Sunday, March 12, 2017

Lost My Killer Instinct

I ran the Pi Mile (3.14 mile) trail run today. I finished in 22:17. Not terrible for a 5K trail race. I think I finished in 6th place (among about 40 runners). Definitely first in my age group (almost everyone was a college student). It really is hard to beat runners that are 30 years younger than you! After about a mile, people settled into their paces. I passed one runner that was slowing down and settled into a rhythm that had 2 runners just in front of me. A young male and young female (they were _all_ young!). At that point, I felt confident I'd take them both before mile three. Young and inexperienced racers tend to go out too fast and come back to the pack. Not today. Not these two. The female kicked my ass and the guy held on to keep me about 10 seconds behind all the way to the finish chute. I completed the race with an average heart rate of 166. A good tempo run at lactate threshold pace. Not a race.

Around mile two, I basically gave up and decided to make this a tempo run. I would push a bit, breath hard, and hold my pace...but not really race. Essentially, I threw in the towel. I had lost my killer instinct. If this was 5 years ago, or even 2 years ago, I would have fought hard to catch at least the one guy in front of me. And I would have done it! Today, negative thoughts entered my head and I turned a race into a tough training run. Older? Yes. Wiser? Maybe. But not tougher. I have mental work to do before the half-marathon in 6 weeks. And another test race in 3 weeks (5K or 10K in town). Practice makes perfect, right? Or it hardens your weaknesses.

PS: At the finish line there were pies from a local farmer and hot chocolate. Plus, I won a medal and a coupon for a free calzone! I'll be back next year to prove my mental fortitude...and eat more pie.

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