"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Born To Run 15k Recap

Just two weeks to go now. As part of my final preparations I decided to run the Born To Run 15k in Eugene this morning. The distance was what I needed for my Saturday run this week and I wanted to do sort of a final walk-through of all my pre-race and race strategies I've been experiment and training with.


The weather was threatening. The hour leading up to race time varied between drizzle and downpour. And it was cold. I debated whether to wear a short sleeve or no sleeve shirt, jacket or no jacket, gloves or not? How about my head scarf? So many last minute decisions. I finally decided I would go without sleeves, jacket or gloves. Headscarf, yes. Fortunately, the rain tapered off as the race begun, and except for two cold hands for the first few minutes, I made the correct choices (the headscarf came off around mile 4).

I actually warmed up for the first time also. I've been struggling lately with my first mile of any run. Just sore and uncomfortable, but then it all goes away and I felt great. I took a light half mile jog a few minutes before the start and I'm glad I did. Once the cowbell was sounded (and is some cowbell is good, MORE cowbell is better), I was ready to go right from the start.


I went out too fast. And I knew it. But darn it, I felt good. I managed to keep the pace for the first mile and then slowed slightly into a good pace (7:30-7:40) for the next two or three miles. As with most of the races I run, I somehow found myself all alone for the bulk of the miles. The last person to pass me did so in mile 3 and I didn't see another person until about mile 6. But it wasn't someone coming up on me -- I was coming up on them.

The guy I could see a half mile or so up the path had passed me in the second mile. He seemed pretty far out, but with 3 miles still to go I picked up my pace slightly and kept an eye on him. For the next two miles I made up a little bit of ground, but he was still probably a quarter mile in front of me. I was still feeling great though, and made the decision at 7.5 miles that I was really going to push myself the rest of the way.

Side Note: I fully intended to run the entire race at the pace I hope to run in two weeks. (7:45-7:55). After feeling so good the first 6 or 7 miles though, and knowing that I had a seemingly full tank of fuel left, and seeing this guy in front of me, my competitiveness overrided all other systems and said run this guy down.

And so I did.

I caught up to him around the 8.25 mile mark and just to make sure he knew I wasn't slowing down once I did, I zoomed by him and kept on going. He wasn't going to pass me again.

I came to a pond and had about 0.6 miles to go. This distance is significant to me. I'll talk about about "Finishing Fuel" in the next few days, but every training run I do that ends at my house has a final stretch of 0.6 miles that I push myself as hard as I can. I've run this distance dozens of times over the last 19 weeks and I visualized the last portion of the race as nothing more than running home.

I finished strong and crossed the finish line a 1:11:48, good enough for 19th overall.


Only running 9 miles today feels weird. After so many Saturday runs of twice that (or more), I feel like I haven't done anything today. I guess that's the taper though. And I trust my body will thank me for it, come June 5th.

I'm glad I got one more race in though. It gave me a chance to focus on my thoughts, running tangents (something nearly impossible to do on my regular routes), negotiate aid stations, when to eat something during the race and a few other things I've been thinking about.

All systems are go for Newport in two weeks. I need to keep myself busy this week though, as I'll only be running 3, 5 and 3 miles on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. My goal this week is to just not hurt myself.

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