Excuse Me? (Race Report)

I’m not going to blame the heat (88* and it’s nearly November).  It wasn’t because my legs were tired from yesterday’s speed work.  I won’t tell you it was due to a poor night of sleep.  There’s no reason to think I hadn’t eaten enough in the morning.  I wouldn’t even bring up the fact that I forgot my water bottle.  It had nothing to do with my extremely high heart rate.  No, I’m not here to give any excuses.

Yesterday I subtly announced my registration in company’s “Halloween Hustle” 3 Mile race fun run.   I decided to reclaim the crown and win the race outright.  When setting that goal, I knew it would be subject to none of the real speedsters also participating.  When I registered I set my goal at 18:35, about 20 seconds faster than I ran the same course a year and a half ago.

I’ll get rid of any suspense: my final time was 19:11, good blah enough for fourth place.  The 3-lap course isn’t ideal for fast times, but makes it easy to see how far ahead/behind you are.  I went out a little too fast, tried to hang with people that were a little too fast, attempted to hold a pace that was ultimately too fast.

My strategy was dependent on who I was racing against, but the general idea was to hang back, keep any leaders in sight, and maintain a steady pace for the first two laps.  During the first lap I tried to keep the leaders in sight without burning through all my energy.  I successfully kept the leaders in sight, but I also ran way too fast to do so.  Grade: D+

On the second lap I realized there was no chance of catching the two leaders, so I worked at staying with the 3rd place guy.  I hung behind him and drafted a little as we went into a long headwind.  He was looking strong and I was feeling terrible, so as he pulled away I had no choice but to let him go.  My pace was more reasonable, but that wasn’t really anything I could control –I was just exhausted and started to fall apart.  Grade: C-

Looking at my Garmin data, I seriously fell apart on the last lap.  With 3rd place way ahead at this point, 5th place way behind, and a general feeling of “ughhhhh” I had little motivation or energy to push.  There were more than a couple thoughts of stopping to walk.  If there were any positives to the last mile, it helped me with my mental toughness.  Grade: F

Overall the race was pretty much a disaster.  My time, out of context, was still fine, but not close to my target and inconsistent.  It somewhat validates my interest and success at longer distance by way of being able to pace myself.  I’m waiting on the final results to see how I did compared to those speedsters.

Also, I stubbed my toe.

Thoughts? Leave a comment!