Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tourist Season

"I am a Passenger"
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. After last year’s “Lost Season”, 2012 was to be my big comeback. I planned it out. I did all the phyiso work. I ramped up my mileage carefully over the winter. I cross-trained like a mad man. I built a pretty strong base. I threw in some hill & tempo work. And I even added some track intervals recently to sharpen my speed. But, despite all my hard/smart work, my spring racing season has been nothing short of a bust.

I’ve signed up for, and run, a bunch of big races with top-notch runners to help push me to achieve the success that I was hoping for. But instead of stringing together a handful of PR’s it’s been one PW after another. For some reason, I just can’t seem to get on track and these races (and racers) have passed me by like I’m standing still. Just sitting by the side of the road watching the world go by and helpless to do anything about it. Honestly, it’s been more of a tourist season than a racing season.

The Tour Bus Awaits
This weekend’s stop on the 2012 “tour of shame” took place at the Pack Monadnock 10m. I wasn’t originally planning on running Pack, but it’s a great local mountain race that’s put on by my running club and I wanted to help support it by volunteering/running again this year. Plus, I was looking for a little redemption from last weekend’s debacle.  Unfortunately (there’s that word again) the hamstring issue that developed at the end of Pineland reared its ugly head once more. As a result, I would have been much better off just sticking to the volunteering and leaving the running to the professionals.

I knew after the first mile, which is one of the toughest opening miles of any race (aside from Washington), that my day was going to be a trying one. The hammy, which felt fine during my warm-up, started to tighten as I pushed the pace. And with a good chunk of the field (and many of my usual competitors) pulling away by mile two the writing was on the wall. 3 times during this 10 mile race (which eventually finds the mountain) I slowed down with the thought of dropping out. And 3 times I stopped, stretched the hammy and foolishly started up again. I really hateDNF’s.

Happier Times at Pack
Strangely, the hamstring was fine if I kept the pace relatively relaxed. But once I started to “race” it would tighten again - causing me to slow down. The upside of being forced to maintain a slower speed was that in all the years that I’ve been running Pack Monadnock I’ve never before felt so fresh 8 miles in. Of course, I was about 10 minutes behind where I usually am at this point in the race, but whatever. Picking off dying runners and waving to (and joking with) the spectators was kind of fun, in a morbid sort of way.

Eventually, we got to the really steep stuff and I was able to maintain my already slow pace up Route 101 and then onto the summit auto road itself. As a result, my last two miles splits were actually pretty close to what I ran the last time I did this race - in 2010. But, despite the fact that I passed dozens of spent runners on those final stretches I still finished well back in the Pack. My 1:28:28 end up being 12 ½ minutes slower that my personal best at Pack and also eclipsed my personal worst by more than 4 ½ minutes.

Where Did it All Go Wrong?
I suppose I should take some time off from racing to recuperate, rest my hamstring and recharge my competitive batteries. But, that 2012 New England Grand Prix “Iron Runner” jacket keeps calling my name. So, the “Tragic Fall Mystery Tour” rides on - this time stopping in Newton, Massachusetts for the Newton 10k. The race runs on part of the same roads as the Boston Marathon course – but in reverse. Maybe running Newton will help me reverse my own running curse. Only time will tell.

But, somehow, I doubt it …

Oh,  and ^ here's  ^ some Radiohead to cheer you (me?) up.

No comments:

Post a Comment