Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wrigley Start Early 10K 2010 Race Report

Good grief, this has taken entirely too long to write.

It did take me about a week to be nice to myself when I thought about it. In the end I realized that most of my difficulties were in my head, not my feet.

Here's what went well:
  1. It was a beautiful day.
  2. And a scenic course.
  3. I ran it with good friends! Thanks, Allison! Thanks, Kim!
  4. It was for a good cause, child abuse prevention.
  5. And it was good practice - both in what do I need to do differently in races from now on, and in handling disappointment.
  6. I met my first goal (sub-10:00 miles) - a final result of 1:01:21, an average pace of 9:54 per mile.
Here's what I want to do differently in the future.
  1. Be honest about my goals to myself.
  2. Then know beforehand what mile splits I need to hit to reach those goals.
  3. And know where the mile markers are!
  4. Find ways to focus myself and be present when things get hard, for my legs or for my head.
In the end my actual accomplishment was all I could have asked for. Yes, I went out too fast at the beginning, but I was able to stay steady for most of the rest of the way, to gut it out when it got really hard, and to kick it up a wee little bit at the end.

Thanks to good training, I've gotten better. I've gotten faster. So now I want to see that better and faster in my races. But that means pushing myself in new ways, and that means I need to make friends with discomfort. Because it isn't comfortable to run fast for long periods of time. But it would have been a LOT easier this past Saturday if I hadn't been going through all my unnecessary mental gymnastics at the same time.*

And now it's gotten especially important for me to learn this since I've gone ahead and signed up to do the Chicago Marathon on October 10. And of course, being me, I'd like to do more than "just finish."

But this has also confirmed something important for me to know - in the face of disappointment and frustration, my first instinct was to figure out what I could do better, and then look for the opportunity to put that into practice.

(I'll practice first on another 10K at the end of May, though, not on the marathon. I'm not that foolhardy.)

And now I am finally done with this race report. I can go back to writing about the important things in life, such as the newfound realization that the skin around my knees has seriously lost its elasticity - I think it's time to embrace running capris.

*Such as, uncertainty around where the mile markers were and how fast I was going, frustration when I knew for certain I had gone out too fast and for too long, and disappointment when I thought I had really missed my mark. Which really impaired my ability to enjoy the race for what it was - a glorious spring day on which I was running faster, for longer, than I ever have before.

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