After every race, I tend to go over things in my mind and analyze what if anything I could’ve done differently or better to improve my time. But at the end of the day, what does it really matter? I’m not an elite runner and consider myself a weekend warrior when it comes to running, although I do think for the most part I put in some decent results. So even if I had pushed a little harder up that hill and finished a couple minutes faster, I still wouldn’t have been in the money. I probably could benefit from taking a page from Kristy’s perspective on not falling apart in the Garden and just be satisfied with the accomplishment of finishing a good race.
Going into the first leg of the Triple Crown of Running, I had no idea what to expect. My training during the previous couple weeks leading up to the Garden of the Gods 10-Mile Run was less than ideal. The many aches and pains continued to nag away at me and I was feeling very good with my progress. I had one of my slowest training runs in the Garden on Tuesday morning prior to the race. Not a real confidence builder. Although the leaders made it look effortless, for me the Garden is a tough course even on a good day. Trying to tackle it when you are not at your best is out right discouraging.
I pressed on through the week and tried not to dwell on the negative, but the thought of a terrible race was always present in the back of my mind. I took Friday off as a rest day. Then on Saturday, I went down for an easy run at the Garden of the Gods Expo 5K “Fun Run”. As you can see from Tim's posted pre-run photo, I was way out of my league with this bunch! (Thanks for setting me up Tim!) We left the old Ivy Wild school and started down Cheyenne Blvd. I found myself running with Cody Hill from BRC Colorado Springs and Brandon Birdsong from the BRC/Adidas Elite Team (Congratulations on 7th overall Brandon!). To say I was a bit intimidated running with these guys is an understatement. Luckily on Saturday, they were nice enough to run at my slow pace instead of theirs’. For me, the run was a blessing in disguise. I got to try out the new Adidas Boost on the run and I felt pretty good for the first time all week. And yes, I broke the rule of not running in a new pair of shoes for the first time during a race.....but my my knees were grateful!
Race morning arrived with all the pre-race anxieties. I did try to convince myself that I would be satisfied with whatever results was achieved, but deep down I knew I would not be unless I went under 1 hour 20 minutes. For the most part, the race went well. A couple of the hills felt like I had never run them before and my left hamstring cramped up with ½-mile to go (really?!). I crossed the finish line and had no idea of my finish time. I looked at the 5K clock on the right and knew that wasn’t right! My friend asked how I did, and I seriously didn’t know because I intentionally didn’t wear a watch to time myself this race, because I didn’t really know what to expect and didn’t want it to ruin my day. When the results got posted, I saw that I had come in under my goal despite feeling like a turtle at times out there. Of course, I did go over the race in my mind and wondered if I could’ve pushed just a little more in places. But at the end of this day it really doesn’t matter. I should be and am satisfied with the fact that I actually felt pretty good physically for the first time in quite a while which is a better result than any time that would show on the clock.
So, I bring it back to echoing Kristy’s perspective on not falling apart and what she did differently going into this race. I have found I’ve run some of my best races when I don’t psych myself out before the race, relax and just take everything in stride.
Thanks to the Triple Crown of Running organizers, all the volunteers, the high school teams that manned the aid stations, the entertainment and sponsors for once again putting on such a great event! And a special thanks to the cheering squad at Ridge Rd! You guys are awesome!