It’s been a really long time since I dreaded a race. In fact, I don’t remember the last time that happened. Before I go any further, I want to emphasize that my feelings about this race had nothing to do with the race itself, its organizers (Fleet Feet), or anything of the like. It’s not you. It’s me. I officially have “the burn-out.”
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
Coming off of my Twin Cities high, I had an itchy trigger finger (and legs). I wanted to be running. I wanted to be replicating that ridiculous PR feeling. I wanted to be RACING. As such, I whined and pouted through my rest week, ran too quickly in my recovery weeks, and tackled my progress unrealistically. I ran a marathon in 8:45s, so OBVIOUSLY I should be able to immediately keep up with the Kenyans, hit my Boston Qualifying goals, and win awards for lacing up my sneaks. I also signed up for a 5k and 8k with visions of massive PRs dancing in my head.
After my painful (albeit successful) Turkey Trot, I couldn’t shake the race dread. The Turkey Trot HURT. I had never truly raced a short distance, and I had no idea how painful they could be. And now, I was supposed to replicate that pain for almost twice as long?! Oh, helllllll no. My training was sporadic, and quite honestly, pretty half-assed, in the two weeks leading up to the second race. [Sorry, Coach.] I nailed my final track session, and felt good and healthy for the first time in weeks. Even still, I kept telling Penguin that I had ZERO interest in this race.
The gun was set to go off at 9a.m. (yesss late start!), and the start line was a mere 10 min walk from my apartment (yessss LOCAL race). My alarm went off at 7:30, and I seriously considered going back to bed. I reluctantly threw on my race outfit and ate my semi-burnt toast. I had decided to run in my Mrs. Claus outfit, but hadn’t bothered to lay anything out the night before. My GPS watch was dead (awesome), so my start was delayed so that I could charge it a bit. Truth be told, Mrs. Claus was lookin’ ROUGH. Like maybe she slept in her sleigh outside the bar. I had worn this in a past race, and knew that the top was inclined to slide down. No problemo, I thought, as I secured it with two safety pins.
I got to the race and checked my gear — it was drizzling and 30 degrees, and the whole “ughhhh” feeling about the race hadn’t really let up. I found Tiger Beat (he was easy to spot in his sleeveless top and shorts), as well as a college friend, and we lined up in the corral to await the gun. I lined up with the 8min group, which was ridiculously close to the start line for a race of 1600 participants.
The gun went off and the first mile was fairly uneventful. I quickly realized that, despite the safety pins, my top was NOT going to stay where I wanted it. I kept adjusting, but eventually gave up, thinking the pins would at least keep it kind of in place. I hit the first mile in just under 8 min, and I actually felt like I could throw myself into autopilot and finish at goal pace. That feeling lasted about 12 seconds, because the next mile and a half involved me seriously considering stripping off the dress and casually slinking off the course. My uterus was killing me (TMI? Don’t care.), and it took every ounce of mental strength I had to focus on the trail and my music and the dude running with a running blade and really just anything and everything I could possible concentrate on.
I finally hit the turnaround and started feeling human again, only to be slapped in the face by a headwind. At this point, my pace had slowed to an average of 8:20ish, and I was a bit frustrated that I had wasted a tailwind. I hit the 4mi mark and was just willing for this race to be over. I didn’t hurt like I did at the Turkey Trot, but I was tired. I could have pushed a little harder, and maybe I should have, but I had already resigned myself to falling short of my 8min goal pace. I DID push through the finishing chute, feeling strong and excited to be done. The announcer belted my name as I crossed, which was really nice, and I saw Tiger Beat waiting for me.
I didn’t even glance at my final time (just saw my avg pace), and told people I had “barely PR’d.” I wasn’t pouting, and I wasn’t upset, but I was definitely a little flat about it. As I walked home in the rain, I dug out my phone to check my previous 8k PR (43:40), and compare that with my watch time.
Huh. I ran a 41:32 (an 8:22 pace). I had “barely PR’d” by two whole minutes.
I’m such a brat. One of these days, these giant numbers are going to fade, and I’m going to have to get used to the fact that a PR is a PR.
The best part was when I got home and realized how ridiculous my wardrobe issues had become. I couldn’t stop laughing. Don’t see what’s so funny? Hold on. LET ME SHOW YOU JUST HOW HOW BAD THIS WAS.
1) Tiger Beat finished 6th overall, absolutely killing it and landing 1st in his AG;
2) A college friend finished 8th, also 1st in his AG. It was a big day for guys named Matt;
3) I finished 35/255 in my AG, 305/1596 overall, and 126/1069 females. I’m not satisfied with these numbers, but;
4) If I don’t run another short-distance race in the next six months, I’ll consider that a success.
Even as I write this, I’m looking at my stats and thinking “Ugh. I can do better.” I guess I’m more competitive than I like to think I am. This reminds me of a great post I just read over at In It To Win It, where Lizzy explains that you can be happy, but you can’t ever be satisfied. Go check it out (and be amazed by her CIM sub-3, while you”re at it…)