Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Race regrets

I ran a very hilly 10K race this past weekend and finished fourth overall (first among Masters runners) out of 86, which doesn't sound too bad. Because this was a hand-timed race, not a chip-timed one, I didn't know how close I was to the top when I left. In fact, I missed the awards ceremony, which is a shame because I was the #3 male.

Anyway, when I finally saw the results posted on-line a day later, I learned not only that I was #4, but that I was just 79 seconds behind the winner. 79 seconds in a 10K isn't particularly close (about 13 seconds per mile), but it's not that far off either.

This was a race where I led for the first mile or so before giving up the lead. However, I was generally better going uphill than my peers (though worse going downhill), so I had some advantage on the hilly course.

The biggest mental obstacle, though, was that I lollygagged miles 5 and 6. Because it was such a hilly course, a 10K PR was not even remotely plausible. (I had run this area in a race once before and noticed that everyone seemed to be about 30 seconds/mile slower than normal.) With no PR in sight, I just didn't feel like subjecting myself to more discomfort, particularly when I seemed to be able to keep my relative position in the race at the end.

And yet . . . take a look at my mile splits:


1 mi
2 mi
3 mi
4 mi
5 mi
6 mi

Egad! Cutting 79 seconds off a 10K normally wouldn't be that easy to do, because presumably you're running at your max pace, and 13 seconds/mile is far from trivial. But miles 5 and 6 jump out. Sure, mile 5 was pretty steep, but I'm sure 20-30 seconds could've come off there. And mile 6 . . . argh.

I enjoyed this race, but now I have regrets about not pushing myself more, and taking it easy just because no PR was in reach.

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