Thursday, April 28, 2011

Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best!

Limestone 5km 2010

I am running in the Limestone 5km this Sunday. I have no idea what to expect as I have had some injury issues of late which have just resolved themselves this past weekend. I had a great training season through the winter and a few good training runs this spring but not nearly enough of them for me to feel confident about racing this Sunday. I know my mind is strong but I am not so sure if my body is willing so I need to put aside my grandiose dislussions and accept the hand that reality has dealt me. What the F&%K does that mean? It means I can't bluff my way through this race and go out as though I am going to run a 20 minute 5km without some consequences. I have to go out as though I am going to run a 22:30 5km which is 34 seconds slower then last years time. If feeling good at 3 km then I will have a good 2ks remaining to pickup the pace and makeup lost time. The first 3km of this race will probably be and historically has been run into the wind. It will be during the last 2km that I will be able to test the legs and the heart to see what I have left inside.

It was two years ago during this race when I was challenged at the 3km mark by a fellow masters runner. As she passed my shoulder I had to decide to let her go or go with her. It took me a few strides but something inside me told me to catch her and I did. Since that race I have found myself at that very spot on that same road hoping that no one would challenge me the way Stacey did. I just hope I don't feel that way this year and if I can go out at my intended pace than I should be in a good place to answer any challengers. That is what I am calling the "Best Case Scenario".

I am however also preparing for the "Worst Case Scenario". That scenario would have me hitting 1 km at 4:15 or faster and feeling my legs get heavy along with my breaths and my heart. I will probably look to the side of the road for a place to quit without being too conspicuous about it. If I get thinking about quitting then I will immediately give myself  1 minute to recover by slowing down considerably. I will breathe through my nose and wait for the oxygenated blood to return to my brain. Then I will restart the race again in my mind and see if I can arrive at my magic 3km mark ready to race the unfortunate soul who attempts to pass me. OK that is not exactly the "Worst Case Scenario". The worst case would be arriving at the magic 3km point and still be looking to the sidelines for a place to stop and lie down, letting runners pass me by unchallenged and feeling really bad about it but not able to do anything to stop it. If that is the way it plays out then I will resort to thinking about my form. Taking my mind off of the race and just thinking about putting one foot in front of the other will be my fall back, "Worst Case Scenario" plan. If it all comes to that then the last 2 km will seem like an eternity and crossing the finish line looking at the timer will undoubtedly be a hard pill to swallow. Unfortunately it will be a bitter dose of necessary medicine because getting this race under my belt should have me in a better place to train hard for my goal race on June 25th.

I hope to avoid the "Worst Case Senerio" at all cost but I am none the less prepared for it. Let the games begin.


Sara Montgomery said...

Best of luck this weekend, EJ!

My attitude coming back from injury: going into a race I tell myself that I'm going to do the best I can on the day. Simple to remember, somewhat empowering, and it takes the pressure off because I know I can do that.

However, since you haven't been out very long, you can consider it a nice taper and pop a stellar time!

Hope the wind behaves. Sending you good vibes.

Eliza Ralph-Murphy said...

The Weatherman(Derrick) is calling for very little wind Sunday which would be a very nice change.

I hope I "POP" at 3km but if I fizzle I will as you say, "do the best I can on the day".

slowrunner said...

gee, i would like to be able to run a THIRTY minute 5k! my thought is that you should be happy to be running injury free and just go with the day. it is what it is!
good luck and have fun !!

Eliza Ralph-Murphy said...

I know I do tend to take it all a bit too seriously and if I'm going to have fun at a race this might just be the one to do it at. I may even leave my Garmin at home; )