The better I run, the less I want to blog about it. It seems increasingly narcissistic and self-indulgent (if that is even possible) to keep saying, “hey look at me, I’m getting faster, I’m running more, my workouts are great, my race was awesome! Yay me!” Plus I continually question the worthiness of spending the increasing effort and time it takes (for me) to run well and keep improving … and then I think of all the people who don’t even think my times should be considered “running well.” And thus here we are, about to dive into another long, self-aggrandizing post-race knob.
“Stoddard was paralyzed from the waist down last June from a spontaneous hematoma in his spinal cord. He was able to walk the entire distance of the Capitol 10k.”
That’s worth blogging about.
My piddly little race? I ran well and I’m certainly more than happy with my overall time (37:21), but I felt like I never really pushed as hard as I could, never felt like I was “racing”, just running. I think I could have run faster. Hmmm …. we often say this, and I often retort: get over it, you run what you run. If you could have run faster, you would have. You didn’t, so deal with it. Anyway, I felt very strong the whole way, but I psyched myself out before hand and out on the course. I’m not even going to list my splits because I think the mile markers were all over the place.
OK, lest we all get the wrong idea, let me say right here the race was difficult, the conditions were tough, the course was hard. But after last year’s debacle I was terrified of this race. In fact, I was more stressed out about this race than I was about the marathon in December. For a month I just kept thinking how painful it was going to be. But one good thing about all that dread is that it drives me to work hard. Fear of failure and pain is a major motivator for me.
So anyway, the plan was to start out at 6:10 pace through the first two or three miles then see where we were. Of course the first mile was 5:45 or something, but a too-fast first mile is nearly unavoidable in this race. Anyway, I felt under control and didn’t feel like I paid for the exuberance, so my mindset stayed positive.
From the start I was very aware of the runners around me, almost too aware. Eric S. and I had sort of planned to go out together, and I was hoping to just stay close to him. He stayed about 5-10 seconds ahead of me through the first two miles and my eyes just stayed locked on to his back (thanks Eric!). Richard M. and Michael W. are two other guys I really respect and kept an eye on in those first few miles. I kept thinking, “just keep them in sight, they’re going to leave you behind at some point … there’s no way you should be running with these guys, you’re going to pay for this.”
But 15th/Enfield wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be. I didn’t worry about maintaining pace through here, and I feel like I’m a fairly strong uphill runner (not so much downhill), so passing people on the hills was a nice mental boost.
I passed Richard and Eric along this stretch and felt I had no right to pass them. In fact, I kind of held back out of respect or fear or something. I kept thinking, “you should just stay behind them, they know what they’re doing and they’re faster than you.” In retrospect, I’m not sure if this was a good thing (kept me “within myself”, forced me to keep an even pace), or a bad thing (didn’t run to my potential). I also remembered the pain of last year and kept waiting for the hurt to descend, but it never did.
Next I ran behind Michael for a stretch thinking the same things: “just stay behind him, he knows what he’s doing and you’ll look like a fool when he blows by you at mile five.” So I did that for a bit, then pulled up and ran with him for a bit. Every spectator on the course called out his name. He said, “I’m just old and everyone knows me.” He pointed out the water mister by Austin High and I thought he meant we should run through it so I did.
I kept waiting for him to drop me but since he never did and I felt pretty good, I finally decided to “make my move.” What. Ever. I slowly edged ahead and that final mile on Cesar Chavez took forrreeevvvveeeerrrrrrrr. It didn’t hurt like last year, but it was still nothing nice. Some guy and I passed and re-passed each other, he put on a kick for the finish and I countered and it was all pretty silly but fun. Somewhere in that last 400 meters I was thinking, “what’s the point? It’s just a couple seconds either way, be happy and no need to kill yourself.”
Thanks to all the spectators. Minnie on Enfield somewhere; I was surprised she recognized me. Caroline and friends by Runtex Lake Austin. Jessica and the boys by the Lamar pedestrian bridge for a good pick-up. Shannon and Patrick in the rain at the turn onto S. First. I heard Gilbert but never saw him near the finish (maybe that was just the voice in my mind?). Anyway, it’s neat and helpful to run with spectators.
Sincere thanks to Eric, Richard, Michael, Duane, Roger, Jesse, Patrick, Scott et.al. for pushing, inspiring and dragging me along.
I took Friday off before the race and ran an easy five on Saturday morning. I felt like dog doodooo and decided I don’t like taking days off since I get all tight and sore and my joints ache, but maybe it was helpful to be rested for the race?
I’m in a couple photos on statesman.com. Can you find me? It’s ridiculous for a website not to have linkable photos.
Last Tuesday was the mile repeat workout. Going in I thought I wouldn’t even be able to come close to my Belterra pace, but in the event ran 6.19, 5.42, 5.42, 5.33. Crazy.
Maybe that 5K wasn’t a fluke after all?