I've come to a major realization that on my blog I have two types of posts. Posts about running and posts about everything else. It was a seminal moment for me.
This weekend I ran in a race down in Savannah called .... The Savannah River Bridge Run. Its a really nicely run race that consists of a 5k, a 10k and what's called the Double Pump. I did the Double Pump. That means I ran the 5k and then turned around and ran the 10k a few minutes later. That comes out to a 15k (I'm really good at math) which is 9.3 miles.
Before we go much farther let me make a couple disclaimers. First - if you don't like reading about running, race strategy and my monthly cycle then stop reading now. Second - if you don't like excuses and whining you should also take a moment and excuse yourself from this post.
This was a hard race to mentally prepare for. I've run one 5K race since my cross country days in junior high and I've never done anything like the Double Pump. Initially my plan was to try and PR the 5k. A PR would be anything less than 19.49 but I decided a 19.30 would be nice. That comes out to a 6.16 pace, which is tough but doable. Then I thought I’d just hang on for the 10K and run it as fast as a could.
Unfortunately I thought a lot about everything except for the BLEEPING bridge. The bridge that you run over once in the 5k and twice in the 10k. The bridge that is a 5.5% grade and a ¾ of a mile long climb. Yep, that bridge.
My pace for the first mile of the 5k was 6.16. Dead on. My pace for the last mile was 6.16. Perfect. My pace for the middle mile that included that flipping bridge was 6.59. CRAP!
Now for another side note that will delve more into excuse territory. I lined up too late for this race and had about 50 people in front of me at the start. While this is not a big deal in a marathon it is a really big deal in a 5k where every second counts. Unfortunately I totally screwed myself by doing this because I spent the first minute weaving in and out and trying to get up to speed. That certainly hurt my time. Next is the big one. My shoe. It came untied at mile 2.1. I made the decision not to stop and just to run and pray it wouldn’t fly off our trip me. It did neither but it certainly did not help anything. I was so ticked at myself for not double checking that it was knotted properly. And finally, I started my period the morning of the race. Enough said about that.
I finished the 5k right around 20.30 and felt thoroughly discouraged. So I spent the next 19.30 minutes justifying to myself taking it easy on the 10k since I was sure I was out of placing at that point. When it came time to line up I just picked a spot near the middle and chatted with my friend Nikki until the gun went off. At which point I realized it had been a big mistake to stop moving after the 5k. My legs felt like lead. When they started to loosen up I again found myself having to weave through hoards of people in order to try to run at my own pace. I’m sure my first mile pace was well over 8 minutes just because I kept on getting stuck behind people on tight turns.
The 10k was where I really just let go mentally. Taking on the bridge two more times absolutely sucked and I knew my pace was horrible. It wasn’t until the last mile that I finally got serious about running again and kicked it in as hard as I could.
So, it wasn’t a great day and that’s all find and dandy until you look at the results and realize you missed 1st place in your age group by ONE second and missed placing overall by 15 seconds. I have no doubt that had I lined up at the front in both races I would have placed overall. I’m sure that sounds arrogant but I don’t mean it like that. I’m just so frustrated with myself for not staying focused on making smart decisions. And for giving up without knowing how close in it I was.
There were definitely things out of my control – like the shoe – but my brain is always in control and its my lack of mental toughness that I am most regretting right now.
The good news is that I am committed to taking this and making it a learning experience. I don’t want to have a other race where I give up and then realize how close I could have been to placing.
Anyone else out there had a similar experience?