Monday, December 7, 2009

Racing With a Purpose (Race Recap)

There are many different reasons to pursue during a race. I was thinking about this as I headed south for my 5K this past weekend. I was looking forward to running the OUC 5K because the weather was expected to be better than in Lansing-which did get some snow after all. However, running in ‘better’ weather was not the driving purpose to running outside of the Lansing area.

I’ve only been on a ‘maintenance program’ with my running, with one to two short runs and a long run of 8 to 12 miles every weekend. So, I wasn’t in peak racing shape, or even great training shape. Therefore, a PR was really unlikely. One aspect of my running that I enjoy is that I don’t feel compelled to PR every time I toe the line for a 5K. Therefore, my purpose was not to PR before the end of the year. I had a greater purpose this weekend.

And yet, the purpose of this 5K was more than a ‘just go out there and have fun’ attitude. I wanted to run hard; and I’m never opposed to any bling I may earn. However, my purpose in running this race was a greater than getting some extra bling.

Also, I just recently received, as an early present (thanks Santa), a new Garmin. The 405 should be pretty cool, and this would be my first opportunity to test out my new toy. Alas, the first road testing of a new Garmin failed to be my primary purpose this race.

Moreover, I had agreed to act as a ‘final .5M’ pacer; meaning I would double back after my race and help to motivate and encourage through the final and difficult last leg of the race. And I can tell you from previous experience, being a pacer for a friend is a great honor and tremendously enjoyable—even if they are tired and less than enthusiastic about your enthusiasm. While being a cheer pacer is excellent, it wasn’t my true purpose for this race.

As for the race itself, I started off trailing the lead pack. This put me and about five others in the second tier of runners for this race. For the first mile I led the second pack, but slowed a bit when the course went from concrete to brick. My first foot-strike on the bricks made my plantar fasciitis scream. And shortly thereafter I was passed by two runners.

I tried to stick with them, but they seemed to have something that second mile that I didn’t. It killed me a little to watch them pull away. Also, because I was running a new course, I didn’t have a solid idea of where I really was or how much remained in the race.

As I rounded a corner I noted a significant straightaway, and during this stretch I realized that the two runners I had passed had not only ceased to distance themselves from me, but that I had gained about 10 feet on them.

I began to summon my inner motivational voice: “Run faster you loser!” The long straightaway rounded into the final stretch. I furiously picked up speed. As the runner in front of me gained on his opponent, I was gaining on them both. About 30 meters from the finish I managed to pass both runners—but not without a valiant effort and attempted re-surge by one of the two runners to withstand my pass.

Immediately after finishing I spun around and jogged back down the course to meet up and begin my home-stretch pacer responsibilities. And, when that was done, I performed the primary purpose which had brought me to this specific race.

11 comments:

GeorgiaSnail said...

Late Fall/Early Winter trips to Florida are always fun...

Morgan said...

I think you fulfilled your primary purpose most excellent. <3

Katie A. said...

Awesome race and recap! And to think I thought your primary purpose was to just get out of Lansing? Sheesh! Congrats!

Viper said...

Is this schmoopiness going to bleed over here too?

Ms. V. said...

My Garmy just got here!!! Great race recap!

Teamarcia said...

Congrats on a great race! Looks like I'll be seeing you in Boston!

Adam said...

Nice work. Pacing people is REALLY fun. Getting out of your back yard is even more fun.

Irish Cream said...

Schmoopy, schmoopy, schmoopy! As I told the Redhead, I am just glad I don't have to pretend like I don't know anymore . . . :)

When she told me the guy she was seeing was a super speedy runner who lives on a diet of pop-tarts and taco bell, it was a DEAD giveaway ;)

The Enthusiast said...

I like schmoopy.

Xenia said...

Ah....schmoopy. Congrats to you and Morgan.

X-Country2 said...

I like you much much more now that I know you're dating Morgan. :o)