I'm still trying to figure out what I think about the outcome of last Saturday's race. I mean, obviously it's a moot point by now, but still. Personally, I kind of think that there were way more positives than negatives. For one thing, I would not have changed anything leading up to the race preparations-wise, conditions were awesome (I was hoping for more mud though), the head was screwed on straight, and there wasn't anything left in the tank after I crossed the line. All you can do is the best you can do, right? Given those things, there are no regrets, at least none that I can think of. Furthermore, I felt better in that race than I've felt in I don't remember how long--I felt like I ran fast, but didn't feel like I got run over by a train, it is hard to explain, but I don't know when I last felt like that. I would actually say that I was most happy/thankful for that fact above anything else. It feels like I kind of got off to a fresh start and there is a lot further to go, and plenty more to come, and a lot left to help get there, I think that sort of thing gets taken for granted sometimes. So in that regard, I was actually pretty thrilled about it all. Hopefully this will act as a springboard into 2010.
On the other side of the coin, the goal/expectation leading into the race was to finish top-10 and/or make a World's team. Neither of which was accomplished. I actually barely scraped top-20 (19th). And World's? Forget about it. Looking over the results post-race made me grasp just how high caliber the top-15 or so were, and had I finished top-10 that would've been an enormous breakthrough to say the least. As in, I probably would be packing my bags now to go to Oregon and run for the Swoosh or something. I knew that the field would be good, but to be honest I did not look too much at the entry list prior to the race because that stuff wigs me out and I don't like going into a race with pre-determined ideas of where I stand in a field based on anyone's reputation. To give an idea of the caliber of the field, the woman who took first last year (Emily Brown) finished 7th this year, and none of those top-6 women even ran the race last year. So needless to say there was a tremendous amount of depth in the top-30 relative to last year. Still, thinking of that stuff still makes it seem like more of an excuse on my part as to why I wasn't up there. So it's hard to not look at it as a failure of sorts. But it's also weird viewing something as a failure but not being in the least bit disappointed with yourself. That makes me wonder if I am getting lazy or complacent. I don't think so....I hope not.....but this is all more motivation to stoke the fire.
The trip itself was pretty cool, and I got to meet some people that I have only formerly seen in running magazines. Walking around the host hotel was like being in Runner Hollywood or something. Dathan Ritzenhein asked me what's up. Al Sal said hi to me in passing (I wanted to ask him if he had any extra of those inhaler things that his runners are always huffing on pre-race, but I didn't). Shalane Flanagan told me good job post-race (even though I told her good job first, and I'm pretty sure she had no idea who I was or if I was even in the race considering she finished 3 minutes ahead of me). I hung out a lot with Hey There Delilah (no I didn't sing the song once the entire trip, but I really wanted to) and Kristen Anderson (a former multi-time D2 national champ). And Billy Mills gave me a hug, he's a pretty cool dude.
With all that stuff aside I decided to jump in the 15k in Jacksonville in a little less than a month, it was a last minute decision and I've never raced over 10k before, so we'll see how it goes. It'll be a PR by default though. I'm way excited.
I hope everyone had a swell Valentines Day.