Monday, July 12, 2010

How I Used To Race

Now that I have stopped running and can’t write about it anymore, it’s time to clear the “blog ideas” vault. I wrote the draft of what follows about a month and a half ago when I was still able to run. It already seems like a distant memory.
I could never start a run by taking off and running hard from the get go. It takes about a couple of miles for my breathing to settle down and my joints to warm up before I can hit my stride. Even when I was running with my neighbors a long time ago, my warm up consisted of running from my place to their house. It was the only way I could keep up with them because they tended to have fast starts. Some bad days, I don’t even hit my stride at all nor breathe comfortably.
Way back when I was still racing a lot, I liked the long distances better because I could start slowly then get into a groove and eventually finish faster than when I started. I had a lot of negative splits back then. This technique of course was not feasible for setting PR’s (personal records) in the 5K and 10K, and even though I gradually improved my time for those distances, there really wasn’t a breakthrough moment until I experimented with a different racing strategy. I still needed long warm ups for the 5K and 10K, but I tried starting out the race hard, then settled the pace down to my usual speed, hoped to catch my second wind, then motor to the finish. So in my last few races at those distances, I finally broke through to set my final PR’s, before retiring from racing. Whatever running event I participate in nowadays, I don’t consider myself racing anymore. I’m just running to finish.
The final stats of my long gone racing years:
5K - 6:30 pace
10K – 7 minute pace
Half Marathon – 7:30 pace
Marathon – 8 minute pace
Anyhow, it doesn’t matter whether you are running at 8, 9, 10, or 11 minute pace. You are still working you butt off to achieve your goal time or distance, unless you are sandbagging it of course. Even when it takes you 10 minutes to cover a mile now when you used to be able you get there in 8, you still expend the same effort to do so while continuing to strive to get better.
                Note: The photo above was taken in the 80’s and was originally posted on the internet in my old and defunct Geocities page.

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