I opened my season last weekend with a mile in New York. Going into it, I was pretty nervous about lacing the spikes up again. It had been 7 months since my last race, and close to 11 months since I had run in spikes pain-free. I had also just completed an intense bloc of training, doing 6 workouts in 9 days while in Texas. When we’re away at training camp, coach likes to give what he calls a “mega-dose”, which I found out is synonymous with “mega-pain”, and looked something like this:
Saturday- Tempo within long run
Sunday- Time Trial
(+ Weights, drills, and morning runs)
Coming off a week like this, I was both a little worn down and feeling uneasy about the race. According to coach, it was clear looking at my body language during warm-ups that I was lacking confidence. I’ll give Dave credit- he tried his best to motivate me, and encourage me to stick my nose in the race, but it didn’t work. I was nervous, negative, and not in the right mindset. On the set command, I was fidgeting wildly and caused the starter to stand us up. Right off the line I was in last place, and I stayed there through 800m in a pedestrian 2:03.9.
Through the 1000, a gap opened between the first and back half of the field, and before I knew it, I was about 4 seconds back of the leaders and 2 seconds back from my teammates Ross and Taylor. I spent the last 600 in lane 2 and 3, passing guys I probably should never have let in front of me in the first place.
Once I crossed the line, I had all sorts of mixed emotions. I was initially happy to have finished a race, and to have been relatively pain-free throughout. Then, I looked up at the video screen and saw my time, 4:03.58 for 5th place. I don’t know why, but I guess I thought I’d walk my way to a sub-4 mile. I was also upset about having let Ross and Taylor get so far ahead of me midway through the race, and wasted all sorts of energy going around half the field trying to catch back up. I then immediately thought to where my fitness was around the same time last year, when I ran 4:02 at altitude in New Mexico (which converted down to 3:57). My brain jumped to the conclusion that I was far behind where I was a year ago, and was pretty dejected because of it.
On the cool-down, Ross and Taylor and I all vented about how we were disappointed with the outcome, but by the end of it I had already started feeling better. We started talking about our next race, the Meyo mile two weekends from now, and how we’re confident it’ll go better once we’re two weeks fitter and sharper. I also realize now that my training’s been hugely different than it was in university. Back then, I was essentially trying to be fit and sharp all year round, with conference and NCAA meets never more than a few months away. Now, all emphasis is placed on the summer season, and we’re just meant to use these few indoor races as a barometer of fitness. Therefore, I’m trying to convince myself that it’s natural that I race a bit slower this time of year.
After the race, we went over to Coogan’s for some food and drinks, and then later headed down to see Times Square. New York’s a place I always enjoy visiting for a weekend, but by the time I leave I’m so glad I don’t live there. Austin was great too, and a break from the snow was much needed, but I’m glad to be back in Guelph. I’m excited to get back to the old routine, and build on the fitness I gained in Austin.
Video of the Race: