Well, I’m pretty fired up right now. On Tuesday I raced the 5,000m at the London Distance Classic and it went very well. So naturally, I’m excited about the rest of the season and I’m ready to give it a go again soon. A few weeks ago, I was feeling pretty tired and run down, so my first track outing (the 10,000m) went poorly. Since then, I have rested up and backed off on the training a bit in order to feel good again and to get my running legs back. I know I usually knock anything less than super-high volume that leaves you living the rest of your life in a zombie-like state, but this “backing off” thing seems to have worked pretty well.
In any case, I was feeling pretty good this week and I felt ready to go for a personal best in the 5,000m. On Monday night (less than 24 hours out from the race), I freaked out a bit when I realized that I would be the fastest seed in my heat. It played out something like this:
Me: (trying to sound all casual when I was actually all worried) I really wish I had asked someone to pace me for the 5000m…
Steve: I’ll go ask someone right now. Let’s see who’s on facebook chat…
(Three minutes later)
Steve: Robbie and Dylan said ok.
Steve: Yeah, they can pace you tomorrow after their 800m races.
Me: OK, cool.
Less than 24 hours later, I was lacing up my spikes for my 5,000m race, while Robbie and Dylan were getting ready to pace me after having run an 800m about a half-hour earlier. The guys did a great job, taking me though 2k in about 6:40 and 3k in 9:58. I was able to stay nice and relaxed for the first 3k of the race. It felt like we were just doing another kilometer repeat workout in Gibbons Park. Robbie stayed in for 3600m, and after he stepped off I felt good enough to keep the pace steady for the rest of the race. I finished in 16:34.51, a personal best by over twelve seconds.
I really owe a lot to Robbie and Dylan for their help on Tuesday. Not only did they run even splits to set me up for a personal best, these guys were willing to help out a teammate on short notice without a second thought. It’s great that these junior athletes in our group understand what we are trying to do with the club. We are building a community with an atmosphere where runners of any age and level can succeed and achieve their goals. Guys like Robbie and Dylan understand that for this to happen, club members need to give back to the group and help out their teammates. It is too easy to simply ask “what can I get out of this training group?” or “how can this club make me better?” and forget that one needs to make contributions of their own. Sure, it’s important that a track club or training group helps you improve (otherwise, why would you join?), but it’s a two-way street. In order to create an atmosphere for success in a training group, athletes must make positive contributions that improve the group. That’s why Robbie and Dylan (among others in the club) are such great teammates – they go above and beyond the simple requirement of coming out to practice and working out two to three times a week.
So again, thanks Robbie and Dylan. You guys are awesome.
Of course, now that I’ve had a few days for everything to sink in, I want to race again and run faster. I want to be more aggressive in the first 3k of the race by going out in, say, 9:45-9:50. My first kilometer was about a 3:22 (while the other four averaged 3:18), so that’s like four free seconds, right there. That being said, I’m glad that I played it a bit safer on Tuesday and negative split the race; it was a great confidence booster.
The race video is up on Runnerspace, in case you have sixteen minutes and thirty-four seconds that you don’t know what to do with. Next up for me is the Speed River Middle Distance Inferno, where I will be racing the 1500m. I am the slowest seed in the fast section, so the plan will be to hang on for dear life in the first two laps, and then take some scalps over the second half of the race. And I want my scalps!
Until next time, get fired up about track season! Dropkick Murphys songs get me fired up, so here’s one.