Author Topic: Race reports: Disappointing summer  (Read 3335 times)

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Offline Ryan

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Race reports: Disappointing summer
« on: September 27, 2011, 09:29:08 AM »

I think I left off with race reports after a successful beginning to the year at Walleye Run and a very disappointing second showing at Fish Day. Picking it up from there, I've had a few races since then, though nothing I've been all that excited to write about.


Hank Aaron 5K: Made a few changes after Fish Day, trying to correct my course. Went in feeling like I could get myself back on track. Still, I knew I wasn't in great shape. My plan was to get out in the 5:30s, then try to ramp up from there. I hit the mile at about 5:50, tried my hardest to pick it up after hearing that split but just didn't have anything. I hit rock bottom with an 18:50. As far as I can recall, my slowest 5K since high school, which means 15+ years ago.


Jamie Block UW-Stout Alumni Meet (4 mile cross country): Corrected a few things again but had a relatively short turnaround to this meet. Essentially, I dropped my volume and attempted to go with what I had to bring myself to whatever peak I could get. First mile is easily the fastest on this course, hit that in 5:38, feeling pretty good about things. This was easily faster than any miles I put up at Fish Day or Hank Aaron. Faded from there a bit but that's not unexpected given the course. Finished better than the previous two races to finish second among the alumni from the era I ran in with a 24:20 (times are always deceptive here - a slow course).


Al's Run 8K: I know that my pace at Al's Run is typically very similar to my pace at the alumni meet. Still, I believed I could go under 30 minutes. Even in a bad race, like last year, I still go under 30 minutes at Al's Run. I always do. Started out at about 5:50, running with Double for most of the first mile. He pulled away and I could just feel I had nothing to respond with. Ted Shue came up on me in mile 2 and I fought my hardest to stay with him. I did for a while but eventually couldn't any more. Shortly after, new HillRunner.com teammate Tim came up on me and I ran with him to the corner at the 3 mile mark. That's where I always drop the hammer. I did my best to do the same this time and did manage to get going some. Passed a couple of guys in mile 4, fought my hardest through the final mile. Finished in 30:27. Pretty much in line with my result from the alumni meet, not what I wanted but ran the best race I could given my current fitness level for two races in a row.


For the last two races, I'm calling them good races off bad training. I can't say either was a bad race. I ran tactically smart races, given the layout of the courses, in each race. I ran as hard as I could and finished with nothing left. I did all I could on race day. I just didn't do what I should have been doing in training, something I knew since January. Maybe I just needed this year as a break from the routine. It has been 21 years of competitive running for me with very few breaks in there.


I also think the changes I made after Hank Aaron were the right changes. With only a month to Al's Run and a couple weeks to the alumni meet, I had to do what I could to bring myself to a quick peak. Now, though, I have a little more time before my next race and I'm essentially starting over.


Starting the day after Al's Run, I made more training adjustments. I'm going to try to pound myself into respectable shape for a late October 5K. I've broken 17 minutes in a 5K at least once every year since 1996 (didn't run a 5K in 1995, best of 17:06 in 1994). It's an incredibly tall order given where I am now but I want to take a shot at keeping that streak going. I might need more time than late October but I'm going to try. I'm all in for this race and going to do all I can between now and then to go sub-17.

Offline Ed

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Re: Race reports: Disappointing summer
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2011, 12:55:10 PM »
Nice summary Ryan.  I was having a good summer really cranking my times down until the knee issue that kept me from running for three weeks.  I'll be smarter now about that and not let something like that happen again.
 
After my great performance at The Cheeshead Chase an 8K averaging 6:23 per mile I thought sub 30 at Al's was quite possibly in sight.  Then the knee injury.  I was very disappointed in where I ended up versus where I easily could have been - but happy that I ran a very strong PR.  I took just over a week off after Al's to recharge my body and mind.
 
I am refreshed and ready to get after that sub 30 8K performance.  I want to EARN an elite bib for Al's!
Next Goal Race - Al's Run

Offline Andrew A.

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Re: Race reports: Disappointing summer
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2011, 10:35:47 PM »
Interesting, sort of an antithesis to my summer/fall.  I felt like I sorta scraped by on training (though had been more consistent than in the recent past) and seemed to show up to the starting line with better fitness than I had imagined.  However, I did race several courses that I had never raced before.  About a month ago, I aimed to end my season at the Rocky Mountain Shootout and take a couple weeks' break.  This past weekend, though, I changed my mind and started my break on Sunday.  I have had a minor issue or two that thankfully never became too significant and am now glad to rest and let them heal.  Hope you get that sub-17!
Why dink around? Go for it, be the best. It is worth whatever risk there is even if you fall short. You will be better.
‎"There is no such thing as an overachiever. We are all underachievers to varying degrees." - John Wooden.

Offline Ryan

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Re: Race reports: Disappointing summer
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2011, 06:21:48 AM »
Andrew, good job on handling the less than ideal training well. I honestly thought I was on that kind of path after my first race this year. I outperformed my expectations and I think I let that get to my head. I convinced myself that I was better off than I really was and got a bit greedy, which set off a chain of events.

I recall about a year ago I believe hearing Steve Magness talk about why he, someone who is a coach, would need a coach himself. He made the point that, even if you know training philosophy and how to apply it, it can still be hard to take an outside perspective of your own running. I can see that very clearly now. In retrospect, if someone I was working with was where I was in June, I would have stressed the importance of sticking with the plan and not getting too far ahead of oneself. In fact, if you ask Ed, I was constantly warning him against getting in over his head, even as I was letting myself get in over my head in much the same way as I was warning him against. It's just hard to see that in yourself sometimes. Believe me, though, I won't easily fall into this trap again. I'm going to be very cautious in the future about falling into the trap I fell into this summer.

Offline Ed

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Re: Race reports: Disappointing summer
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2011, 06:35:08 AM »
Ryan, you did a very good job with keeping my mind in its proper place.  You let me focus on my lofty goal yet I was never disappointed in each performance in and of themselves.  It was becuase you kept things in perspective for me.  I was disappointed in that I did not reach that lofty goal - but there were mitigating circumstances involved there.
I am so looking forward to the next racing season.  In fact, I am sort of picking out a race for April, May, June, July, August and September.
Next Goal Race - Al's Run

Offline Andrew A.

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Re: Race reports: Disappointing summer
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2011, 09:59:21 AM »
Andrew, good job on handling the less than ideal training well. I honestly thought I was on that kind of path after my first race this year. I outperformed my expectations and I think I let that get to my head. I convinced myself that I was better off than I really was and got a bit greedy, which set off a chain of events.
Well, I am unsure that it was necessarily less than ideal training - perhaps less than optimal (or is there no difference?) - though I am certain that I did not run faster due to the fact that I could have done more.  Anymore, I see the merit in being at least slightly undertrained.  I often see guys overtraining in my training group and they will often have great, hard runs on Wednesdays and then puzzle over why they cannot run faster on Saturdays and Sundays.  I also never wore a watch and never knew my splits in my races.
Why dink around? Go for it, be the best. It is worth whatever risk there is even if you fall short. You will be better.
‎"There is no such thing as an overachiever. We are all underachievers to varying degrees." - John Wooden.

Offline Ryan

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Re: Race reports: Disappointing summer
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2011, 11:47:59 AM »
The way I intended less than ideal, I'd say less than optimal is the same.

Agree fully on the overtraining/undertraining thing. I think of it how a former coach of mine always talked about not overtraining to the point of injury. It does you no good to be the fittest guy at the race if you're watching from the sideline. Unfortunately for me, I was far into the undertrained region and I let that unexpectedly good result to start the season cloud my judgement.

Offline ksrunner

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Re: Race reports: Disappointing summer
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2011, 01:47:21 PM »
Thanks for the reports, Ryan.

That is a lot of competitive running that you've done and a nice sub-17 5K streak. Good luck with keeping it alive. I also appreciated the thoughts about how it is easy to lose objectivity when coaching yourself. I seriously considered getting a coach about a month ago, but decided that I hadn't made enough of an effort to coach myself and chose to put off the decision for a year.

I wonder if my attitude toward my early/mid-summer racing was more negative because of an especially good race in April. Though my times this summer were better than last year (except at one race where they reversed the course), after the April race, I expected more. I've never thought about how an especially good race might cloud one's perception of subsequent races. In the end, I think that it was a combination of an exceptionally good race and a series of slightly sub-par performances.

On the sub-17 topic, though I did not write any goals down this year, one goal that I thought of was to run more than one sub-17 race this year. I expected that it would come in the natural course of better fitness, but so far, I've only broken 17 at the Labor Day run -- the same course where I did it last year. I have one more opportunity to run under 17 this weekend. The course is not as favorable as the Labor Day 5K where I ran the 16:27 earlier this month, but it should be doable. I expect that I will have to race aggressively from the start in order to have a chance. That's the formula that worked on Labor Day.

We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves.
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Offline Ryan

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Re: Race reports: Disappointing summer
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2011, 03:03:25 PM »
Thanks. It helps to get started early. Started running competitively at 13 and the sub-17 streak technically started just before my 19th birthday.

I don't want to sound like a commercial or anything but I do think I'm gaining a great appreciation of the role and responsibilities of a coach, especially now that I've seen the relationship from both sides. Anyone can pick up a training philosophy and write plans with a little experience and a little study. A big part of that coaching role, which I can really look back to my past and see being done expertly by my past coaches, is ensuring the runner keeps a level head and doesn't stray from the plan, beyond necessary modifications, when something great or something bad happens. It's hard to do that with your own running I think because you're so attached and emotionally invested but, even though a good coach is attached and emotionally invested, a good coach is also able to step back and look at things objectively.

Even if the course is not as favorable, that 16:27 does give you a nice cushion. I do think aggressive racing is the key to a fast 5K. You just don't have time to sit back. Give up too much time early and there just isn't time to make it up.

Offline Andrew A.

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Re: Race reports: Disappointing summer
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2011, 06:05:29 PM »
Lolo Jones had a difficult summer, too (though she has likely faced tougher circumstances).  8)
Why dink around? Go for it, be the best. It is worth whatever risk there is even if you fall short. You will be better.
‎"There is no such thing as an overachiever. We are all underachievers to varying degrees." - John Wooden.

Offline ksrunner

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Re: Race reports: Disappointing summer
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2011, 10:15:23 AM »
Since I posted here about running a 5K with a goal of sub-17, I thought that I would post the update that I got sick and did not run. Someone had shown up sick to work. I had thought when I posted that I was in the clear, but that evening, I started having symptoms and by Saturday there was no way that I could run anywhere near my goal. I'm feeling much better now, but my run home from work this evening will be my first run since I ran home from work after my last post.

It's very frustrating when people come to work sick. I work in IT. My sick co-worker could easily have worked from home. If my team mate from across the aisle comes in sick again, I may work from home myself or go camp out in a small conference room or empty cube for the day.



We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves.
   - Sir Roger Bannister, former athlete

Offline Ed

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Re: Race reports: Disappointing summer
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2011, 11:06:45 AM »
You should let your HR Department know about this issue.  Presenteeism is an issue and can also easily cause higher absenteeism.  This is especially an issue in your case since the co-worker could have worked from home.  It is a tougher situation when one cannot work from home.
Next Goal Race - Al's Run

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