Saturday, May 1, 2010

Payton Jordan Invitational 10k

AM: 3 miles
PM: 2 mile w/u + strides
10k race @34:38 (17:10, 17:28 5k splits)
2 mile c/d
Total: 10 miles

I went out hard from the gun. Maybe a little too hard, but I wanted to try to latch onto a group if at all possible. I went through the first mile in 5:22 and was just off the back of a group of half a dozen. I kept telling myself they would relax and come back to me before the end of the second mile, but they never did. At the time I thought it was because they were speeding up, but in reality I was probably slowing down. There was no one for me to run with at this point except for a girl from Adams State who had gone out at about the same pace. I fell in with her during the second mile and would end up running with her for the rest of the race. Needless to say, we were at the back.

I was lapped by Molly Huddle just before 5k, which I passed through in 17:10. To be honest, this was slightly slower than I'd planned to come through in, but I felt terrible. I thought I'd feel very relaxed at this point, like last time, but I was anything but. This was when I realized without a doubt that I would not hit my goal for the race. It was also the first time--but certainly not the last--I considered dropping out. I would toy with that notion for the majority of the next two miles, contemplating creative ways to make it look as though I were injured or something rather than just giving up. (In case you were wondering, I'd all but decided to go with staggering around for a few seconds, then passing out on the infield). In the end, I chose to finish for one reason and one reason only, and that is because I knew I would never hear the end of it from Jordan if I dropped. There was no personal pride involved in my decision at all, just self-preservation.

With eight laps to go, I knew I'd slowed down enough that I would not PR. This thought was absolutely incredulous to me. In all the scenarios I'd run through my mind prior to the race, it had honestly never occurred to me that I might actually run slower than last time. At this point I just wanted to get the rest of the stupid race over with. There were no competitive instincts, no tactics like the last time I'd run, just a sense of grim resignation.

Tanya lapped me with a few laps to go, herself en route to a huge PR. Her finishing time of 33:09 would end up being less than four seconds off of the D2 all-time national record. It was a tremendous achievement. As for myself, I shuffled home--still within a second of the Adams girl, as I'd been for the entire race--in 34:38, exactly one second slower than the last time. I'd positive split the race like it was my job, and finished last save for one Auburn girl who was even off the back of us from the beginning. It was not my finest hour.

Nor was the temper tantrum I threw afterward. I was sullen during the cooldown, indifferent when Chris Solinsky set the American record in the 10k, and less than cordial when texting with Jordan and Jenna. At one point I decided I wanted to walk the two miles from the track to motel, so I set off into the night by myself. I made it about halfway when Tanya's parents rolled up and forced me to get in their van, but I wasn't happy about it. I've since had time to reflect and appraise the race more judiciously, but at the time I was angry and embarrassed. This was not the plan. This wasn't even worth coming all the way out here for, to be honest. Five weeks ago I was absolutely elated to run this time. Tonight I expected more from myself.