Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Can I give more?" The answer is usually yes.

 The subject of this blog came from a quote by Paul Tergat, which was in today's "Daily Kick In The Butt" email from Runners World.

It's true. Often times when we're running, or racing, or doing whatever sport we choose, we can always give a little bit more. There are always those moments where we let up almost an imperceptible amount, but it's just enough to give us some relief.

Last night I ran the last of the PPTC 5k Summer Series. I had one (okay, two) goals. My main goal was to not hold back and race with everything I had. My second goal was to PR. I did 6x800's + 1/10 mile sprint on Friday to gauge where I was. My total time for the simulated 5k was 25:51 (8:20 pace) This is pretty much dead on my PR, which was interesting to see. and gave me a boost of confidence.

However, I almost bailed on this race before it even started. Sunday I had a slogging, fairly miserable 16 miler. Then I had the work week from hell (yes, I know yesterday was only Wednesday) I hemmed and hawed, and then told myself it would be more beneficial to just run 5-6 miles. I conferred with Josh, who of course told me I should race. "You'll learn something" he said. Well, fine.

It was humid and I got to the start of the race at 6:50. I had to pee terribly, but was afraid I'd get stuck too far in the back of the crowds, so I told myself I'd skip the bathroom. I'd probably run faster anyway, right? Luckily enough I spotted a porta-potty by the transverse of the park and ducked in.

I changed the screen on my Garmin so it only displayed my average pace, and my total running time. I told myself I wouldn't obsessively watch my Garmin, that I would focus more on running hard. In the past 3 weeks I've run the big hill in Prospect Park no less than 4 times, so it pretty much was my bitch last night. Mile 1 ticked off in 8:21. I was pretty satisfied, but I knew the hardest part would be to hold this pace and not slow up.

Of course, shortly after this point, my ankles started to hurt/burn?cramp(?). I've had this issue a loooong time ago, and it always came up when I ran too fast without a proper warm up, which is exactly what happened last night. I also wore a new pair of Ravenna's, and I don't think the laces were tightened quite as tight as they should have been. I knew the burning would go away in about a mile or so...but should I keep going? I could hear my feet slapping the ground with every step. I was afraid of getting hurt. Should I walk for a bit? Should I stretch? Should I keep going?

I decided to push through and keep going...mile 2 was 8:25, which wasn't too bad. I was annoyed that going down the big hill I couldn't pick my speed as much as I had planned on. I was breathing heavy, and my ankles were still burning. Mentally I knew I had to try and keep my pace up once we went around that turn by the tennis courts. That seemed to be the spot in past races where I've fizzled out. I finally switched screens on my Garmin to see I had less than I mile left! Hurray! I knew I was probably going to miss out on a PR by a few seconds, but I just tried to focus on pushing myself as hard as I could. Mile 3 was 8:19. I sprinted the last little bit going up the hill, feeling like I was going to die, puke, pass out etc, and crossed the finish line in 26:17.

I knew I was about 20 seconds off a PR, and that was certainly annoying, but I also realized I ran this race almost a full minute faster than I did a month ago. And I didn't give up when it was tough. So I'll consider this race a success,


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