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48th Annual Ocean Beach/John and Jessie Kelley Road Race: Race recap


What… happened to me today?

It was low 70’s with good humidity. I was hydrated, and the course had it’s customary five zillion water stops. For every water stop there were at least 1-2 residents who were out hosing down the runners. It melts my heart, how many people come out to volunteer for this.

And so, I’m trying to figure out where I went wrong and managed to have such a sub-par run.

Was it the blood work I got done yesterday? The lady took four vials. Can that affect things? Somehow I doubt it.

Was it my hitchin’ hammy, tying up my turnover? It felt good for the first mile, and then kicked in with a hitch that turned into an ache that turned into an ache-plus. So while it squeezed the brakes on my stride, it was never debilitating or unreasonably painful, although it does feel very sore now.

Was it my super erratic splits? I went out in 6:57. I’ve never even had a 10K first mile that went out this fast. Granted, the mile markers are suspect. But even so — what was I doing?

Was it the general slowness and fatigue I’ve been feeling lately? Maybe I’m just being a big pansy this summer. In any case, I think it’s time to press “reset” and take a week off.

In 2008, I ran this race in 1:27:03 (7:30 pace)

In 2009, I ran this race in 1:23:09 (7:10 pace)

This year, today, in 2010, I ran it in 1:25:20 (7:21 pace)

What? The. Heck? In the past ten months, I’ve run a 16 mile training run at 7:27 pace. I’ve also run a 15K race at 6:44 pace.

So… what… happened today?

I guess you can’t have a PR every day, and I didn’t have any great expectations or hopes riding on this race aside from the fact that it might be awhile before I get a chance to race again… but somehow, after obliterating my 10K PR in June by 65 seconds, I expected to eke out a similar improvement here over last year’s performance. I was thoroughly annoyed to be beaten by several people who I’d beaten handily at the 10K.

The weirdest part was, when I finished, I felt sick, the kind of wooziness I more commonly associate with running really hard and having an excellent race. I definitely did not have an excellent race, and I feel silly for putting my hamstring through it.

On the other hand, it could have been worse. I still beat my 2008 time, which is okay, and I can still walk, which is nice.

Let’s look at some more positives:

  1. This race is free. I love free things. Hence, I love this race.
  2. This race is 11.6 miles long. No one else cares how fast I ran 11.6 miles.
  3. Apparently everyone else was taking the day off, so I came in 2nd in the 20-29 female age group — behind the overall women’s winner. The prize pack included a $10 gift certificate to Kelley’s Pace — the same store I’ll be purchasing shoes from in a few days. Awesome.
  4. I got to catch up with some friends/former high school XC teammates I haven’t seen in a while. One is training for her first marathon, and ran today even though she’d been sick all week. The other is superfast, and came in third even though this is surely just some easy training run for him. His girlfriend is also superfast, and won the women’s race for the second year in a row. They are my runspirations.  

Final thoughts:

For the past year, I’ve been running semi-seriously and mostly continuously for the first time in my life, so I’m passing the point where I just magically PR at every distance. This is frustrating, but probably normal. I have to remember not to judge myself as a runner based solely on my most recent performance, especially if that performance wasn’t great.

Also? I have a lot – A LOT – to learn about running. Race performance can be a very cyclical thing. The process of controlling factors that unite to give me a good performance is still such a mystery to me.

How do you get over a sub-par performance? Is it ever easy for you to identify the factors that helped you have a bad day?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. jbf permalink
    08/07/2010 15:30

    I could have been the blood. I don’t know how much four vials is, because they vary in size, but I wouldn’t overlook it. Although you’re probably more versed in this area than I am, so I could be wrong. Or maybe it was unseasonably warm this year.

    Or maybe it was just a bad race. I hear they happen to everyone.

    • 08/10/2010 19:46

      They definitely do. I’m calling it an aberration and moving on with my life. After my rest week.

  2. 08/09/2010 11:39

    BALLS! I get over a bad race by drinking a lot and whining about it on the blog — misery loves company and all that.

    I’m so underqualified to give any guidance/advice whatsoever but in my case, it’s always a combination of several things going wrong.

    Or maybe your body was just randomly depleted of some obscure mineral or nutrient– next time, take more vitamin X.

    • 08/10/2010 19:42

      BALLS! I stopped taking my Vitamin X after the side label warned I might experience morphing into Wolverine.

      Really though, you are probably right. My bod tends toward having occasional vitamin deficiency hissyfits. Uninteresting story for another day.

  3. 08/09/2010 15:00

    Yes, I think it could have been a combo of all those reasons. Even if your hamstring wasn’t bad, I’m sure it contributed mentally.

  4. Murdoch permalink
    08/09/2010 21:17

    I wouldn’t worry about it too much, I think the heat had more of an affect on people than they probably think. It was a nice day to run but a nice day in August is still probably 30 degrees over good distance weather. It was nice to see you and Meghan there! Too bad Johnny B. was too busy getting ready to pwn some people in the Tri the next day to come be part of the ELXC reunion.

    • 08/10/2010 19:37

      Speaking of which, I didn’t see a single thing about the tri in the paper. I was hoping for a huge pic of JB celebrating his course record. Guess The Day spent all their weekend endurance events photo coverage on you guys instead!

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