After every race where I run with expectations, disappointment seems to immediately follow. What if I did this? What if I had done that? Why didn’t I push myself harder? This is when I often start writing my race report.
After a few hours, though, the bitterness inevitably begins to subside. “It was hard, but I’m glad I showed up. And I’m glad I finished.” “I didn’t meet my goal today, but I’m glad that I can keep moving the goalposts farther.”
After a few hours more, the focus returns to what lessons, if any, I’ve learned; what changes, if any, should I make to my training routine; and, of course, the week and next race ahead.
It’s between the “few hours” and “few hours more” stages now. Yes, the race today did hurt, but I did end up running my fastest mile ever since I started using Strava (some 1.5 years ago). Yes, I was at the back of the pack, but I also did manage to not get outkicked at the end of the race. Of course, it was probably not the best that I ran that fast mile first. No wonder I was gassed! 3.7 miles is a lot shorter than 26.2 miles… but I can still start too fast.
The other takeaway I’ve been learning this past week, culminating in today’s race, is my maximum pain threshold. Long distance runs are painful, but the pain is spread out. I’ve generally tried to not spend too much time redlining my heart; I was lazy. This meant that I was mentally unprepared when that happened today, even after just one mile of it. I’ll need to do more interval and short tempo pace work to get used to that (plus hopefully get faster at redline HR).
So this week… probably more track work. Then another race next Saturday.
Draft one. The original race report.
This race sucked. Before the race, I was already mentally defeated. I didn’t *really* want to race such a short distance. And I was going to be completely outrun by all the young guys around me.
During the race — it was hot, it was dusty, the sandy terrain sucked, and I was gassed after just one mile. Worst of all, I felt like giving up, with the short distance being only reason why I didn’t.
After the race, I thought I finished DFL. Only after Jack pointed out another column of results, did I realize that I’d have the proud honor of finishing dead last another day.
Of course, I needed this race.
The only way I’ve ever improved has been on days that aren’t my best. This was definitely not my best day.