I ran my plan without the result I was looking for.
Today I ran the BC Cross Country Championships. My goal was top 6, I was not close. I do not know where I placed but it was not near the front. I am not happy with this race and once it sinks in I think I will be quite disappointed. I have had some really good workouts this fall so to run a less then stellar race today does not feel good.
From the gun I went to the front to run with the lead pack, as was the plan. I was able to situate myself around 6th or 7th for the first loop. The first loop went by fast and I felt good, although not as fresh as I normally do. I was quite tight and had to tell myself a few times to loosen up and relax. It felt like my shoulders were at my ears. Then the wheels came off and I began my descent down the placing.The 2nd and 3rd laps seemed to take forever to go by. I had a great deal of negative self talk and I was tight. Every step seemed like a struggle to get off the ground, I felt fat and sluggish. I contemplated dropping out at least every 30 seconds and was not enjoying myself. I was passed by quite a few guys and generally fell apart. This is when I also realized that I do not really like running cross country.
By the 4th and 5th laps I was starting to get focused again. I told myself to let go and relax into my stride, like I do in training. This helped and I seemed to pick up my pace a little. My legs started to feel a bit better and things began to go a bit smoother. Then my abdominal muscles acted up. My six pack felt like it was trying to get to the fridge and cramped up quite a bit. Going into the last lap I just wanted to make it to the finish line. I ran as hard as I could although I got passed by another couple of guys to drop down even further. I got really tight and had no speed whatsoever.
As I write this post, and after the endorphins have worn off, I can honestly say I am disappointed in today's run. I gave a good effort but it was not good enough. I have always run well in big races rather then workouts. If I had a fast workout my race would be much faster. I feel like the opposite is happening now. I must admit my Autumn has been a bit up and down with training. I have not been as focused as I have in the past. I am running between two coaches while doing my own thing. I have not run much mileage, my tempos have been dismal although my workouts have been good. When I am running a workout I feel free and the running feels effortless. When I am racing I feel tight and heavy. I need to figure out a way to balance the two. At Nationals I was not intense enough and then today I was too tight. With my placing today I am sure I will not be running Cross Country Nationals this year.
What is even more disappointing is how this is what I want to do more then anything else and I do not engage in other things so that I can run. Running is who I am and when it does not go well I begin to wonder what is the point. I have run this year to the exclusion of all other things including having a relationship. I rarely drink or go out, I seldom interact in the gay community outside of sport and I do not date. What to do now?
Train harder! Looking back at my year it has been a bit chaotic. I have not run a lot of mileage and my workouts have been a bit helter skelter. If I am going to be a runner, to the exclusion of a social life, I better start acting like one and bump up the training. I know now that I have the talent and the drive and the desire to be faster. I do not want to continually find myself disappointed at the end of races, I do not like this feeling. After a summer and fall of having a bit of fun it is time to focus myself and take the steps necessary to be the best that I can be. I only have a few years left of this running business, I have to make hay when the sun shines.
Tomorrow I have a long run in the morning to think some more about my run today and my future plans. I have to make some training decisions and start thinking about next year. Now that Nationals are off of the table I have a month with nothing much planned. I am not running Haney to Harrison. I could run the rest of the Cross Country series races though I am unsure if my heart is really in it. I feel like taking a few weeks off and building my mileage and getting strong. I want to get into the weight room to build some strength as well. I would also like to start double workouts. At least I got some motivation out of this race.