Sunday, June 10, 2018

Race Embarrassment

My knee at finish. Pic by E. Keeley.
I ran the Lake Mingo 7.1 mile trail race on Saturday. It did not go as planned. I knew I was not in top shape, but I felt this was a short enough race that I could still do fairly well. I normally finish under one hour, so I estimated just over an hour (61-62 minutes) for this year's race. At worst, maybe 63-64 minutes. I finished in 1:06:52. Sad. Embarrassing. Sure, it was warm and humid, plus it rained on us in the middle of the race and the trail became muddy and slippery. I took a tough tumble and ripped up my knee and hip pretty good. No excuses. Everyone had the same conditions and plenty of runners ran much better than me. Younger and older, they beat me. And most didn't even fall. Lucky them. Congratulations to all my buffalo friends who ran really well. You impressed me with your determination and grit.

I started the race well. Maybe too well. I ran a 7:30 first mile. It felt like moderate effort running so I wasn't worried. Of course, most of that first mile was flat. Once we hit the rolling single-track trail, I increased the effort, but my pace slowed. People began passing. I had no fight in me. By mile 3, I was fading fast. I checked my watch several times and saw my heart rate around 166-170. That's higher than tempo running, but not crazy high for a 7-mile race. Every mile was slower than the last: 7:34-9:21-9:52-10:23-10:29-11:39 (fell)-10:28 (only measured as .8 mile). My GPS was clearly measuring short due to the heavy tree cover and twisty hilly trail. Whatever. I was slow. And it got worse with every mile. Embarrassed that I didn't have the guts to push through when it got hard, but I also wasn't trained well for the heat or intense effort. My bad. (I also started too fast, need to be patient and mellow at the start--see Trail Runner article).

Hopefully my knee and hip will heal quickly and I'll be back to training soon. This poor race performance taught me many things. Primarily, I need to train for the specifics of a race. Hills for hills. Heat for heat. Speed for speed.

Similar to my poor performance in the Illinois half-marathon back in April, even though I ran fairly slowly, I placed OK overall (51/157 finishers) and in my age group (3/9). Still, I can race better and place better next time. As usual, I need more overall miles, with more tempo (and faster) paced running. Broken record. When will I learn that to race fast you have to run fast?

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