Friday, July 5, 2013

Firecracker goes boom, boom, boom

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I wanted to fly.

I wanted my feet to push off the ground and never touch down.

I wanted to feel the wind in my hair.

But my legs were sore, even after sleeping in compression socks and a good stretch.

My body was tired, firework "displays" taking place long into the night kept me up far past my bed time. Even the Kona Cola nuun didn't seem to wake me up.

Alone, I felt antsy and anxious. Unenthusiastic and unsure.

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I showed up at the Firecracker 4-mile with big dreams, though. I wanted to lay it out on the line. I wanted a real race to test my fitness and give myself a boost of confidence going into marathon training. I wanted to dominate. 

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In a Team Sparkle skirt, Schwings and a nuun tattoo.

But I think the day had other plans.

I lined up toward the front as this race was gun start with chip finish and when the director said go, I went. Too fast I knew. I had hoped that I'd surge and settle in even though I know this strategy has failed me in the past, especially if I'm racing alone.

The course began at a park pavilion but we were quickly on trails and taking on challenging (at least to me) hills. The grass was wet. Soft. A thin track went down the middle of the course, as if it were forged by fierce mountain bikers. My feet were dancing not so deftly around the track and puddles, my breathing labored.

As I hit the mile 1 marker, I looked up to see the faster runners rounding the corner after making it to the top of a steep hill, one so steep that you could barely run it. Or I could barely run it.

And it was at this point that I realized that it wasn't my race. I had blown my wad. I had ran stupid. Rather than tell myself that I do, in fact, run my body and give myself the choice to finish with some guts, I decided to just get through it. Again. With each passing step, I saw myself get farther and farther behind. The people I had so eagerly and egotistically passed were now passing me. The people who weren't racing were coming from behind, looking strong and steady.

At times, I tried to power through but I wasn't in it and neither were my legs. They were shot by the time I tried to start utilizing the strategy I've so often heard about - picking people off. Picking off quickly became don't let the girl everyone's cheering for pass me.

I rounded the corner to the finish line and was shocked that it read 33:5x. Shocked because I was so far off my PR. Shocked because I was sure that my mental game would cost me a sub-9 pace. I gunned it for a bit and finished in 34:21 - 1 minute and 50 seconds slower than I did the Fort4Fitness race.

While I'm disappointed in myself, more my lack of mental game than physical effort, I am happy that I managed to place third in my age group - and that there were more than 3 in my AG, too.


  1. Sorry it was a tough race, but I think you did great! Congrats on placing in your age group! You look super cute, too!

  2. I know you wanted more but still Congrats on a solid race. No shame in going for the gusto, right?

  3. Sorry it wasn't your best race. I still think you did great though! Placing is awesome!

  4. Congrats on your AG placement!

    It is so hard not to start off fast with the gun. I do that almost every time at a short distance race... and almost always regret it. Way to push through and finish strong!