It’s time for a race.

Posted: August 26, 2010 in Pace and Racing
Tags: , , , ,

Picture the scene. 

Sun not quite up yet.

No sounds except a runner’s feet crunching the stone on the trail.

The runner has been running up and down the same hill for just over 40 minutes.  Almost six miles of running, but he has hardly moved an inch.

As he reaches the bottom and turns to head up for his 8th hill repeat he thinks to himself.

“I think I feel like racing on Saturday”.

The story would be hard to believe – if that runner wasn’t me.  Sometimes I really think something is wrong with me. 

Other times, I’m quite sure of it.

The fact is however, I love to run.  That has been pretty well established over the last few years.  But over the last year that I have spent training and running for Dom I have come to another realization.  As much as I love to run, I have discovered that I really love to race.

I love pretty much everything about it.  The nervousness, the excitement, the challenge, the comradarie and of course the competition.

Sure pushing myself up the hill at Brushy Creek this morning was satisfying.  Doing it 9 times this week as I continue to “add one for Dom” every Thursday until we reach our goal of 10 hill repeats felt great.

But there is something special about a race day.  Whether it is a marathon or just a small 5K, racing is the best. 

To me “race day” is really the celebration of all of the hard work and training that you put in.

Let’s face it, as a distance runner the only workouts that are “glamorous” to non-runners or casual runners are those Sunday long runs.  The kind of runs where your friends and family ask how far you are going and you say nonchallantly, “Ah, just 16 this weekend”.  The corners of their mouth turn down ever so slightly and they look at you as if you have clearly lost your mind.

But those long runs are just part of the picture.  Truth be told, there is no glory to be found at 5:15 a.m. on Brushy Creek Trail in Austin, TX knocking out hill repeat after hill repeat.  There are no “attaboys” or high-fives given.  No “way to gos” or “go get ’ems” – just the runner, the darkness and the hill.

That’s o.k. though, because I’m not out there for accollades.  I’m out there for race day.

You see, it’s on race day that those early morning workouts matter.

On race day, it definitely matters if you were the runner who skipped his hill repeats this week, or the one who did not give their all during Tuesday’s Tempo workout. 

On days when I feel like mailing it in, I think of Tom Flemming who said:

“Somwhere in the world someone is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win”

So as I came down the hill on my final repeat and made my way back to the house – I decided that I was in.  As long as Dawn’s appointment at the Doctor on Friday shows no indication that Landry will be making an early arrival, we’ll be racing Saturday at the 3rd Annual NOCC Balance 5K.

The race benefits the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, improving the survival rate and quality of life for women living with ovarian cancer.

It’s been a tough week of training, covering more than 38 miles since Sunday.  Definitely not the type of week that will lead up to a new PR on Saturday.  That’s o.k. though, as the goal remains to peak for the IBM Uptown Classic 10K on October 17th.  My final day before Austin Marathon Training begins.

There probably won’t be an age group victory in my future on Saturday or a smokin’ fast 5K time to put in the books.

There are other reasons to race however as Cancer certainly isn’t taking any days off right now – so neither are we.

I’m pretty sure that when Dom looks in on me Saturday morning, he’ll be pretty proud of me for being out there doing my best.

No matter what the finish clock says, that will be good enough for me.

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Comments
  1. tbrush3 says:

    Good luck this weekend. I was thinking about the same thing the other day. Nothing beats the feeling of race day.

  2. Jodi Higgins says:

    Good luck on Staurday! Great post as usual!

  3. Sean says:

    Good luck tomorrow Joe. My boys and I are helping build a playground tomorrow morning, so we’ll pause and send you good vibes for 21 minutes, but no more. Now you’ve got yourself a target time! Kick some butt my friend.

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