Thursday, March 18, 2010

Adventures in Jacksonville

Well the 15k Champs stated a few posts down. On the plus side of things, it was a great course, we had a great crew, Richard Fannin and co. did a fabulous job with the organization of everything, conditions were pretty good on race-day, no glitches in travel aside from a slightly delayed flight on Air Transvestite (as Paul refers to it) getting there, the spectators at the course were great, we had a lot of fun, I met like a million famous people, and of those Leanne who works for USATF is arguably the coolest lady in the history of Ever, and how many people can really say they've met the coolest lady in the history of Ever?

The race itself on the other hand was a bit of a wash. Summary: I was pretty nervous going into it (what else is new?) and kicked around till about 2 a.m. the night before, got up at 4:45 and did a shake-out with Adrian and Nicole at 5 and force-fed myself a banana, then we took the ferry to the course. Warmed up and such, I got lost on the way to the starting line with Colleen De Reuck and Sara Slattery (we were in the bathroom line when they took everyone to the line), got there, gun went off, and I pretty much fell of pace somewhere around the 5k (I really don't remember where), passed the 5k in like 18:40-something and remember thinking that sure felt dadgum difficult for not being too quick. But I dismissed that thought pretty fast (negative thoughts in a race are a no-no) and I just tried to break the race up in my head into 5k segments but by this time was getting passed by some gals who were initially behind me as well as some of the leading guys who started 5 minutes after us. Since there were groups passing me then I tried to go with some of them and tried to stick with Adrian when she passed, but to no avail. I told myself not to panic because there were a couple really good hills coming up where we go over the bridges and I'm generally stronger on hills than on flats, so I figured I'd catch plenty there. That didn't happen either and instead I pretty much got owned. That basically sums it up. Since it was my first 15k though, at least I can say I ran a PR--however ugly it might have been. Maybe I forgot to pack my Mojo.

At any rate I got a lot out of the experience. Getting to be around the Most Elite of the Elite in the running world, I got to see what they do. If anything else I figured out that the "Little Things" that you do outside of running get to matter as much as the training itself once you are at a higher level. Once you get there, EVERYONE is just as dedicated to running (and just running is the easy part) and EVERYONE wants to be good. Just plain doing the work and being committed isn't quite enough, everyone's doing that. So basically you have to live it all the time--they're all really careful about what they eat and doing all the seemingly tedious things in addition to training (the drills, the strides, the core work, etc.) and those things add up HUGE over years of training and ultimately separate the Good from the Really Good, so I gotta focus on those things more than I have been and make some training adjustments in the process. I mean okay they all cut really loose at the after-party but you get where I'm coming from.

Okay this is getting waaaaaay too long. Great job to everyone who competed around the state at all the various St.Patty's Day races--hopefully no one drank too much green beer. And of course thanks to the guys and gals (Adrian, Nicole, Jason, Greg, Paul, and I guess Tommy) who went out to Jax for making it a fun trip. Never a dull moment.

And special thanks to Dan Browne for unknowingly bearing the brunt of oh so many jokes. He really is a swell guy.

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