A Personal Best at a ‘C’ Race?
Outdoor Diva’s 2012 Race Report
By Tea Chand
I’ve never had so much fun racing. I’ve done a lot of it this year. For me, the biggest benefit to racing as often as you can is that everything becomes habit. Yea, I’ve learned how to deal with different situations. Even more importantly, everything becomes a habit, and I don’t have to think about *stuff*. In the past, I’d be worried that I forgot something in my bag, or I’ve be trying to remember my nutrition plan, or I was trying to figure out how hard to go. By racing more often, it becomes ingrained. I can just go out there and do what I need to do. I can truly set up a training schedule to have A races, B races, or even just a *Long training day*.
I had a race today. I called it my “practice race”. There were a few changes that I wanted to try out before my A race in a few weeks. If I was going to blow up, it would be at a race that I wasn’t too concerned about.
This race was so fantastic. Not the race itself. (Although, I don’t have any complaints about the race). This morning, we get up to make the hour drive. All of a sudden, my 18 year old son comes down the stairs. It’s 5am.
I need to let this sink in: He’s 18. He’s awake at 5am.
He is leaving for college this week. He comes down the stairs and says, “I’m going to your race.”
I was just blown away. I can’t even remember the last time, either of my sons got up early to go to a race.
How can you NOT have a great day when something like that happens?
Here’s my plan:
The swim was going to be what it was. I didn’t really have anything new to try here. However, with this race, I had the opportunity to warm up more than normal. The RD allowed us to swim right up until time for us to go. This was huge for me. I need a lot of time to warm up. Here’s the deal: In order to get an idea of my swim time, I start the watch at swim time and stop it when I step out of the water. Obviously, if the timing mat is right at transition, MY time will be different than the race time. IMO, it all washes out at the end of the day. I just do this, so I can specifically compare my previous swim times. Heck, if you have a long or short run to transition, well you get it.
My last sprint, my 750m swim was 14:00, and I knew that I did not pace correctly. Today, my garmin time was 12:21. I started faster and I picked up the pace throughout. I felt much better about my swim today. I felt really good about it. I can still go faster, but now I’m not afraid to. I know that if I go out faster, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to run out of gas.
This is where I really wanted to push it. I have a tendency to take too long to go fast. I set a goal of “go out as hard as you can and hold it”. There were a few challenges with this. The course was pretty crowded, and there were quite a few women blocking the passing lane. It was a 3 loop race. I really wanted to hit 22 mph today. My first loop was slow. My second loop: I picked it up. By the third loop, I was making up lost time. I kept watching my avg speed increasing over the last 4 miles. On that last loop, I was going about as hard as I could (when there wasn’t anyone in the way).
I am very happy that I DID hit my 22mph goal. The great thing is that I now feel really good at being around the 22.5-23 range for my A race.
Lesson: I hit my goal, and I still felt GREAT when I got off. There were times when I felt it, but for the most part, I was a very controlled pace. I still have more in the bank. That feels GREAT because my running is starting to come together.
For me, running is a constant battle of 1 step forward, 2 steps back. I’m not naive to the fact that my issue is a mental block more than anything. I’m working on it. Really.
Ricci, in his own little way, had to make his point. Last week, he had me run mile repeats. It was SO NOT FUN. I’m not going to say that I like it because I didn’t. But of course, he made his point.
Although, this goal might sound vague, I knew what I was doing. I wanted to run hard out and harder back. Here’s the deal: whatever I ran out, I had to run *faster* back. WE all know how easy it is to start out fast. After doing the mile repeats, today was a NO EXCUSES DAY.
I ran. I ran my fastest half ever. Then, it got fun. I had to turn around and beat that time. (I don’t have my mile by mile splits. My garmin won’t upload right now.)
However, I FINALLY BROKE THROUGH THAT DAMN 10:00 pace. FINALLY. I know my return was in the 9:20 or so range. I don’t know what I ran out. You do the math.
The best part was that I didn’t feel like death.
I feel really really good about my A race. The bike is long. That’s ok by me. It plays to my strength. I’m going to run that 5k with whatever I have left. I’m going for another PR. I feel really good about it.
I pulled up the results, and I was 10th in my AG. I couldn’t even believe it.
There were 58 women in my AG, and that was the highest I’ve ever placed in that size group. I am so happy. Not bad at all. For a day that was supposed to be a “practice run”, I couldn’t be happier.
HERE WE GO! Next up Sunset!