The last two times I did this race, I had very bad cases of "race day illusion". As the name implies, race day illusion is a distorted view of what you can actually do verses what you want to do. For example, it's race day illusion that makes you blaze from the start trying to hold 6:00 minute pace for 13.1 miles, even though you haven't run any faster than 6:40 pace for only 7 miles. It's race day illusion that makes you try to beat that girl just because she is a girl, even though she is running at a ridiculously fast pace. The previous example also holds true for people you consider to look less fit than you, not wearing an outfit that looks as fast as yours, or people who don't look as pretty as you running. Race day illusion caused me to cramp at mile 9 the last time two times I did this race, forcing me to hobble the last 4 miles to the finish. It would not happen a third time.
From the start, I held a pace that I believe I could hold for the entire 13.1 miles. I floated when I could on the flats and the downhills, and I pushed, but not too hard, when I needed to during the uphills. I let girls pass me, unfit looking people pass me, people with weird painful looking gaits pass me, and I never let my ego sabotage my goal of properly pacing the 13.1 miles. Mile 8 was my first benchmark to tell me if I had properly paced the race. No cramping, right on, see ya later alligator. Mile 9 was the next hurdle, and still no cramping, I think I'm in the clear, no race day illusion here. Even with proper pacing, at some point, the race is going to hurt. It's a race. That point came at mile 10. As I felt the hurt come on, I started to take myself out of the race, out of the hurt. And I immediately heard Charisa's voice (and a faint Ian too) telling me it's supposed to hurt. And just like that, I got my mind back into the race, into the hurt. It felt good to be able to do this, to make the correct decision at a pivotal point, something I've not necessarily been able to do in the past. I stayed in the hurt and pushed myself to run the last 3.1 miles as fast as I could. A little after mile 11, I felt my calves twitch, uh oh. I switched my gait up a bit to put less pressure on the calves. After several tries of different gaits, nothing was really working. At mile 12, both calves seized up, but I kept running, as funny and weird as it might have looked to the spectators. One good thing to come from making those pacing errors in my previous two races, is that I learned how to run with cramped legs. Even with both calves cramped, I managed to re-pass two people, and finish the final mile (an uphill mile) in 6:35 or so. I'll gladly accept kudos.
My finish time was 1:23:47, only 7 seconds slower than my time from when I was 34 years-old, and in similar shape. I'm very happy with my result, considering that I've only been running three times per week and no speed work. I'm going to turn 42 this year and for the past several years, I've been using my age as an excuse for not running faster. I now realize that allowing myself to use that excuse the past several years has kept me from running faster. I may get faster running this year, or I may not, but I certainly am not going to continue holding onto that excuse. Sorry for the lack of pictures, I scoured but I couldn't find any from the race.
Hi, I’m in China.
11 hours ago