Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mind Games (A Race Report)

Maybe you remember my description of the Up the Lazy River 10k--a great big, giant, killer hill just after mile 3.  Of course, I last ran it in '09 when I had been running less than a year.  The hill killed me.  That is what I remembered and took with me on Monday morning.  The problem with that is I had made this huge hill into the obstacle of the entire race.  I had forgotten all the other rolling hills.  And, the aforementioned hill was not as big and bad as I remembered.  In fact, it was much smaller than many hills I run on a daily basis.  Yet, I could not recover mentally. 

Hubby and I were at Mary S. Young Park early.  The weather was perfect for racing, cool and cloudy, but no rain.  My warm up went very well.  Easy jogging followed by dynamic stretching and some strides.  After I gathered my packet, I met one of our own great bloggers, Teri from (Long) Road to Paradise.  I did not recognize her and actually thought it was someone else.  She is as great as her posts and I enjoyed visiting for a few minutes.  She was co-race director so she had plenty on her plate!

A couple of concerns about the race were bothering me.  The hill... and the fact that my Garmin was not working.  I couldn't decide if I would race better without it or would I miss the feedback to keep me motivated.  This was going to be 10 kilometers of "running by feel."  That would be great if I had really practiced it. 

The first mile felt really good, of course.  I crossed the mile in about 8:30--faster than I would have liked, but not bad.  Mile 2 and 3 continued on a positive note just a bit slower than the first mile.  Just after the water station at mile 3 you turn a corner and meet the hill.  It took me by surprise. 

Why?  I don't know.  I knew it was there.  But it took the wind out of my sails.  Even as I was going up, I realized it wasn't as bad as I remembered.  Yet I just couldn't get my mind around it.  The plan was to take it easy the first of the hill and attack the last third.  I couldn't.  I walked most of the hill. I got passed by a guy running his first 10k while pushing a double stroller with toddlers.  Ouch!

The top of the hill was there with a sharp left turn.  I kept pushing and talked positive.  I would focus on someone ahead of me, but I was pretty alone on this stretch.  I passed mile 4--split 10:00.  Nothing that I could not recover from.  My quads were burning.  My side started to ache.  My lungs were working hard, but fine.  One of these days it will all come together.  I knew a PR was going to be really tough at this point.  It became harder to push through.  I kept passing walkers that had started before the run.  There were no runners to latch onto.  No one was coming up behind to push me forward.  I think that made it more difficult to hold on.  I passed mile 5 and knew a PR was not possible. 

The last mile was just me trying to hold on.  I would slow then push.  I knew I was getting close to the end.  I kept telling myself that it was almost over.  After all, I can do anything for just a few more minutes.  Then it was there--the finish line!  Push, push, push!  I crossed in 56:18, more than 1:20 off my PR.  Rats. 

A day later and the disappointment fades.  A few hours goes a long way to bringing perspective.  Not a great race, but not terrible.  I do think my Garmin would have been helpful to help me start a bit slower and help me push in the late, lonely miles.  Overall, I cannot complain.  I can only take the lessons learned and move forward.  However, I do think I would rather train than race.  I train great, but often race poorly.  Sigh...

Poor hubby!  He gets bored waiting for my races.  He does prefer 5 and 10ks to marathons though.

Ready to race!

The race is the Master's Championship for the club so all masters age groups are just one year.  I got 2nd of 2!  Wooohooo!


NattyBumpo said...

Poor Jeff, he looks as interested in the race as my wife does at mine.

I think you should come to Sherwood on Saturday and take the 10K AG. That way you will have crushed my spirits, and make me look slow twice in 12 months and a day.

Anonymous said...

Good leg swing and posture in that finish line picture. Keep it up, that good form will take you places!

Julie said...

I LOVE Mary Young park...we just discovered it last summer and the kids think it is fantastic!
Was the race on the park trails? FUN!

juanitagf said...

Sorry, Nat, we are headed to Seattle for a couple of Mariner games. This is my only chance for more than one day off in a row for a long time...

Danny, thanks! That is a great compliment coming from you!

Julie, I only wish it were on trails. It ran through the neighborhood and only a few of the trails.

NattyBumpo said...

Go catch a foul ball and let's hope the closer can. You two kids have fun in the Emerald City.

Anonymous said...

The photographer wasn't directly behind, but I based my comment on two things:
1. On the leg swing, your foot is at the height of the knee on the leg that is planted. If you're familiar with high school physics (given equal mass a shorter pendulum will move quicker through its arc), then you'll understand my comment. A naturally high 'kick' will make it easier to go faster as your fitness improves.
2. All your body parts seem to be moving together in a straight line; everything moving forward. Thus, the comment about posture (i.e. spine straight, headup, arms straight, etc). Again, this bodes will for increase in speed as fitness improves.

So, in summary, the goal is to be as efficient as possible while moving. Good, natural, bio-mechanics really helps in this regard.

In short, keep running, having fun, and good things will happen.