Navigating Races

IMG_0111[1]4 July 2013

This is a pretty famous guy — The Voice of America’s Marathons — Rudy Novotny — doing the announcing at the Hungtington Beach 5K 4th of July Races.  Pretty cool that he does this teeny tiny race (which, he said, had 5000 runners registered today, including the kid runners) among the gigantic races.  He lives someplace in So Cal – although more towards San Diego, I think – this is probably an easy mid-week destination for him.  The first time I did a race in Disneyworld, I was standing all by myself in a corral with a zillion people in the dark at 5:30 AM Florida time (2:30 AM California time) – and this familiar voice came rolling out to us — it was Rudy.  It was so reassuring.  (I’ve since learned he does all the Disney races, but I didn’t know that then.)

Today I did not PR.  (Frownie face.)  Even on a little race it can be enormously helpful to have a navigator. For the last two years I’ve PR-ed my 5K time at this race running with Kelly Boyle-Wilk.  My 5K PR is 34:50.  Today I ran 35:14.7.  (Although for this season, it’s an improvement of :01.3)  I didn’t have partner to keep me running and equally important (to me) to navigate.  I thought about asking for someone to run with me, but I didn’t get around to it.  Lesson learned.  when I’m trying to PR, it’s really helpful to have someone running with me — to navigate as much as anything else.

I have a zillion thoughts about PR-ing and a 3 mile run.  (I have almost no thoughts after a 13 miles run.)  That’s one of my thoughts.  (1)  In a long run, my mind quiets down after the first little while, and I run with an empty brain all the rest of those miles.  In a shorter race, my brain is racing the whole time.  And in THIS race, my brain was talking about whether or not I could do it.  (2)  It’s imperative that I have someone to run in with when I’m trying to PR.  The first two miles I was fine alone.  (Actually the first two miles were GREAT.)  I really, really needed someone to pick me up at the 2 mile marker.  I needed them to force me to keep running when I was tiring.  I “lost” the PR between mile 2.75 and 2.88.  (3)  When I’m running for a PR, I cannot tell what the fuck is going on around me.  I haven’t run this race on my own in the last two years, and I completely miscalculated where I was on the course.  The finish of this race is a left turn — but beyond the turn you can see a hill with people on it.  And you can see that hill a long way out, so it appears you a lot farther away from the finish that you really are.  If you’re not “all there”, you cannot tell where the race ends.  Ignoring the data on my garmin, I was trying to figure out how the hell I was going to run up that will — when the turn to the finish loomed  up suddenly.  (4)  I am a big whiner about hills at the end of every race.  (Even the slightest incline.)  I need someone to tell me there are no more hills (even when there are).

George White (who does not read this blog) TMI coming up.  I was seriously running.  I learned today that girls can pee while they are running if they’re seriously focused on the run.  However EVERYTHING, including your shoes and insoles, has to be washed after the run.

I left right after the race (another reason to run with somebody – they make you be more social if you feel bad about your race).  The clock time made me feel REALLY bad.  Turns out I did better than that, and my splits are respectable.  I was home and showered (and laundry started) by about 9 AM.  I feel lots better about my effort than I did at the race.  And, I’m going to have to find another flat 5K to run with a buddy.


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