Monday, March 19, 2012
"This is a Process,This is a Process"-Shamrock 2012 Race Report
Last fall, I made a huge breakthrough performance in September at the Philadelphia RocknRoll Half Marathon, running a monster PR 1:08:39, breaking 1:10:00 for the first time-let alone even 1:09:00! It was an incredible race and I was on top of the world knowing I had reached new heights. When you reach a new level, you get excited and already begin to look at the next level. The thing that becomes difficult though, is realizing and facing that there are plateaus before making the next jump. It was 6 months ago I ran 1:08:39, and I basically ran a little bit slower on Sunday(1:09:27)-but I consider it the same range of area I hit back in September-meaning, performance wise, you can say it is extremely similar(48 seconds in difference). Now, where it gets really frustrating is when workouts tell you otherwise.
Every interval/threshold workout I have done the past few months has been +/- 5:00 pace. When I look at my training log, I see a lot of 4:59s of 1-2 mile intervals. I see 4:50s. I don't see anything slower than 5:05. This work has yet to be shown in a race.
I ended up placing 16th in the race. I ran the best I could, and know that I wouldn't have run faster or did anything stupid. I was splitting 5:15s the entire way-if anything I ran pretty damn even. I just wasn't ready to run faster-it almost seemed like a workout(??), not a race. There was a giant pack of 10-15 guys that surged to the front(all who were running +/- 1:05), and at first I was in the back but soon realized I wasn't ready to run with them. I ended up running alone for much of the race. All the other local runners were behind me, and I was just stuck in-between-in no man's land. 1:09:27, don't get me wrong, I would have been THRILLED with this time last year to have run that. It is only the second time I have gone under 1:10:00. I ended up finishing as the top MD, VA, DC runner. The only runners who beat me were either international athletes or out of state runners.
So I wouldn't consider the race a bad race-I think when I was younger I learned that a truly "bad race" is when you don't give 100% effort. That I can say, I have mastered. I know how to push myself. It is having the faith of letting things come together at the right moment, the right time, that I am learning. I think, when you make a jump, you need to repeat that effort sometimes, in order to make the next jump. And that is what I did Sunday- I basically repeated a race that I have run before, but this time was unsatisfied-this is a good thing-it keeps me hungry. You learn, you repeat, you move up. This is a process.
I hope I am in one hell of a race for Cherry Blossom. A 10 mile race sounds like nothing to me now, and I intend to beat a lot of good runners. The field is loaded. It will be fast. I'm not sure if I have a particular goal, but I do know if I run the way I have run these workouts, I will surely hit a home run.