Tuesday, August 30, 2016

"That's as Good as I Am" - 5K RR

After her Olympic Marathon, where she finished 7th in 2:26:08, Desi Linden was asked about her race. She finished with:

“I thought I ran really well, she said, later adding, “I put everything out there. I’m not upset at all. I wish I were a little bit better. I wish I would have been closer. But we went all in. And that’s as good as I am.”

I loved that. She is such a good racer, and has a great attitude. She does her best, and doesn't let the lack of a medal get her down. It reminded me of how I felt after my 20:10 5K in Anaheim in May. I wanted sub-20. I worked really hard for it, but I came up short. But I still felt good. because I gave 100% effort, and at the end of the day, "that's as good as I am". Afterward I didn't have the burning need to get those eleven extra seconds. I just felt good.

Since then I've been pointing toward one more 5K on a fast course, and another chance for sub-20. Training has gone pretty well, but I didn't feel like I had gotten significantly faster. I knew it would take another supreme effort to run that fast again, and part of me feared the pain. Because it really hurt. I just went in planning to do my best, aim for 6:25 pace, and hope I had it in me.

It was a bit warm. 60's, but the sun was out on this shade-free course. I felt pretty sluggish on the 1.5 mile warmup. The crowd was sparse, so I figured to medal in my AG. There was a 10K as well which drew some of the better runners. Only a handful of my running group friends were there. I started with my RB Eva, who I often run with in training. She normally beats me in speed work, but I managed to beat her in a 5K earlier, and also beat her in the 1-mile. She tends to go out too fast and fade.

As we started, Eva was good and stayed with me at about 6:30 pace.
After about 1/2 a mile she started to pull away and I told her "Good job. Now go get it". I was feeling it was fast enough for me, so I let her go. There were two women ahead of her at the time. But she ate them up in the next 1/2 mile and went on to be first woman finisher. I never caught her.

I was settling in at 6:35ish pace and before mile 1, I had already mentally given up on sub-20. This was as hard as I thought I could maintain. Actually I wasn't sure I could maintain this. But I was working. Hard. I passed several people and was about tenth place at mile 1 in 6:36.

Mile two was dead straight and mostly flat. I just had to hammer as fast as I could. But I couldn't get the pace to drop. 2nd woman passed me here, and I tried to hang on to her for a while.
But the pain was showing.
This shows the course. It is next to LAX. The area on the left used to be a neighborhood that got torn out when the airport expanded 40 years ago. On the right is the beach. We headed to that oasis you can see on the right, and then had a nice little downhill to get to the beach road, which was the last 3/4 mile back to the finish.
As I got to mile two a guy passed me. Looked like he might be in my age group, so I hung on to him too. Mile two was 6:38. Sub-20 was gone, but a nice fast last mile could still get me a good time. Of course I was dying by now, but you know, racing.

On the downhill, I went by both old guy and 2nd woman and tried to maintain the momentum into that last long straightaway. The lactic acid was piling up in my legs and my shoulders. I started to lose form. Mile 3 pace was under 6:30 after the hill, but I was starting to fade. Just needed to get to the finish. I saw Eva ahead of me starting to come back, but I didn't have enough time to catch her. My body just wanted to quit, but I could see the finish. I just told it we would be there soon and it would all be over. Just hang on! I still wanted a good time, and I wanted to stay in front of the guy I could still hear behind me! So I kept the hammer down.
I pulled away and felt safe, but then some other guy came by fast. And he looked to be my age too! I couldn't stay with him, but he helped me push the last 1/4 mile. Luckily he was a bandit and pulled off before the finish.

Finally the finish arrived and I kicked with what I had left and then I could commence the pain withdrawal. Mile 3 was 6:37, and I ended up with 20:27. Somehow I was 5th overall, 4th male and 1st AG. Turned out the guy behind me was in his 40's anyway. Once I could breathe normally again the world looked a lot rosier!
I was plenty happy with that race. I gave as much as I could, and left nothing on the table. That's as good as I am on this day. And that's a good place to be.

DW was there taking pics and we relaxed at the beach where there were surfers and dolphins.

Decided to do a little photo shoot. A BP for old-time's sake.
Life is good.

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