Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Race for the Cure 5K race report.

I apologize for yesterday's annoying wah-wah post. I was just so totally disappointed when I wrote it and, looking back, maybe I shouldn't have posted it because I hadn't had a chance to digest what had happened.

But, I posted it so that is that. Now, on to my full race report!

The day started out great. The weather forecast was calling for rain at the start time but it never happened. We were lucky, in fact, to have perfect racing weather. Before leaving, I had an English muffin with peanut butter and some coffee and water. Then I rolled out my legs with The Stick and was ready to go!

I warmed up for a little less than a mile and felt great. So ready to race and get a PR.

Then, the race. I had to line up a little farther back than I would have liked but I figured it would just keep me from going out too fast. Well, that and the uphill start. It did that, for sure! Only, it felt rotten. I was weaving around people and couldn't find a good pace. I kept speeding up and slowing down. I had no rhythm and when I crossed the one mile marker at 7:50, I was crushed.

That's when my race went all wrong.

Instead of looking at the clock and thinking that I ran a conservative mile putting me in a good position for the rest of the race, I looked at the clock and thought, "I'm so far off my pace. I'm never going to get my PR." I defeated myself right there and then.

The next mile was torture. I tried to pick it up after the first mile and, in doing so, I burned out. The course winds through Albany's Washington Park (which, by the way, is a great city park). I was speeding up and slowing down around the sharp turns of the park. Not running according to plan at all. I walked through the water stop, thinking it would give me a breather and chance to adjust. After that break, I set back out to run hard and try to get my PR. No dice. I ran hard, but it was too hard and I had to walk -- again. I started back up, ran for less than a minute and stopped. I almost walked off the course.

I was not hurt. Nothing was wrong, other than what was happening in my mind.

I fought my mind and decided that there was no way I was going to quit so I started running again and when I saw 16:34 on the clock at mile 2 I just had to shake my head. This was very far away from what I had hoped and trained for.

About 2.5 miles into the race, I found my rhythm. I was running strong and at my race pace but it was far too late. I finished in 25:08.

It was a terrible race. Terrible not really because of the finish time, because that doesn't -- and rarely ever does -- tell the whole story. It was terrible because I did not run the way I know I am capable of running. My mind went into "you can't do it" mode so early and I couldn't shake that. It's rotten feeling. I trained hard for this and I believed that my hard work had prepared me for success.

When I look at the race results, I see that my time placed me 95th out of 1360 women. That's good. So, it is not the time that reads failure to me. It is my effort, my inability to stick to my plan and my negative thoughts. Had I run a strong, smart race and finished in 25:08, I would be proud of my effort, even if I missed my goal. But, that wasn't the case. I was all over the place yesterday and even considered quitting the race. That's not like me. That's just something else.

Maybe I put too much pressure on myself to get this PR. I trained seriously and, I think, well for six weeks. I built this race up in my mind. I wanted to run under 23 minutes so badly. But, it didn't happen.

Today, I'm OK with that. Yesterday, not so much.

Today, I'm moving on. I've gone on two re-energizing recovery runs since the race and they have helped me clear my mind. I am happy and grateful that I can run. I love to run. Maybe I'm not great at racing. Or maybe I just need to train harder. Or, more likely, maybe I need to work on the mental aspect racing.

What I know is that my disappointment yesterday was real but today is a new day and a new opportunity to enjoy the run. And that's what I am going to do for the next few days. No more thinking about training or races. Just running. Just enjoying the run.

RUN ON!

~ Felice

25 comments:

Emily said...

That's what makes your blog so real! Not everyone has perfect days or perfect runs and it's appreciated when "mishaps" are shared! You're doing GREAT!! Keep up the awesome work!

Manderz said...

So sorry that you had a crappy run! Was it the same course as the Freihofer's? Thanks for being so honest with us. Just remember - there are a ton more races that you can PR. If you are insterested, there is a 5k up in saratoga state park on the 24th - its a flat course!

Denise said...

The mental aspect of running is harder than the actual running some times. I'm glad you're feeling a little better. I completely understand how you feel. You'll just be that much stronger because of this run.

TammyRunsWV said...

Felice, you just had a bad day! That's really all you can tell yourself. We ALL have those days, and sometimes they come on race days. Our minds are our biggest enemy. I fight with my mind each time I step out for a speed workout or tempo run, lol. But, sometimes, for unknown reasons, our bodies just can't take a run, and suddenly even an easy pace is impossible to keep. The great thing is there are 5k's all the time (at least where I live)! Look for another 5k and go set your PR. I know you can do it!

onelittletrigirl said...

We all have those days and we all have felt this way. It isn't about what happens, it is about how you deal with what happens. I think reflection and time are great tools for being a better runner next time :)

Abby said...

It continues to amaze me how mental this sport is...

Sounds like you're taking it in stride (today, if not yesterday); hopefully, like you said, this race will teach you something about how to control the mind games. Because I don't think that there's any question that your legs have what it takes.

Heather said...

I know that feeling of being upset about a race purely because of how you handled it mentally . . . I think it is a good experience in that it trains you mentally for future races. Glad you have had two great recovery runs to remember how much you love running!

Danica said...

I know this feeling all too well. I'm sorry you had a horrible race and you let your own worst enemy get the best of yourself... That is really a bummer, but I know that you will come back stronger than ever and will learn a lot from this race.

You did train hard, and you were prepared, but things just didn't go your way. You'll come back sooner and better than ever. :)

Mike Fox said...

Sorry your race did not go as planned. I always found that Race For The Cure runs were waaaay too crowded to run a great race (perhaps that's because the race here in DC has tens of thousands of runners???).

It's amazing how some of the races we feel best about are the ones where we stick to our plan - even if we don't PR those races.

Perhaps there's another local 5K in the next few weeks that you can try again? Or even if you don't go for a PR, set a goal that challenges the "mental" part of the race instead of the "physical" part. This may help get your thought process into race shape :-)

joyRuN said...

I've totally had my brain defeat me too! I've tried hard not to look at my Garmin so much during races, just because I know how much that messes with my head.

Knowing these things makes us better prepared.

lindsay said...

i think it's good that you captured those first thoughts of disappointment. it's reality, and we all get disappointed in ourselves sometimes. now you can look back on it, learn from it, and move on.

great race recap, and sounds like you've straightened things out with yourself. 5k's are a force to be reckoned with and not "just" 3.1 miles. i know you can that 23:00 goal. no more doubting and self-defeat!

Diana said...

I agree with those above...writing at the moment you feel things will only help you later. You may want to work on the mental aspect...good luck though. It's a difficult one to change and what usually hangs everyone up whether its running or weight loss or anything else important to us that we want to achieve.

RunToTheFinish said...

This sounds ridiculous but part of the reason I run...but rarely race is because I don't know how to do with without putting so much pressure on myself and then I feel let down. It was almsot a blessing to be hurt in San Diego because all I wanted was a finish.

glad you are starting to mentally feel better

Tricia said...

I'm new to running and definately feel a mental block holds me back more than a physical one. It really helped to read your post today (first time reader here).

I just started training for our Race for the Cure which is Nov. 1. Any advice to a newbie would be MUCH appreciated.

Betsy said...

It happens to the best of us, and I guess that was just not your day. Can you do another 5K in the next few weeks? It would probably do you good to have a better experience as soon as you can.

Ms. V. said...

I'm super slow, so that time would be a PR for me...but really...it's about racing against ourselves, isn't it?

The question is...what did you learn? I have such a hard time with the mental aspect, that I literally have to b**ch slap that person in my head that says...QUIT.

Hang in there. Sign up for another one, and kill it.

Marlene said...

I love how you've been able to work through your thoughts and feel good again.

Maybe it is a mental game, once the training is done. Or like I said in my last comment - maybe it was just an off day.

Congratulations on sticking with it and finishing that race when you were so close to walking about. THAT is a victory.

Tricia said...

Thanks for the advice Felice. No, I am not following a specific plan. I've been running 2 miles the last couple of days (after starting with 1 last week). I just want to work my way up to 3.1, I'm not too concerned about my time for this first race. I'm pretty sure I can run the 5K now, if I could just get past the mental block. Definitely more mental than physical.

Thanks for the advice on not running everyday, that was a question I had and I keep getting conflicting answers from everyone. Thanks again!

Rebekah said...

I'm sorry you had such a disappointing race. I really struggle with the mental aspect of racing, and it's good to know I'm not the only one who sometimes runs into the mental wall. I'm glad you're feeling better about things today!

Freedom Runner//Liz said...

Glad to see you have bounced back and gained perspective, though so sorry to hear about the missed goal time!

As a recovering perfectionist (though still strongly Type A), I learned this season to let go of race day goals, and to instead focus on each workout, then let race day go as it would so that I wouldn't stress about things I couldn't control (weather, muscle cramps, etc.). I ended up surprising myself and actually placed in my age group at my first Olympic triathlon! Even if I hadn't done that well, it would've been okay, because mentally I was just enjoying the experience, and thankful for the ability to MOVE.

I hope you can refocus and squeeze in a redemption race before the end of the year! Maybe not a PR (going with the "no expectations" mindset), but at least something to help you finish on a high note? Something you can feel good about?

Have a great rest of your week. :o)

J said...

I am sorry you had such a tough race. Sounds very emotional and I know that feeling! You are a great runner with so much talent!!

B.o.B. said...

You need a break girl. You ran a good race but not what you trained for and that is disappointing. But you'll be back. Just take some time and learn from this experience. That is what all of the racing is about. I am proud of you for being so honest and open about this race.

Roisin said...

I know that feeling all too well, and it happens. But you finished instead of walking off and that counts for something. Keep your chin up...there'll be another race!

aron said...

gah i feel your pain girl... really. but we just have to keep trying and keep getting out there and it WILL happen. it has to right? :) keep your chin up!

Quix said...

That dang middle mile! They always get me on 5ks. I always get really "over it" because it feels like so far to the finish but far enough in you get tired. Glad you're going to take a break, sounds like you could use it. I find I run better after giving myself a break (in fact, I'm on about a week and a half of one right now), so hopefully you'll experience that too! :)

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