Our perceptions of the world and ourselves are odd. Sometimes what we think happened didn’t actually happen. Sometimes what we feel isn’t based on reality.
As I said yesterday after the race, I thought I really sucked. But lets look at the numbers. I know you can prove anything with “facts” and that there are “lies, damn lies, and statistics”, but that’s all we’ve got, other than our subjective “feelings”.
First set of numbers: mile splits. 6.10, 6.23, 6.26, 6.12, 6.20, 6.30, 1.07. The key numbers for me yesterday were 6.10 and 6.30, i.e. I ended much slower than I started. That was the basis of my “I sucked” feeling.
6.10. First miles are always too fast. This one was uphill and it was still too fast. At what I thought was the half-mile point I saw 3.47 on my watch and thought “oh no!” so I actually picked it up a click. Obviously a mistake. The middle splits pretty much followed the hills. No surprise there and I shouldn’t be too upset. I fell in with a random group and stayed with them. Except when I saw ~25.10 at mile 4 and I thought, “i just ran my last tempo at 24.30, and that’s supposed to be ’10k pace’. wtf?”
6.30. Mile six felt like a disaster. Everyone else was leaving me or catching up, but I just couldn’t shake the bad thoughts in my head. I was running with my eyes closed (a bad sign), and just wanted it all to end. I thought about walking. I saw Jessica and Gilbert and felt ashamed. And why, if I was so dead, could I sprint the last .2 miles at 5.35 pace when Rich tried to pass? I felt foolish.
Contrast those numbers with these. 2006 3M result: 1:33:50. 2007 3M result: 1:25:22. That’s a 9% improvement. And I was stoked about how well I did and how much I improved and everyone else was saying the same thing. And the Cap10K? 2006 result: 43:25. 2007 result: 39.13. That’s a 13% improvement. How about that? Better than the 3M improvement, but quite a different perception.
More numbers? I read that you could expect your 10k to be 2 x 5K + 1 minute. So I did 18.25 at Bagelfest. That translates to 37.50. Ugh, I was 1.23 off that. But I did 19.18 at Swedish Fish, which extrapolates to 39.36. Hmmm, I was .23 below that.
I could go on and on with numbers: about how I averaged about 5 hours of sleep last week, or how I felt dead from my highest milage week the week before, or about how I felt good doing Meriden on Tuesday and fartlek on Thursday. Thankfully, I won’t.
But what to believe? The final answer, I think, is I shouldn’t analyze it nearly so much, if at all. It’s a fun run and I’m just a fun runner. I enjoyed running with friends, seeing the spectators, being part of the crowd, listening to the bands. (For some reason I really liked the bands and made a conscious effort to listen, whereas at 3M I tried to block them out.) Hopefully I’ll keep improving, build confidence, learn to have more fun while racing, and the only numbers that matter will be the cash I win. Haha. Obviously kidding.