Monday, August 15, 2011

The Inaugural BAA 10k, the first time in my life that negatives have been positive

I am still short the goal money I needed to raise for my charity run of the Boston Marathon. I'd appreciate any and all contributions. No amount is too small. If you are so inclined/motivated to donate just hit the button at the top right of my blog and thank you in advance. Now on to the bloggy.

Hi, my name is Dutch and I have a problem. Hi, Dutch...

No really, I do have a problem, I get caught up in the moment at start of EVERY race. The nervous energy, the "will I do well", "am I faster than that guy", "is today a PR for me", "do these shorts make me look fat"...all sorts of thoughts run through my mind. That all leads to me going out way too fast, blowing up within a few miles of a race and then fighting through pain and agony in order to finish and turn in a decent time.

Well, not this time my friends, no sir. THIS time I was finally gonna do it, I was gonna run negative splits at the Inaugural BAA 10k. Now to be honest, I was helped in that decision by looking around and seeing all the pro's and club runners warming up around me. Looking like little, fast, nimble deer in their warm up gear and here I am walking around looking like bull in a china factory the decision was made. So, knowing there was NO way I was gonna place, I decided that this would be the first race I would actually try this novelty thing called "the negative split".

So...walking up to the 7:30min pace corral I did some last minute stretching, reminded myself of the goal at hand and waited for the gun to go off. And...for the first time...when it did go off I didn't take off like a bat out of hell. Looking down at my pace, I decided to start on 7:30's and then slowly work my way down.

Miles 1,2,3-7:38, 7:23, 7:30
I wouldn't say they were comfortable miles. Not in the sense that I was hurting, rather I didn't know what to do since I wasn't hurting. I mean, isn't every race supposed to be a battle with nausea and cramping right out of the gate? Realizing that wasn't the case was a new experience. Change? We fear change... I was trying to be conservative (hence the 7:38) but hitting the turn (yes it was an out and back favorite kind) I realized I could start chipping away at my pace on the way home.

Don't worry Marathon Photo,
I bought this pic it just hasnt arrived yet

Miles 4,5- 7:19, 7:12
Now I felt like I could start to speed up. I should probably run negatives knocking off 10secs per per mile but I kinda got excited when I hit the turn and then tried to make myself settle down. In hindsight I didn't need to be so conservative the first half but oh well.

Miles 6 and the .2- 7:02 and 6:23
One mile left and I felt I had gas in the tank for a kick.  Contrary to my normal feeling of running on vapors and having extending conversations with the deity of choice about how, if I ever cross the finish line, I will never run another one of these stupid races again. So with only the .2mi to go I figured I should dump whatever fuel I had left.

For the first time ever, I crossed a finish line: not angry, not a wreck and actually happy with my performance. And...I might actually have been happy. I only thought other people experienced this but no, no I could too. Granted it was no land speed record at 45:39 but it was a decent time. It was however only 8secs slower than the 10k I'd run the 2 weeks prior and in that race I blew up at mile 3 and was hanging on for dear life. I'm still chasing a 40min 10k but I guess getting smarter about how to race will help.

My name is Dutch, I have a problem...but I'm working on it and am making progress...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It was my shame but now it's my pride...

As I write this I am still short the goal money I needed to raise for my charity in order to run the Boston Marathon. I was able to run (obviously) but the bill is going to come due and I'm still over $1,000 short. I'd appreciate any and all contributions. No amount is too small. If you are so inclined/motivated to donate just hit the button at the top right of my blog and thank you in advance. 

It has taken a long time for me to come to grips with the 2011 Boston Marathon. To be honest it took all my desire to train and race, hard or otherwise completely away. I have been embarrassed and ashamed of that race and my performance, or lack thereof, so I've done everything I could to not think or talk about it and move on. Then I ran across this picture in a stack of racing photos and numbers. I hate this picture. I hated it when I turned the corner and saw the cameraman taking it, I hated it when I saw it on the "proof page" for marathon photo and I hated it when it came in the mail. I ordered it however because it is an image that truly portrays how I felt from mile 13 on.

You can read about my Boston Marathon in an earlier blog post on here but a quick BLUF (bottomline up front) is that is sucked. Not sucked as in "aw, man I'm not gonna get a PR" but sucked as in "I'm so angry and in so much pain that hate everything and want to find a puppy or baby to strangle (don't worry, no children or animal were harmed during the course of my marathon)".

I will be honest and tell you that I work very hard for no one to see me in pain or struggling especially when it comes to races. I was taught as a young cyclist thats okay to be in pain...but no one shoukd ever know you're hurting lest they attack. I would love nothing better to be a machine when it comes to training and racing, able to drop a 6 or 6:30 mile pace at any distance on any day but that's not the case. When it doesn't go my way I just lock my jaw and push through. Which, in hindsight, is probably why I look constipated in most if not all of my race photos and most days at my desk ( in hindsight maybe that's why I always get those weird looks at work).

I do think however that weakness is not in the body but in the mind. The only reason you can finish well or even finish at all in some cases is because you believe you can and tell your body you will. Unfortunately for me it feels as if I have spent most of my life in damn near any of my pursuits, athletic or not, having to put my head down and telling myself to get it done no matter what. That certainly was the case with Boston. My race systematically fall apart as the miles went on. I cramped up, threw up and blew up but the thought of not finishing NEVER crossed my mind. I saw people fall down, pass out and give up all around me. I just put my head down and knew I'd suffer whatever I had to in order to finish. The face in that picture shows it.

I hated this picture...and now...I love this picture.