A stroll in the park

So, I went for a run in the park this morning.  There happened to be 8,000 other people there.

Seriously…I wish I could say that I ran a race this morning, but I just can’t.  I totally bonked.  I’m not sure what’s wrong with me, but for some reason I am training a lot faster than I am racing lately.  And it’s starting to piss me off.

Race Stats:
Race: Scotland Run 10K
: April 3, 2010
Conditions: Warm (70*) and sunny
Time: 49:06
Mile Pace: 7:55
Overall place (all):  1,787 / 7,790
Overall place (females): 318 / 3,717
Age group place (F 25-29): 97  / 1,049

For perspective, a couple of weeks ago I did a 10K tempo run in the park, on course that was actually hillier/harder, and finished two minutes faster.  And last November I did a 10K after three weeks of no training, fresh off of a marathon, and was almost 90 seconds faster.

Again, I have to ask…why do I bother to train if it doesn’t, apparently, make me faster?

I can think of a couple of things that might be “the problem” here:

  • Overtraining.  Possible.  And I definitely have increased my mileage lately, and started adding more speed work.  But 30-35 miles/week really is not that many miles.  In my years of running I’ve done much higher mileage and handled it just fine.  Besides , I intentionally took it very easy on the pace this week, so I should have been pretty fresh.
  • Going out too fast.  I know I go out too fast.  I always have; “go out hard and hang on” has always been my most effective race strategy.  But while that may work for a 5K or shorter race, it’s tough to hang on for more than a couple of miles.  I probably went out a bit too quick today, hitting my first mile at 7:20;  that’s on the faster side of my goal pace (I was shooting for a 7:30 average), but nothing crazy.  Nothing that should have torched my legs like it did.  When I’m just running a training run I don’t have a problem holding 7:20 pace.  When I am in a race it feels like a damn sprint.  So frustrating.
  • Bad attitude.  This may be the root of the problem.  I don’t feel like I get overly nervous or keyed up about races, but I do know that today, somewhere around mile three, a little voice in my head started nagging me:  This is hard.  It doesn’t feel good.  I’m not going to finish in the time I want, so why even try?  Just finish. That’s good enough for today. And maybe it is.  I mean, does it really matter whether I run 49:00 or 47:00 or 45:00 in my race?  I’m not going to PR.  Lots of people are going to beat me, even if I run the race of a lifetime.  But it bugs me that I’m spending money and time and effort to do these things; I should be giving it my best effort.  Clearly, I am not.

Sorry for the mini-therapy session.  If any fellow runners out there have any ideas on how I can conquer my own subconscious and stop being such a headcase, I’d love to hear them!

In any event…it’s over and done.  It was a beautiful day for running and I got a decent workout in.  The hubs came up to the park to cheer at the finish line – as well as absorb some post-race whining, both of which were much appreciated.  And I now have a very cool “Scotland!” baseball cap, courtesy of my race swag bag.  Sweet!

Today’s EAT: Nothing to take your mind off of a poor race performance like brunch with bottomless booze, right?

Some friends are in town from Boston and we met up at The Garage for their jazz brunch with unlimited drinks.  I had a lobster sandwich, a salad, and about seven (very weak) mimosas.  Got some good vitamin C from the drinks, along with some vitamin D from the sunshine!  Nothing beats patio brunches on a sunny day.

Today’s DRINK: Well, clearly I’ve gotten a good start to my day on this front.  Not sure what the rest of the afternoon/evening holds, but I’m guessing we’ll end up out at a bar somewhere!

Today’s RUN: Race + warm up + warm down = about 9 miles.


11 responses to “A stroll in the park

  1. Yo – today’s race was HARD. It was *incredibly* hot outside – I really think it affected everyone’s performances! People really looked like they were dying out there.

    Other than that, I think going out too hard is probably the culprit. I was doing that for my first few nyc races, but then I realized that it’s just not an appropriate strategy for central park, where there are bazillion hills!!

    At my 15K last sunday I printed out a pace-band and literally had to *force* myself to stick to pace from early on. It was really difficult at times to hold myself back, but in the end it served me extremely well – I still had the energy to surge on the last mile or two and PR’ed (completely unexpectedly).

    Glad you’re enjoying the shoes!! See you at practice 🙂

  2. Ken Wilbur, Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, John Lennon, Maharishi, and many others say…to achieve satisfaction and happiness in any endeavor… “always do your best, under the circumstances, while remaining in the moment, and unattached to outcomes” (or something like that).
    They say…emotional pain is only caused by emotional and mental attachment to specific outcomes.

    I bet someone has written a book on “zen running”.

    What you did today Shelby…was a good thing. And I am proud of you, as always. I also like your spunk and determination! Go get em next time!

    Love, Dad

  3. I’m sorry it didn’t go as planned 😦

    I’m going to blame the little voice. I know that voice SO WELL. Namely, it says “Hello! Slow the hell down!” every race I run in…even the ones that I do well in. What I’ve learned to do is realize that that negative voice is going to come up every single race. Because every single race hurts. That’s just how it works. Lame, I know. I can’t say that I’m able to silence it every time, but all I can say is to stay focused, even when every bone in your body says to slow up and make it easier.

    Sidenote: you are LUCKY to practice with Jacqui. She cracks me up.

    • It’s just so weird that the little voice only comes out during races. For me anyway. Pushing hard during a workout feels great. Oh well!

      And yeah I like the CTPC girls a lot – they are a fun group!

  4. It was freakin’ hot yesterday morning – and it was one of the first days this spring that the temperature really made a difference, i think, for us runners. don’t be so hard on yourself! we all have off races where we don’t perform – it sucks, but it happens.

    hope you’re feeling better about your race today – mimosas always help, right? 🙂

  5. I struggle with the mental gymnastics of “this isn’t going to be a PR…la la la”. It’s tough! But, what a wonderful time…you should be very proud, PR or not!

    P.S. Thanks for commenting on my blog! I love yours. Looking forward to reading more 🙂

  6. Pingback: Am I weird? Are you? « eat, drink, run

  7. Pingback: Race Report: Capital City Classic 10K | eat, drink, run

  8. I truly appreciate your “acceptable range of finishing times.” In my inaugural 10k, I learned that mile 5 is a bitch. So that’s neat. Great job on the post college PR!

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