Saturday, April 29, 2006

I won!

I won my race today. I can't remember the last time I won a race. I know I won a cross country race at Dover in high school, and I won the Fun Run in Deer Isle when I was 12, and I'm not sure if that was the last time. In any case, I did so today, which was nice.

Tactically, I ran a pretty good race. I wanted to run 98 seconds per lap, which would be 20:30 (11 seconds faster than last week) for the whole thing. I started the race in second-to-last place, which is what I always do, because races always go out too fast. My first lap was 96, so it was good I was second to last and not anything ahead of that.

The second lap I stayed in second-to-last place, because the people I was running with seemed to be going a pretty good pace for me. The lap was 99, which was fine, so I stayed with them. On the third lap, though, the pace seemed to be lagging, and when I went by Dusty he didn't even give me my split, but just said something like "come on now, make a move."

So at the beginning of the fourth lap, I surged and passed three people right in a row. The third one passed me right back, which was weird -- who does that? -- so I waited a few meters and then passed her again, thoroughly this time. That lap was faster, 97 or so.

Now I was running directly behind three girls from Union college. About 30 meters ahead of us was another girl from Union college and one from Vassar. The Vassar girl had gone out in the lead, with the Union girl close behind, but they were fading slowly and the four of us were gaining on them.

I ran a few laps with the Union girls, and eventually just ran up between them and, weirdly, they moved over and I just passed them right in the middle of their pack, rather than having to run all the way out around them as I expected I would. Two of them dropped back, but one of them stayed right behind me. At one point I think she tried to pass me, but I moved out in the lane so as to make it a bit more difficult, and apparently that was enough deterrant.

I caught up to the two frontrunners with the Union girl (Janie) right behind me, and picked off the Vassar girl and then the other Union girl (Casey). Janie stayed with me, but the Vassar girl dropped back, so that it was just Casey and Katie and me with about three laps to go. At this point Casey dropped back a bit so that it was just Janie and me.

I will interrupt this thrilling narrative to explain one thing. Now usually, in most sports, you don't know the names of your competitors, unless you're one of those people who obsessively memorizes the identities of everyone on the other teams. But when you run a long race, say anything over a mile, you get to know the names of the people you're running against because you hear people shouting at them all the time.

In the case of Union, they had two coaches who were shouting at them. One of the coaches just said their names and some encouraging statements, but the other one was more distinctive. Every time we rounded the end of the curve 100 meters after the finish line, he would tell Janie that she had "heart." "You've got heart, Janie, that's what you've got!" Apparently she had more "heart" than I did, and this was going to be the deciding factor in the race. He also shouted with two laps to go, "you've got more left than she does!" referring to me. But he was wrong.

I ran the last full lap in 91 seconds, putting about 20 meters between me and Janie. For some comparison, my average pace for the whole race was about 6:32 per mile, and that lap was at a pace of 6:04 per mile. So it was a lot faster. And in the last 200 meters, I ran on my toes, so that last 200 was pretty fast.

Now, in the results, it has me getting second.
Women 5000 Meter Run
Name Year School Seed Finals
1 Buchsbaum, Nilly Vassar 18:32.00 19:22.47
2 Davis, Diana Williams 20:30.00 20:29.49
3 Wolkowicz, Jane Union 20:30.00 20:47.11
4 Kohut, Casey Union 21:50.00 20:56.77
5 Bertasso, Karen Union 21:50.00 21:14.57
6 Jackson, Ashleigh Colb- Sawyer 20:58.00 21:26.12
7 Palaudi, Jen Union 21:00.00 21:30.27
8 Leister, Hollie Rpi 21:35.25
9 Thomas, Dana Vassar 20:45.00 21:36.06
10 Mafrici, Steph Rpi 23:10.06
-- Shah, Lisetta Williams 20:45.00 DNF
I am not so sure that this is true, though I have no idea how the results could be wrong. After about three laps I surveyed the runners ahead and determined that I had a chance at winning, seeing only the Vassar girl (the one I passed) and the Union girl ahead. The only explanation that would make sense is that the Vassar girl was one lap ahead when I passed her, so that although I seemed ahead of her, I was actually behind. However, this would require her to have lapped me first, which did not occur, since no one passed me the whole race except the girl who passed me back in the beginning as I explained. Alternatively, they could have clocked her as finished after 6.5 laps, but that also seems unlikely. Thus, I have no good explanation for this odd thing in the results.

Of course, it's not that awesome to win a slow race. You can look at the seed times and see that the whole field was very slow, with the exception of the girl from Vassar. But it's much better to win a slow race than to lose one, and that is what I did.


Anonymous said...

Great job on the run.
(we were in Biloxi together)

Diana said...

Virginia! I remember you and your daughter very well. How did you find this? By the way, as a Williams alum, you might enjoy EphBlog, a Williams alumni blog.