Race Day Disappointment(s)

Posted: March 25, 2011 in Motivation
Tags: , ,

I went to packet pick-up on Friday for the first time ever knowing full well that I wouldn’t be running the Cap 10K on Sunday.

I went for a “test run” on Thursday and for the third consecutive week, I had to cut my run short as the knee pain returned just as I approached the two mile mark.

Unless I decide to become a miler, I will have to really back off the “test runs” and give my knee the time it needs to get right so we can get back to training.  In the meantime I have been spending more and more time in the saddle of my tri-bike and I am starting to see some real improvement.

This week I rode three times with the bike up on the trainer.

I can already see the benefits of both trainer rides and road riding on the weekend.

Last Sunday’s 30-mile ride out in the wind and hills on Parmer Lane really taught me a lot.  I battled the elements, worked on staying as low and aerodynamic as possible and tested out which gears allowed me to maintain my leg turnover or “cadence” consistently as the inclines got steeper and steeper.

One thing I realized pretty quickly is that comparing that 30 mile ride to another 30 mile ride in the future will be tough to do.  Shaving :30 seconds or a minute off of that distance very well may have more to do with conditions such as the temperature and wind than any improvement I may be making on the bike.

The trainer however is a very controlled environment.

The same bike, same incline (none), same wind resistance (none) – the only variable is me and the gear(s) that I select.

I decided this week that I would stick in the same low gear for the duration of my three rides and see what kind of improvement I made – if any.

I covered the same 15 miles distance based on the mileage displayed on my Garmin Edge 500 but with each ride my time improved:

Tuesday:  46:53

Wednesday:  46:36

Friday:  45:57

My mile splits were much more consistent on Friday and I was able to lock my cadence in at 85 RPM with a high of 93.

So it would appear that as I get more comfortable with the bike I am getting stronger and faster.

I think back to when I was making huge gains a few years ago in my running.  Shaving literally :30 at a time off of my mile splits over the course of a few months.  I may be approaching the time where my run times are as fast as they are going to get.

Which is why I have so much excitement about taking swim lessons and competing in my first triathlon hopefully before the end of the year.

It is in those early stages where you see the most improvement when you take up a new activity.  It can be very invigorating and exciting.  I can hardly wait to meet with my Tri coach this Wednesday and start plotting our strategy for my swim education.

I would be lying if I did not admit that I was disappointed to miss this weekend’s Cap 10K.  I will be even more disappointed next weekend when I more than likely have to pass on the Cooper River Bridge Run.

So why did I go to packet pick-up to get my bib?

Because that Bib and the Cooper River Bridge Run Bib are going on the wall in my office.

117 of 40,000 for Cooper River Bridge Run 2011

I am going to look at them each and every day until I leave for NYC and the ING NY Marathon in November.

I am going to pin them to my board and stare at them.  Letting them mock me until it is once again my time to race.

When I pin on that NYC Marathon Bib I’ll be healthy, rested, focused and fully trained.  I am going to allow today’s disappointment serve as tomorrow’s motivation.  It will fuel me to push even harder when I prepare for and race my next marathon.

You can either let life happen to you or make life happen for you.  It’s time for me to stop feeling sorry for myself, hike myself up by my bootstraps and do what I can do right now to train and prepare for races down the road.

As for those two bibs?  I might not have been able to race in them, but they’re still “mine”.  They deserve a better fate than to simply be discarded after all of the race packets are picked up and a volunteer casually casts them aside into the trash.

I trained hard in 2010 and raced well enough to be seeded in both the Cap 10K and Cooper River Bridge Run.

Nobody can take away those past accomplishments.

I thought a lot about Boston as I was debating whether or not to bother picking up my race packet Friday.

If I am not able through the registration process in September to gain a spot in the 2012 Boston Marathon, does that diminish my 3:15:01 Boston Qualifying time I posted in February at Austin?  Did I not BQ by just under 5 full minutes on a hilly course in hot and humid conditions?  Was a 128th place finish not a great accomplishment?  Of course it was.  So Boston 2012 or not, I ran the best marathon I have ever run a month ago.

To gain my spot in the Cooper River Bridge Run I had to run my PR of 38:06 in the 10K.  I’ve never been so excited crossing a finish line.

IBM Uptown Classic - 38:06

For the Cap 10K my spot was secured by posting my PR in the half-marathon of 1:23:55 at 3M.  Another tremendous day and effort.  The best that I have ever been.

So yes, there will be one fewer runner at each of those races the next two weekends.  But I will be there in spirit, knowing that I belonged.

For now, that is just going to have to be enough.

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Comments
  1. onelittlejill says:

    Knowing we belong at races, but cannot be there is one of the toughest pills to swallow as an athlete. But it truly does make us better in the end!

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