Sunday, March 30, 2008

change my mind about something

Hey people. The race went well today. I nearly got to my goal, but it just wasn't in the books for me.? I'll talk about the race in a follow up. I'm taking a nap.

The beginning-
Set the alarm for 5:30 last night and got in bed. Then I got straight out and stretched and had a granola bar. I was hungry and wouldn't be able to sleep without something to eat. So I did. Then I got my stuff ready. I was going to do it in the morning, but since I didn't feel like sleeping it was the perfect time. So I got my bib pinned on straight, packed all the stuff in my bag, got clothes out of the dryer, and readied a waterbottle for the morning. Sleep came fairly soon after I got back in bed, and before I knew it, it was 4:30 and I turned my alarm clock over-
I always turn it over because I don't like the light from it- to see if it was set correctly, or if the power had went out and I was late. That wasn't the case and I went back to sleep for 3 seconds and it went back off as scheduled.

I was ready to go, had a small breakfast with water, and got everything ready to go. Stepped outside and it was fairly warm, warm enough to only need a jacket. Still dark and cloudy outside April and I were on our way downtown, to the big sunsphere. We found a parking spot immediately and after that made our way to the Convention Center. I had actually never been inside it, as last year I parked on the Holiday Inn side and stretched in there. We made our way to the bathroom, which I visited numerous times in the next hour. I did my normal routine of stretching, a few running drills, and then we made our way back to the corrals after I went to the bathroom again. Lots more people had shown up, and they were already calling for the "elite" runners to go to the front. That was me, haha. The elite consisted of anyone capable of like a 3:30 marathon. So there I was 5 months of training and standing behind a row of 7 kenyans, not intimidated at all.

So it Begins-
So I did some light running out into the course and it felt okay. Not great by any means. I should have warmed up a little more, but I was anxious. I looked around. This was oddly familiar. Dark dreary skies, puddles, I just wait for the downpour of rain. But before I knew it they were saying their words and getting ready for the start. I took a stance, left foot out in front of the right and my knees slightly bent. I looked down, then over at the guy with the gun. When he raised it, I looked out. Bam, and there we go flying up the first hill. Little did I know how much I would regret that first mile.

We are going fast, but I was feeling pretty good. I had no idea what our time was. Up a hill and my legs are turning over, down another hill and then out on a loop down to the river. I'm watching people ahead of me, and I can see Michael Wardian- the guy who ran out in front of the likes of Ryan Hall, Brian Sell, and Ritz for the first miles of the Olympic Trials. I had saw him in warmup and almost talked to him, then I didn't worry about it. Mile one marker ahead- 25,26,27,28......WHAT 28 I thought. It was 6. Ahhhh. For all holiness again with a fast first mile (for me). I wanted to go out in 6:50, then increase. Oh well I thought, everyone else out in front of me will die. But the damage was done. My legs started to turn into burning vessels of pain and before you know it I'm struggling just to run at any pace, let alone comfortably. I can attribute some of this to the hill sprints wednesday- but it was just faster than I had trained. I normally start off slow, then increase; and this was the exact opposite. I truly believe this first mile cost me a minute or possibly more in terms of time.

So I just gutted out the first 5 miles. Up hills just kept on coming, and even at 3 miles, the hills were tough. Little hills, big hills, long hills, you name it and there were hills. At 6 miles I FINally started feeling somewhat under control. The pace had drifted slightly and there were lots of downhills that I could coast on. I always excel here because of the downhills I trained on- I always got faster after them and so it was today. At 6 miles I see the 10k timer and it reads just under 42 minutes. Good- but not anywhere near the 40 I had envinsioned. So I doubled it- I could run next 6 miles just as fast as the first-That puts me at 84 with a mile to go, meaning I would have to kill the last mile to make it. And so right then I knew the race was still on.

Halfway there-
Mile 7. Good old mile 7. This is where the dreaded hill of death is. The one I walked last year. I see a curly hair guy I've had my sights on for 2 miles and I track him. Halfway up the first hill I'm within yards, and by the second hill I've passed him at the top. He's breathing hard, I'm not, but my legs are screaming for mercy. I can feel my left quad just pulsing and wanting to rip apart, calves aren't much better but it's the whole leg, from the ankle up. My right foot is numb. The turf toe shows its head again and the thing is lifeless and hurts on impact. Stupid turf toe. I ignore it and think about the next 3 miles. They will have to be fast- this is the flat part of the course. Another hill ahead, two more hills, a steep hill, and then some rolling hills. I'm flying with three guys. They pass me, I pass them. I'm stronger and smoother than them, but my legs are destroyed. 10 miles. 3 more to go.

The bitter end-
The next mile I track down 3 guys I see ahead and soon enough pass two of them- the third I would never catch. I follow him up the next series of hills at mile 11- where I believe I walked for a few steps last year. I stayed smooth but I'm pretty much spent- just running on guts at this point. I know there is only two miles left, but I can't go any faster- or at least my legs tell me that. Stupid legs why are you so unprepared! I000 miles and still you don't cooperate. I see the 12 mile mark. Two guys are ahead of me and I go for them, down we go, almost there. I think I can catch them. I prepare to turn right to head towards the stadium- but we don't, we go straight. Right into a huge friggin hill. For pete's sake another friggin hill right at the end. And it's not small, it's long and steep. Little did I know the stadium is right at the top. I struggle to catch the two guys, but I can't, I can but my body says no. I get inside the stadium and see 1:30, I book it, but it's too late as I have only 50 yards. I just try to finish with the best time possible.

Sub 1:30 evades me by 27 seconds. I think if I had just started off slower I would have worked my way into a good pace, then been able to really kick the last few miles. But thats what I would have done, and not how it went down. Thats the kind of things you learn. Or least should have learned because it happened last year too. But last year was a beginners mistake, this year I should have known better. So why the title "I change my mind". Well it's not about running, it's actually about something technical. Keeping track of my time. If I had had my watch on, I would have known that I only needed to sprint a little earlier to reach my time. Now the other side of this story is- How much improvement is a watch going to make- is it significant enough to be worth the cost. I believe so. If I had trained properly at the right pace on my daily runs I would have been prepared better for the early pace. If I had a watch I could track elevation and work out better formulas for how many hills to do. If I had a watch...all my dreams would come true. You get the point, but I think there are some benefits there that I missed out on.

As far as training goes I'm extremely pleased. 5 months.... IN FIVE MONTHS of solid training I improved 20 minutes and 27 seconds. That is exciting and encouraging. Next year I do not expect the same result, but in a way I do. If I run the whole year and not just the last 5 months, how much more will I be in shape? If I increase my training gradually even more how much more stamina will I gain? If I do even better speed and hill work how much stronger will I get?
15 minutes, 20 minutes improvement again? I'm not sure, but the journey is mine to take.

Last year: 219th of 1393 overall, 19th in age group. 8:29 per mile, 1:50:53
This year: 46th of 1675 overall, 10th in age group. 6:53 per mile, 1:30:26

13 miles @6:54. 49 degrees. GF 81


Ann said...

WOW!!!! So happy for you. Huge improvement. Way to go!!

Ron said...

thanks Ann. I promise this is just the beginning ;)