Monday, May 28, 2007

Digging deep into the well

I ran 49 minutes in the Bolder/Boulder 10K Memorial Day race, or about a minute slower than what I wanted.
But that's OK. No one runs their best race at the Bolder/Boulder.
And my well of strength and reserve that I usually pull on to get me through the hard parts wasn't there as much as I needed today.
There were two reasons for this. One is what everyone faces: The Bolder/Boulder is a damn hard course, with hills piled upon hills, and the last two miles, a flat, downhill paradise compared to the middle three miles, ends with a steep, oh-my-God, quarter-mile hill that drains any hope you may have of finishing super strong.
After a while, facing that many hills, the well simply runs dry, no matter how hard you've trained.
The second reason is actually two reasons.
Allie, or lil' Miss Priss, as I have come to call her, decided that she would rather be awake and held from 9:30 p.m. until, oh, 1 a.m. last night. Then Andie took over for the rest of the night.
Ah, the joy of twins.
Kate, God Bless her, tried to do as much as she could, and Mom, who is here for a month, mopped up the rest, but it was still almost impossible to sleep. I slept, maybe, three hours before my biggest race of the year.
I hoped it would not affect my performance, but alas, as I charged up yet another hill, my legs felt as if they were wading in maple syrup. The hills had something to do with that. Not sleeping, I'm sure, had a lot to do with it.
A 10K is not a marathon like the 2007 World Series of Poker Main Event. It is not a 5K, either, like a turbo SnG. It's a race where you have to run hard for an hour. You're not running quite as hard as you would in a 5K, so you're not close to puking. And you're not running the distance that you do in a marathon or a half marathon, so you don't really suffer from exhausation. But you do get tired. And you do breath hard the whole race. Damn hard at times, especially when you're climbing those hills.
It's the perfect combination of speed and strength, and if the strength isn't there, the speed suffers a bit.
I found myself not caring a bit, a bad sign, around mile 4, as I huffed and puffed up another climb. That's when I knew the sleep, or lack of it, to be more precise, would hurt me more than I wanted.
I was able to attack the downhills and remain steady/fast on the straightaways, but I wasn't able to charge up the hills as much as I wanted.
Yet I still had a good race. Running 49 minutes still means I ran around a 7:50-per-mile pace. At altitude and over a tough course, that's pretty good. That got me somewhere in the top 3,500 out of 48,000 people entered. And I had a great time. It was nice to decompress these last wild two weeks.
But I do wonder if these little girls, along with the continued demand of Jayden, will ever prevent me from becoming an elite runner.
Then again, in the last half-mile, knowing that the race's toughest hill awaited, I was nearly spent. I wondered where I would find the strength to finish.
And I looked down at my bib and saw Jayden's face and the mugs of the two little girls who became a part of my life last week.
Those girls cost me in today's race.
I suppose it's only fair, then, that near the end, looking at their faces gave me the strength I needed to bring it home.


slb159 said...

Since you're a mountain climber, I think you should have named them "Angelina" and "Andie".

Then you could have referred to them as "The Andes" ;)

Best of luck with the new world of wonders...and at the tables.

slb159 said...

Make that "Andelina" and "Andie"...whooops.

Gydyon said...

I hear ya -- our two take turns at that late evening neediness. Keep strong!