Friday, April 13, 2007

The Same, Just Worse

Cool temperatures, a tough wind, and a disappointing finishing time of 16:20 or so tonight. My friend Dan was kind enough to pace me throughout the race, but I just could not stay on his heels. He finished more than a minute faster and took a win last week at a track meet up in Phoenix, so he probably could have balanced his checkbook while keeping me on target pace. In the end he refused to break the tape first, so on the plaque at the high school my name will be at the top above his, even though I didn't deserve it. Many thanks for his help and his un-ending patience with this novice runner.

This was the first Southern Arizona Distance Classic, which was put on by Sabino High School. The 5K was open to the public and was placed in the middle of a high school meet to give the athletes a needed breather. The family came out to watch, and video and photographic evidence revealed a runner that just looked uncomfortable while running 77 and 78 second quarters. Again I slowed down noticably at the end of the second mile and on into the third mile, again my heart was in my throat, and again the legs just would not turn over easily.

I'd like to think that if it had been a competitive race I would have been able to stick with other runners if they were close to my goal pace, but I just don't know. As it was the race was a 5K time trial against a headwind along the back stretch, and I just couldn't make my goal. Dan ran evenly and on target, yet every time I tried to close in behind him I found myself over the edge and slowly drifting back behind pace.

This marks the end of my chances to get under 16 minutes on the track this spring. When I think about this race, the recent 8K and the previous 5K on the track I feel a bit depressed. Maybe I just can't dig deeply enough. Maybe somewhere in my subconscious the brain goes into marathon mode and shuts me down early. Maybe deep down I'm not as mentally tough as I thought I was.

Maybe it's just too late in the evening, but too soon after a race to think about this objectively.

Training: 3 miles easy in the morning, 5K w/ 3 miles of warm up and 2 miles of cool-down

10 comments:

Dallen said...

I was really hoping to read about a PR, but 16:20 with a headwind and no competition ain't bad.

Andrew said...

Good effort Mike. You really push yourself on those short races. "Heart in my throat". Man, that is not how I like to feel in a race! It's that distance... too short to settle in and too far to sprint for the finish.

Still, you entered, you won, and you've got great friends!

John W said...

No PR but 16:20 is still a great time.

I think the best 5k's happen, not when you feel like your pushing yourself to the limit, but when you feel great going through that second mile. Maybe when you least expect it.

Blaxabbath said...

Dragons.

Omniscient said...

I really don't think you should be too upset about your performance. If anything, a race gives you an opportunity to increase your fitness at a venue that is way different than training. Even if it doesn't goes as planned, the benefits outweigh the costs of a poor performance so get your head up.

Also, it seems to me that you should almost throw goal paces out of the window for 5k's. Based on your aerobic fitness level, you should be able to redline it the whole race and just go out there and compete. However, this is based off my personal experience.

All in all, I think you are right on pace to PR in the upcoming road races and in Chicago.

Greg said...

"Maybe somewhere in my subconscious the brain goes into marathon mode and shuts me down early."

I think there is definitely somethign to this statement. I was rootin' for you.

Having said that, it's time to move on. There's a marathon to train for...see ya there.

Thomas said...

"Maybe somewhere in my subconscious the brain goes into marathon mode and shuts me down early".

Like Greg I think there could be some truth in that.

Having said that, 16:20 is hardly a bad effort, especially in windy conditions.

Sempre Libera said...

Sorry to hear you've been disappointed with this racing season. I think there is truth to what you and others have said. I'm also thinking of what my coach told me the other day: that it takes many years to really teach your body to push as hard as it can for this distance... You called yourself a "novice" (which I think is relative :-) ) so maybe that's just it.

Abadabajev said...

It is unreal what 20 seconds can do to someone's mind.

16:20

So you ran 16:20 on a windy day and came 20 seconds slower.

20 seconds.

I think if you would have ran 15:59, your family would have had to call 911 to fetch you off the roof of the high school doing break dancing.

But as it turned out, 20 seconds turned you into this

When I think about this race, the recent 8K and the previous 5K on the track I feel a bit depressed. Maybe I just can't dig deeply enough. Maybe somewhere in my subconscious the brain goes into marathon mode and shuts me down early. Maybe deep down I'm not as mentally tough as I thought I was.Maybe it's just too late in the evening

Searching for something that is not there.

I say focus on your family, your ultimate supporting group who took video and cheering, and a friend, Dan, who was willing to cut wind and refused to cross the finish line before you.

I cannot remember ever, someone doing that for me.

Where in the heck do you get friends like that? I want one. Immediately.

Send him to Bulgaria.

Mike said...

Thanks for all the great comments, I really appreciate it. Shooting for an arbitrary goal on a set day is inherently a crapshoot, and given some time away from the race I'm feeling better about it. There are certainly still better days ahead.