Monday, January 24, 2011

Three for three (GBTC mile)

(Results) Yesterday I ran the mile at Harvard, and ran 5:12.24, which improved on my previous best of 5:15.90 set way back in December 2009 at the Alden Invitational. It wasn't as fast as I wanted to run -- I wanted to run five-oh-something -- but it was still a PR.

I used to think that my problem was lack of mental toughness. I would finish a race like the one I ran yesterday, and I would think, "if only I had more mental toughness, then I could have stayed with the girl ahead of me. I could have run faster if only I had pushed myself harder." I shared this outlook with my friend GC one day last summer, after we had completed a morning track workout together. She pointed out that I had just done [such-and-such impressive workout] under [such-and-such difficult conditions], so clearly I was not lacking in mental toughness. I trust GC's judgment, so from that day forward I no longer beat myself up about inadequate mental toughness.

Now I just say, "Didn't run fast enough? All right. Better train harder."

I had wanted to run all of my laps in 38 seconds, for a time of 5:04 (Harvard has a 220-yard track). I had expected that, with the excitement of the race, I would fly through the first three or four laps in 38 without it being too hard. However, that didn't happen; I ran closer to 39s, and when I tried to speed up in the second half of the race and run negative splits and catch the girl ahead of me, I nonetheless slowed down and she got further away. So, I just have to train harder, so that my fitness allows me to run eight 38-second laps in a row.

Me in one of the last laps of the race. Photo thanks to Yvonne.

Before the race, I was a little annoyed because I wanted to be in the invitational section -- "the fast heat" -- but I wasn't chosen. After the race, I saw that my time would have been the slowest time in the section, so it's completely justified that I wasn't in that section. However, the way that race went, it would have been perfect for me: It went out reasonably slowly for the first six laps, so I could have hung on the back end of the strung-out pack, at a perfect pace, for most of the race. In the last two laps, there would have been people right ahead of me, who I could have tried to catch (in my section, the first girl was 9 seconds ahead of me, too far ahead to be a motivator). So it would have been good for me, and I probably would have run a little faster than 5:12.24 -- but I probably would have been last. The moral is: If you want to be chosen for the fast section, you have to run faster.

So far, I have run three races in 2011 and have set PRs in all three. In fact, in every race since Mayor's Cup where I have worn the blue and white NBB uniform, I have run a PR:

Mayor's Cup: 18:50 (5k xc PR)
USATF-NE XC: 22:24 (6k xc PR)
Pie Run: 30:09 (5 mile PR)
Club nats: 22:22 (6k xc PR)
BU open meet: 10:07.56 (3k PR)
BU open meet: 2:24.74 (800m PR)
GBTC invite: 5:12.24 (mile PR)

This can't possibly last, but it's nice to improve. It's nice to keep running the fastest I have ever run. I will just have to keep training hard and see how it goes.

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