Monday, February 27, 2012

The Human Race

Saturday was the NC State TorchRun 5k benefiting the special olympics and the NC State University Police dept.  It was a cold windy day, the race started at 8:30 and took us around the NC State Centennial Campus on a very hilly course.  It reminded me a lot of why I don't do the TOA sprint triathlon anymore.  Mostly it just reminded me of human fallacy, that we all have ups and downs and this race was certainly a low point. 

I sort of figured it would be a low point since it is the only race I'm doing this year that is a week after a full marathon.  I took last week to recover, the soreness was all gone and it felt like all of the kinks were worked out.  I also knew coming into it that the course was going to be on the difficult side.  And I weigh more now than I ever did in 2011.

Didn't Einstein say that "if you expect to fail you probably will"?  So yea, I expected to fail and that's exactly what happened.  No surprises here.  It was cold.  It was very windy.  There were no flat spots on the course, and more uphill than downhill.  My last four 5k's and my last 2 marathons have all had progressively slower times.  This one, finishing at 23:57, lived up to all of those trends.  But really the bad part is how I felt at the end.  I really wanted to just curl up and melt into a ball of mush this time.  In the past, I've run faster and felt better at the finish.  I didn't get that sense of accomplishment, that feeling that you really did something to be proud of today.  Instead I felt like I got beat up by a bunch of nerds.

The fact is that anytime you can run a 5k under 26 minutes (my plateau from 2009) it's a good day.  Officially I finished 13 / 36 in my age group and 116 / 572 overall, so both of those are in the top third.  I mean you can only do so bad and still beat 2/3 of the field, right?

So I know it's all mental.  One of the principals of Ashtanga Yoga is that the body is actually quite flexible, but the mind applies perceived limitations that we have to bust through.  It takes a consistent practice to loosen the mind and allow the body to achieve the desired results.  Right now I feel like I'm at the bottom of the sine wave.  I know it has to go up from here.  I know that now is the right time to take control back.  I can control my nutrition and get back down to the 175 lb ideal weight (for maintenance, not racing weight), and losing 13 lbs shouldn't be that hard.  So today's 188 is my starting point.  Today is the day to start building my base miles on a scheduled triathlon training plan.  Two swims, two bikes, and three or four runs every week will build my speed back up.  Increase the tempo runs and actually do some speedwork.

Now is the time to start the process to fix this.  My next race is the Run for the Oaks 5k on March 10th.  It is supposed to be the fastest course in all of the 5k's for this Second Empire Grand Prix series of races, so let's see what I can make happen in the next two weeks to run a nice fast 5k.  It also might be the last 5k I'm going to run in that series, as my other three races are a half marathon and two 10k's.  Let's make it count.

12 comments:

Wes said...

I have a 5K coming up this weekend. not sure how I'm going to handle it. We shall see :-)

It's hard to get up for something like a 5K the week after a marathon. Probably a wise decision to sit back a bit and enjoy it!

Katie said...

good luck with the process!

Viper said...

That was a recovery race. No worries about the poor performance. Cheers!

Wifypoo said...

By this time next month we will officially be Maniacs and it will be spring. I think February is the hardest month to get through, as much as we love winter, we have had enough by this point. We are going to get back on the right track and head in the right direction, this is just a bump in the road. Keep your spirits up and your eyes on the prize baby! Just remember how far you have come and you will remember how pretty you are sitting today.

Lauran said...

I just ran into your blog today and this may be a silly question, but I couldn't find the link to "follow" it. Is there a way to do this?

Thanks!!

Hugh Jass said...

I feel like it's important to have a crappy race every now and then. I think I'm at about a 50/50 ratio of crap to incredible right now.

raulgonemobile said...

Eh, it's the tail end of winter, you've just finished up some big races, I wouldn't let it bother you.

Lily on the Road said...

Whoa, CJ, stop beating yourself up! It is February! Are you going for a sponsor ? I know, I know...but honestly, you're on fire..believe it or not...

Good Luck with the next race.

Fair Weather Runner said...

well i'd say seeing how much you did in 2011, a rough 5k is probably pretty normal. no beating yourself up.

be kind to yourself--that's my own personal yoga mantra. :)

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I'd like to say don't beat yourself up, but I also know I would be doing the same thing because it is just in my nature. Even if I go into something thinking, 'ok we are just doing this for fun, you are not going to PR' I still get pissed at myself w/ my results...

But that said, your time is great and I would be thrilled w/ that time. I haven't ran a timed 5k in, well, pretty much ever I think (most of our races are not chip timed), so I have no idea how I'd do, but I know the 5k is not my distance!

joyRuN said...

Given the marathon (congrats, btw!) the week before, I think you did pretty freaking great. There's only so much you can push your poor legs.

Ironman By Thirty said...

For some reason, every time I saw you post about this race (FB & here), I kept thinking about Anchorman: "The human torch was denied a bank loan." haha

Good get some revenge next weekend!