Not Running In Circles

It’s weird having an entire winter and spring not focused on track racing. It was weird not going to California to race the 10k. It has felt a little bit like the world I used to belong to is still going on around me as I shift my focus to racing on the road. The weirdest thing is that I don’t really miss it.

I’m enjoying my new racing surroundings and it’s exciting to do something different without exiting the realm of running altogether. I love the pace of the longer races and the excitement of having thousands of other runners and fans around me.

I have tried to pay as little attention to what’s going on on the track as possible, avoiding the “what if I was in the race?” question that always comes to mind. I don’t need to bother my mind with competitive what-ifs.

I just need to keep myself interested and motivated with racing on the road. And I don’t think I’ll have any trouble with that this weekend!

I’m racing on Saturday in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the 5/3 River Bank Run which is the USATF 25k championship this year!

Reflections Of A 5K

Last Thursday night I ran the 5k at the Penn Relays. Unfortunately, I have to emphasize the fact that I just ran it and no part of me was interested in engaging in it as a race. I’m not sure what I was thinking going into it.
Ryan also raced the steeple that night and I think I was a bit too considerate of him being an athlete that I didn’t want to bother him with my race. That’s kind of how it all started. I knew it was supposed to be part of a workout and we didn’t talk any strategy leading up to 2 minutes before the gun went off. Before I walked over to the line he said to me, “Just win. Don’t Lead.”
So 400 meters in, I went straight to the front. I knew the runners behind me were very capable athletes that were looking for a good race and I didn’t care. I just got cozy running 80s and chugged along through the wind and the cold. Then with four laps to go, I heard someone’s coach yell for them to start moving. I watched the pack run by me and tested keeping pace for about three strides and it was just harder than I felt like working. I continued to run the rest of the race and hold at a comfortable pace. My heart just wasn’t interested in the effort it required to fight. I was in total workout mode.
After I finished, Ryan was pretty upset with my apathy and embarrassed for me as well. I was a little confused because my brain was just all about getting work in for the 25k I am running in two weeks. I wasn’t going to be disappointed because I was still on track to run a 75mile week and I hadn’t even worked out on the track, aside from 3×400 after monday’s tempos, in months. Then I saw my time…16:42. That was hard to swallow. I just didn’t expect to run that slow. I was pretty embarrassed too. So I jogged out of Franklin Field and did the rest of my workout up and down the center of Penn’s Campus feeling pretty bummed.
What did I learn from all this?
-Running slow is only fun until you finish
-It’s a good idea to make sure you and your coach are on the same page at least an hour before the race starts
That’s it. I just need to look at it as a workout and move on because I can’t hang on the disappointment that could hinder my confidence in training and racing when I still have races on the schedule.
I’m not unfit, I just didn’t sharpen up at all for the 5k. But the 25k…that’s going to be a different story!

Prepping for Penn

I’m racing the 5k at the Penn Relays this Thursday. I’m so excited to get on the track and race and it’s especially exciting to be doing it at the Penn Relays! I am not planning to back my training down as I am preparing to race the 5/3 River Bank Run on May 9th which is the US 25k championship race this year. 25k is the longest race I will have ever run and I need to be ready for the distance so that means the 5k at Penn will mostly likely be part one of a two or three part workout.

With all that being said, I’m sure racing instincts will take over when the gun goes off and I’ll run as hard as I can. I think Ryan (coach) is a bit concerned that I haven’t done any speed work and I’ll be discouraged with the potential of a slower time, but I’m entered in the race and I want to run! I’m hoping I won’t be bothered by a slow time and I’m hoping even more that I won’t run a slow time, but we will see.

Philadelphia is only a three hour drive down the road and compared to most of the races I run, it’s practically in my backyard. I’m just ready for some fun! I’m going into the race with a low pressure attitude and so many of my current and former training partners, coaches, and teammates will be there to support.

I’ll spend the rest of the weekend at the Penn Relays cheering and just having a blast at an amazing track meet! I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about how it will all have gone in next week’s blog.

PS: Congratulations to my training buddy Dan Craighead on his PR at Boston (2:27.53!). Dan is awesome!