to make someone other than ME happy with my performance. That race cost me a small fortune and who knows if I'd ever have the funds to go back and run it correctly. But, as lessons are always learned in a race....and I will never run another race to please anyone other than myself. Ever.
|Big Sur course. Ugly scenery, huh? :)|
|My friend, Kathryn and I, at the start. I knew I could be doomed when the start |
was already 80 degrees.
|Standing at the bottom of the infamous 2-mile long Hurricane Point Hill.|
|The Bixby Bridge.|
|Great friends I ran with!|
|The pink ice plants were incredible!|
How about you guys, do you have a race you'd like a do-over? If so, which one and why? I love hearing other's stories....
Until next time....
Run strong, friends!