This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Run for the Oaks 5K Race Report

I have no idea how many times I have run this race but I have blogged this race report for the past two years, can you believe it? In fact, it was shortly after this 5K two years ago that I started blogging.

I've said this before, but I like this race as it is, to me, the race that starts the Spring season. Today was not one of those typical Spring Season days: rain, in the late 30s for temp, and just YUCK.

And it seemed noticeable when I got there. Just not a lot of folks as previous years. I can't say that I blame them. But I was going to run it no matter what. With Raleigh's winter, me and my running mates have endured colder.

My aggressive goal for this race was to strive for 24:59 (break 25 mn). This would be a doozy for me since my PR for a 5K is 25:30 (that I made at Run for the Oaks in 2007). But I actually felt confident that I could do this. Confidence does not equal ME, but I am truly trying to work on that...

I did well for the first two miles. Not right on the money but close enough to make my goal. My first mile was 7:58 (about 8:03 to the actual mile marker) and truly, this was not bad. My second mile was at 16:36, for an 8:17 pace but this meant I was still OK -- just a few seconds slower than my goal. I felt like I was still early in the race that I could pick up the pace.

But only a half mile went to shit. My brain would not stop thinking about how I CAN'T do this pace and I battled between walking and slowing down. I didn't walk -- I wouldn't do that because I knew it would disappoint me, but I did take the edge out of my pace. My goal was to step UP the pace, not bring it down.

But this is my battle: the mind games I play. I am not a born competitor. In fact, this past week's track workout was proof. I was running at 7ish pace for 400s and came upon a group of guys that I know are generally faster than me. Perhaps they were doing their cool down jog while I did my speed, but once I realized I was about to pass them, I started to feel panicked. "I can't do that! That doesn't seem right! Why do they have to be here? Get out of my way!! I am not supposed to pass you!"

Yes, it seems insane that I can think like that while running that pace (which is EXTREME for me) but this happens in split seconds and my heart rate races, my legs feel numb, and if I haven't been this disciplined at track, I probably would have slowed down quite a bit, perhaps even just stopping (unlikely).

My running mate Frank was running alongside me. When I explained this to him at the end? He had the opposite thoughts while we passed the guys. He was determined to BEAT them. So now why can't I think like that?

Back to today's race. This is about how I was feeling around 2 1/2 miles. I can't do this. My legs feel strange. I'm just going to take the edge off. This is too fast.

I fussed with my jacket. I suddenly felt really hot. And my concentration turned to getting this jacket off, which mean removing the pins of my race bib, unzipping the jacket, taking my watch off (which I had put over the jacket sleeve), wrapping the jacket around my waist, then putting the watch on.

I had freaking LESS THAN A MILE LEFT TO RUN and I'm fucking around with my JACKET?!? Seriously. Only a reason for me to slow down. And I knew it the entire time I was doing it.

As I finally approach the end, I am focused on finishing. It never occurred to me that I would NOT beat my PR. I thought I still could do that but I noticed the finish clock at 25:4x. Damn. I am slower than the PR. My watch time was 25:43 and official finish ended up being 25:49.

I am not _that_ disappointed_. In reality, for me to play those mind games is so normal -- it's the focal point of my training this year: get used to the pain of running fast. But the other reality is this: 25:43 is fast *for me* and I did it WITH the fucked up battle in my head. I still ran fast. So there is hope yet that I can beat my PR and those weird thoughts in my head.

So I am very happy about today's outcome. I ran fast in crappy weather and I know that as great as I did, I can do better.

What's even better? Tim ran 22:46 which is his PR. Tim has not beat me at Run for the Oaks in nearly every race we've run this together and I can think of at least two before today. I knew he was fast. He knew he could be. He just didn't want to until I threw that gauntlet down last year and boasted about how I have beaten him in nearly all races. :-) Yes, evil of me but it's the only way to get him to get out to run harder and faster.

And even better than that? My coach, the greatest ever, Brennan Liming, won first overall women @ 18:20. She was *THIRD* overall. I was SO HAPPY to hear that. I am proud of her (she had a baby last Fall) and just felt completely privileged to know that she is my coach.

$Bill came out to watch (he has a marathon next Saturday) on this dreary day, which was awesome of him. And I thought it was cool that he was able to see Brennan finish (she's his coach too). And I introduced myself to Lesley, my twitter/facebook/blogger friend. I saw her at Coach Bubba's and gave her a hello as we ran passed each other but this time, I was able to give her a big ole hug and intro'd Tim to her.


  1. Congrats on your race! It sounds like you did well, despite the coat mishap.

    I was waaay behind you, but I just need to get over my time and look ahead to the next race! ;)

  2. I somtimes get down on myself because I think too much - but usually it happens before a race. My problem, especially on longer races, is I dont use enough of my brainpower. Maybe If I was smart enough, Id have enough fuel at the end.
    Of course, you know, with all the mental gymnastics you were going through, a sub 25:00 5K is in the bag for you soon, right?