Yesterday was an interesting race for me. I was struggling to find the normal competitive drive I have for this one. Keepin’ it 100 (as the kids say), it was a stressful week and my mind was not exactly in race mode until the night before the race.
As you can see, it was my best performance at the Turkey Trot. For brevity’s sake, I did not include every year I’ve done the race. Did I “crush” last year’s performance? Not necessarily but I did improve in every category mentioned above.
My watch also recorded a faster pace of 6:39 per mile. Coach had me at 33:28 for 4.98 miles. I did run a few extra meters after the finish line so I would get credit for 5 miles as this race tends to always end at 4.98ish on my watch. Not sure why I did that, to be honest.
Let’s talk about the beginning: I had to piss! It was so weird. I did my normal duty a half hour before the race which was great news! I didn’t think I’d have to pee again so soon but I did down a coffee in the early AM and a Powerade (for the carbs/electrolytes) on the ride to the race.
But as I lined up near the front (a must-do in a race so large, 14,000+ runners), the sensation hit me 9 minutes before the gun went off. I could have hopped the fence and tried to get my spot back but I said screw it, just deal with it. I was also fully willing to piss myself. But I couldn’t squeeze it out. It occurred to me that maybe it was the belt I was wearing around my waist (to hold my phone) that was really causing this sensation. Oh well.
That messed with me the first mile or so. Thankfully, that feeling went away in a few miles.
I just wasn’t into it mentally at first. Disappointing. I only race so much so it’s not like I’ll get another crack at it soon. I saw my father-in-law ahead of me by just a little bit. But to be completely honest with you – my only concern was to hit my power goal of 250 watts unlike previous years when I was desperate to hunt him down.
I was coming up short of my power goal in the first mile. Really short. It was partially downhill at points which means I had to push even harder just to hit my goal. I eventually got above 240 and closer to 245. No big deal, I’d crush it in the next mile, I thought.
No so fast, Lee Corso. I, once again, struggled to get close to 250.
There is some gradual climbing in miles 2 and 3, my slowest miles of the race. Let’s look at the Final Surge laps.
After seeing a 7:00 split on my watch, it pissed me off. I had 2 choices – feel sorry for myself or go make these last 2 miles count. Show my Coach what the hell I’m capable of. I can’t stand settling for any less.
It also helped that the last 2 miles have some nice downhill portions. I rode those bad boys for all they were worth. I was coming closer to my power goal but still not hitting it until the last mile.
I finally passed my father-in-law as we approached the last mile. It was on a downhill portion. He was right there with me but I was making my move, passing many others at the same time. I felt strong in that moment. I felt mentally committed to the race.. finally.
Wind and weather was not a factor at all. It was quite nice racing weather at 32 degrees.
The last mile ticked by fairly quickly. I kept pushing and pushing. I heard every single breath of mine loud and clear. I only slowed up a touch on the 2nd to last turn before we could see the finish line. Then as we made the final turn I knew it was time to kick it into a higher gear.
But guess who shows up on my left shoulder? The Melo Man, my freakin’ father-in-law trying to steal one from me.
I couldn’t let it happen. I uttered the words “son of a…” and dug deep. I surged ahead and gave it my all in the last 200-300 meters. It was a rare moment of me digging deeper than I wanted to. I found my inner tiger. It hurt oh so good.
I thanked my father-in-law afterwards for pushing me. I was honestly cool with cruising in but as soon as he did that, I had to respond. It made me think afterwards – I’m still learning how to race the shorter distances. And maybe I had more to give.
My brother has always insisted that I haven’t pushed myself all the way during races. And that I have a lot more to give. Well, I agree with the first part. I wouldn’t say I have a LOT more to give, but I probably have a little more to give. I’ve had moments where I have dug deep, like in this race, just not for long periods of time.
So in the end, it was a PR at this race and distance. I couldn’t get the 2 slower miles out of my head. I was happy with the last mile and that was about it.
I do not know if this changes my zones at all – not yet at least. I’m sure Coach will give me that update after this week is complete.
He informed me my average power was 247 which surprised me a bit. My HPR was 76% and the most important metric, my RE was 1.00. He told me these were solid numbers, congratulated me and said if we can get the RE up to 1.01, then we’re really cookin’.
I was disappointed to see my RE was 1.00. In previous workouts, I was hitting 1.01. You may be thinking to yourself, well, it’s only a small difference. Unfortunately it’s not. It’s a huge difference with regards to RE. Not that I’m an expert, but I didn’t necessarily feel like I was at that 1.01 mark. I just wasn’t as sharp as I hoped to be.
I have a few theories why. 1) I slacked on my core work this week. As I mentioned, it was a week filled with some stress. Time was more limited. 2) I needed to get outdoors more. Truth be told, it was not a very nice week weather wise leading up to the race. It’s either been windy or rainy, it seems. But still, I should have made it more of a point to get out and tough it out.
I went to bed last night in a fired up state of mind. I went to a party where most knew the actual winner of the Trot, who ran an amazing time and won for the 2nd year in a row. I felt so inferior. I put so much time into this. I love it. I live it. I breathe it. But I’m not gifted. I have to work hard for every second, it seems. It’s discouraging on one hand but motivating on another.
I always feel like there’s room for improvement and if I just find the right blend, I will soar to new levels. Always looking for more. I’m not sure if it’s blind faith, too much hope or just straight up delusional.
Either way, I will continue to press on and do whatever I can to be the best me that I can be. Racing is a necessary evil. We need to push ourselves to new limits and explore the uncomfortable misery that is the last few hundred meters of a race.
What’s next? No races are on the calendar until the Buffalo Marathon. But I like to do the Shamrock run in early March. Maybe Coach will have me do some sort of time trial before then. I also like to run the Grand Island Half 3 weeks before Buffalo. It’s been a tradition of mine.
Besides races, we will move forward with the training program. We haven’t started marathon specific work just yet. Still too early.
I ran 5 easy miles today and my legs felt completely fine. Tomorrow I run 14 with some spice thrown in the later miles.