Before every race I run I look up the past years results. I look who came in first with what time. I look at all the girls in my age group and what place I would come in if I ran close to what my PR already is at that distance. I’m a race geek. Literally I could spend hours doing this. After the race I google the names of the girls who beat me to see why they beat me. Were they collegiate runners? Are they just plain fast at every race? Do I ever have hopes of catching them? Maybe this is OCD but to me it’s being prepared – it’s knowing my competition. Of course there are always last minute sign ups – I’m usually one of them. When I look up the registered runners the night before I usually only see a couple of names I recognize only to show up race day and see a ton of faces of fast runners.
I have a bad habit of getting sucked in to starting out too fast. So yesterday at the Herndon 5K/10K I decided not to be on the start line and put myself a little back in hopes of not getting caught up in the sprint that always happens at a start. It was a champion chip race so really who cares where you start – right?! I’m standing there waiting for the gun to go off – my heart already pounding because I ran a couple of miles to warm up before the race – when suddenly I realize there is no chip mat at the start. PANIC. I start trying to move my way up ahead of people who were talking about how this was their first race – they hoped not to walk too much. The gun goes off. YIKES. I think how on earth are our times going to be correct if there is no chip mat?? Sure they can adjust them from the first finishers but that is not a completely accurate method and when I’m trying to break a PR I need all the accuracy I can get.
Mile 1 – I get passed by about 50 people – my competitive spirit is telling me to go – my head is telling me that if you go slow right now you will catch and pass ALL these people – I have an argument with myself as to whether this is correct
Mile 2 – I only get passed by a couple of guys and I start passing some women who went out to fast
Mile 3 – No one passes me and I start passing more and more people – maybe my head was correct?!? I think – it’s way more fun passing than getting passed. Note to self – please never start out too fast again.
Mile 4 – The sun is pounding and I’m wishing it was still raining. The steam from the roads is cooking me and I’m not wearing a hat to block the light.
Mile 5 – I don’t think I can PR – I hear someone tell me that I’m in the top 10 females. I get a little spring in my step! I pass every guy in my view. I can tell this is mildly irritating to them as they try to hang on to me. I set my sights on the girl ahead of me. She is wearing headphones which I find mildly irritating.(no offense to anyone who wears music while racing – I just think we are running a different race and yours is probably easier)
Mile 6 – Is this girl kidding me – every time I speed up she does as well. Does she know I am behind her? I sprint towards the finish – at which point I look at my watch and realize that if I just kick it in as hard as I possibly can – I can PR. All of the sudden the 5K merges with the 10K. I am now stuck behind runners/walkers who ran 3.1 miles in the same amount of time that it took me to run 6.2 miles. I try to fend off RAGE as I try to weave around them and sprint in. A man I passed earlier sprints passed me with all his might – I guess he didn’t want to get beat by a girl.
Mile 6.2 – I look at my watch – I did it!!!! PANIC again sets in – I beat my time by only 6 or so seconds – what if the time adjustment puts me slower?!?! I sit for an hour and wait for the results. 4 seconds. It has me beating my PR by 4 seconds with a 7th place female finish over all! My highest finish ever and a PR :0)
Seconds matter in this sport called running……..
“Mind is everything: muscle – pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.” – Paavo Nurmi