01 Apr PB at Stanford

It’s been two days, and I’m still not sure how I feel about this race. I ran a PB by over 20 seconds, but I still feel really disappointed as it really wasn’t what I had seen in the past from races at Stanford, and therefore I don’t feel like I was able to race to my best.

Training had been going great, I had been surprised with how fast I was going in my workouts/sessions, and all the coaches I talked to about my workouts seemed to agree with me that I should be able to get close to, if not break, the 33 minute barrier. I was so excited that this was going to be it, the time I could finally say I enjoyed the 10k and be proud of my time! Every 10k I had done in the past, I had either run by myself, or been the leader of the chase group, doing all the work by staying consistently on pace, only for others to either drop off, or pull away with a mile to go. The 10k is a race that you need people around you with similar goals, to work together and share the load, but you know what they say…….be careful what you wish for…..

It seemed like the perfect set up, plenty of high level girls, many of them way above my level, and a few more who I hoped would try going with them, and coming back to me as the pace proved too much. I thought I would be able to sit back in a group, and for the first time, relax into a rhythm and enjoy being able to race!

Everyone knew Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan were going to speed away from the start, but what I did not expect, was that 26 of the 28 remaining girls to be in one giant clump, in a constant battle of chopping and changing strides as no-one wanted to take the lead. Of course, with a group that big, a lot of pushing, elbowing and tripping occurred. I have never been in a race so clustered and especially not for over 5k when everyone knew the caliber of girls in that pack! It was hard not to panic, and I do not feel like I got into a rhythm at all, making it feel harder than it should have with the constant changing of pace. I felt like I was in a Championship race, where everyone is just waiting, waiting for someone to make a move.

With 12 laps to go, the pack finally split as Jordan Hasay took off, I hung on to the group in front of me as best I could and grinded it out. It never ceases to amaze me how much the 10k on the track hurts, that burn, starting way earlier than you expect, the continuous battle against your mind to stay positive and keep pressing. I think that is most the battle. They say 90% of running is mental, I think the 10k proves that better than any other race, it’s so easy to slip away and allow the pain to defeat you.

Finishing in a 33:24, I can look back and say I pretty much did the best I could have done with the situation, without once again taking the pace into my own hands. I go back and forth with whether it would have been better to get into the front to control the pace, but be the potential sacrifice for a whole big group of girls. My stubbornness just wouldn’t let me do it this time.

I am going to put the 10k to rest for a while, maybe come back to it after the marathon, but maybe it’s just not the race for me……mentally more than anything part of me thinks, but I no longer have a time that is the outlier in my results, I just have a time I am able to deal with.

As runners we are never happy, always wondering what if? Beating ourselves up for silly mistakes that are bound to happen when a lack of oxygen is flowing to the brain and you have 1/100 of a second to make a decision! One day I hope to be at peace with the 10k, for now it will be like the workout you really hate, but you know you need to do. As much as you dread it, you end up proud of yourself for even finishing, knowing it will help you in the long run, and will be a good stepping stone towards your goals.

I have two weekends till I race the 5k, two weeks to slog through the next few days (the 10k is the worst for taking it out of your legs), and hopefully start to feel back to normal towards the end of the week!

Oh, and one more thing! That was my last race as an unattached runner! In April, I officially become a Saucony Hurricane and will be racing for them from now on! I am excited to receive my “shipment” from Saucony this week!

Find your Strong ☺

Thanks for reading!

  • http://twitter.com/smorgasbord smorgasbord

    Found this thanks to Marathon Talk, lovely impression of winter urban running. Great choice of music too, fits perfectly.