After last week's Pat's Run and a good week of training, I was ready to rock the Dbacks Race Against Cancer. Things were going well, I got up on time, got in town and to the starting line with plenty of time to stretch, hydrate, fuel and take care of business.
The race was set to start at 7:30 and after the pre-race speech and anthem I figured I had at least 5 minutes to get my music and app set before my final pep talk to myself. But that was not to be as the count-down began and it was only 7:23. Now maybe it's me but I think this is the first time I've seen this happen.
"Shit!" was my reaction as the gun sounded while I fumbled to get things going. In hindsight I should have just said screw it and ran naked.
My goal for the race was a sub-20:00 but I didn't want to go out too fast and held back; or so I thought. My GPS app kept telling me I was running a 6:40-6:50 pace for the first mile so you can imagine my surprise when I hit mile 1 around 5:50. Way too fast and the BBW let me know it. I was screwed. What to do?
I backed off a bit and tried to silence BBW which I was able to do for a while but as I approached mile 2, I was done. Sure I was :15 seconds ahead of where I needed to be but I did not have a 6:45 mile left in me. I did my best to convince myself at 2.5 miles that anyone can run hard for half a mile, and it worked for a minute but with the finish line in sight and no one close in front or behind, I threw in the towel and coasted to the finish line with a time of 20:35 good enough for 22nd place.
This was 5K PR by :50 seconds so I was pretty happy. Still I was disappointed knowing I could have, and should have, run a better race and for me personally it was only a Bronze Medal result (you'll have to read The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive to find out what this means). I became really pissed at myself though when I found out I finished 4th in my age group by less than 4 seconds. Not finishing strong cost me a 3rd in my AG and the opportunity to get to be presented with the award at a Dbacks game next week.
Shallow, yes and I shouldn't have let it bother me since running is not about beating someone else or winning awards, it's about being my best. This actually ate at me for the 45 minute ride home and as I went past the local High School I knew what I has to do so I banged a u-ey (that what we call a u-turn in Boston kids) to go pay for my sin.
It's really amazing how soul cleansing running 8 x 400 repeats can be.
So, while I did get the PR, it sort of feels empty but the lesson is learned and I won't make that mistake again. With another 5K in 2 weeks, it's time to focus and know that I am capable of running a sub-20:00 5K.
I love to win; but I love to lose almost as much. I love the thrill of victory, and I also love the challenge of defeat. -Lou Gehrig