Disappointed yet satisfied…

26 Oct

I could write 101 reasons why I should’ve run slower than I did this morning.  In reflecting on my training (or more likely, lack thereof) and my race today, I have decided that it’s really more of a miracle that I didn’t run slower than a disappointment that I didn’t run faster.   So here it is.  My abbreviated list of reasons why I shouldn’t have run as fast as I did today.

1.  I have been less than consistent with my running these days.  Other things are coming up, namely work stuff, and I let it take me away from my plan.  I was running between 15 and 20 miles a week, mostly closer to 15.  I ran some of the speedwork (800 repeats? check!), but not all of it.  In recapping with Eric today, he pointed out that my last .1 is always slow (bc I’m going to puke, or so I think).  I don’t ever do long speedwork.  I do repeats, but nothing to get me running fast for distance.  This is a flaw in my training that I need to fix (if I want to improve anyway).

2.  I also have not run a race in almost 5 months.  I have not run a 5k in a year.  I have not raced much at all.  I felt all out of sorts yesterday and today.  I had no rituals or routines to follow.  It was like I was a newbie runner again or something.  Silly.  But true.  I gotta nail down a pre-race routine better.

3.  After the race, I realized this is the first time in a long time that I haven’t stopped during a run at some point.  Our group trail runs all involve stopping to regroup.  We might run 5 miles, but stop 4-5 times (not for long or anything, but still a stop).  I realized this when talking to a fellow trail runner at the race who said he likes trails better bc of the option to stop.  Haha.  They’re just different beasts–trails versus roads–and my miles are primarily on trails, which is fine.  But if I want to run well on roads, I need to practice that at least SOMETIMES.

4.  It was pretty windy this morning.  I didn’t really notice it until the last mile or so…the last quarter mile or so, it was really bad.  It’s no excuse, I suppose.  If I were stronger, I would’ve been fine.  What’s worth noting is that in the past, my asthma would’ve been a huge issue in the wind.  The wind straight in my face would’ve had me gasping for breath and puffing away on my inhaler.  There was a brief moment where I thought I might have to stop and use my inhaler, but I decided to keep going, and it passed (til the finish anyway).  I am going to chalk this up to apple cider vinegar.  I was trying to use the real stuff, but it tastes awful.  So I switched to some pills Eric found, and I swear they are helping.  I finished the first bottle and didn’t take any for a few weeks (because I didn’t want to spend the money on them when I was unemployed) and noticed my symptoms seemed to get worse.  We bought new ones, and bam.  I feel mostly good on my runs again…

5.  I realized around mile 1.5ish and again at 2.5ish that I was just kind of cruising.  It wasn’t really an “easy” pace by any means, but I was also not in any major discomfort.  Both times, when I looked at my Garmin, I realized I was running an 8:05 pace.  The good news is that an 8:05 on the road is now a comfortably difficult pace.  The bad news is that both times, I told myself to pick it up, but then went right back to cruising without thinking about it.  I knew I needed to run faster.  I knew I could push more.  But for some reason, my mind wandered and my body just slowed it down to 8 min miles.  Strange lack of focus.

6.  And perhaps the most important one:  I have PRed on every single race I’ve run since I started running, which was in ’08 or ’09.  I forget which.  The important thing is that I have had a loooong streak of PRs.  And eventually, I knew that was going to end.   Partly bc of the length but more bc of the fact that I am getting faster.  It’s not easy to get faster the faster you get.  When I look back and think of that first, very slow 5k, I am so happy with today.  If you’d have told me then that in 5 years (or so), I’d be running a 24 minute 5k, I’d have laughed at you.  So if the streak had to end, I’m glad it ended with a 10 second slower race.  At least it wasn’t a HUGE slip.  And really, 10 seconds COULD be attributed to the wind.  So truly, I probably COULD have PRed today on a better day weather-wise…

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed with my results from today.  But I want to instead focus on the positives.  I ran hard and felt mostly good (and even borderline comfortable).  I have more in me.  I know I have more in me.  I finished 93 out of 554 runners.  For the first time ever, I was on the second page of race results!!!  SECOND PAGE!!!!!!!!!!!  I was 5th in my age group.  I’m sad about this, but I am so close now to being in the top 3.  SO close.

So right now, my focus becomes maintenance runs through the winter and through a *hopefully* healthy pregnancy.  When I come back to race again, I want to train hard.  Today, on the way home, I realized how close I am to being uber fast.  If I could run a 22:XX 5k, I would almost definitely place in my age group.  And that is only 2 minutes away–2 minutes away from a girl who does almost no training.  Game. On.

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