Take what the day gives youApril 11, 2010
Yesterday’s race made me feel old. I don’t mean that in a purely negative sense.
At certain 5Ks and 10Ks, I seem to play the role of the crafty old veteran whose sensible tactics partly compensate for limited legspeed. I generally pace myself well, respecting the features of the course, and wind up passing some really fit kids who went out too fast. It’s not as fun as winning the whole race, which often requires good tactics AND good speed, but there’s a certain satisfaction in using one’s experience to achieve the best result possible on a given day.
Yesterday’s race, the Mad City 100K, was a similar exercise in coaxing an acceptable performance out of a less-than-fully-cooperative body. I was hoping to run 7:05 or better, but the desired pace felt uncomfortable, so I slowed down, drank copiously in recognition of the unseasonably warm temperatures (47 degrees at the start, 67 degrees by the finish), and revised my goals to be (A) staying under the national 100K team qualifying standard of 7:20 and (B) placing as highly as possible. I remembered something that Patrick Russell said to me at this race three years ago amidst lousy weather — “You have to take what the day gives you” — and adopted that as my mantra for the last 50K.
I finished far behind winner Matt Woods (7:06:21), which was quite disappointing. On the other hand, I worked my way up to 2nd place with a late rally, passing Chad Ricklefs at 88K and Chikara Omine at 91K, and my runner-up position and time of 7:15:11 should be enough to get me back onto the national team, which will compete in Gibraltar in November.
I may avoid long races during the next few months so that I can focus my training on preparing for Gibraltar. But we’ll see what the summer brings.