Saturday, February 18, 2012

Race Report: Snowman Stampede 5 Mile

Well, they say you can't win 'em all. They also say improving at distance running requires patience. And this mysterious relentless paternal "they" also say that you get what you need--which in my case was another notch or two down in my ego.

It's not that the Snowman Stampede 5 mile race today felt hard the whole way. It just felt blah. And every time I looked at my pace on the Garmin it looked blah from that vantage point, too. This was despite perfect chilly temperatures that warmed up to the 40s as the morning wore on, despite warm cheerful sunshine, despite hanging out with Kathy and her friend Melissa (they were doing the 10-mile race that followed the five-miler, too, for 15 miles total as part of their ramp-up for the Big Sur Marathon in April) and despite a flat fast course that I'd had a great time on a year ago in my own showing in the 10-miler.

Part of the problem is that I have a cold. It's not the worst cold ever, and it's not like I can complain, having gone through my entire 16-week training program for the Houston Marathon last month with nary a sniffle. Way better to get a cold now than then, or than four weeks from now when I'm ramping up for a half-marathon. But the cold was there, and it's given me stinky sleep for two nights in a row.

The other part of the problem (as is almost always true) were overly high expectations. I hear all the time about people "using their marathon endurance" to go out and set a personal record in a shorter distance a few weeks after the big one. I wanted that to be me, despite my back, the cold and the poor sleep. I should have known better. On one level, I did know better. But I ignored that little voice of practicality and hoped for the big PR anyway.

All of that, though, just sounds like a bunch of lame excuses. Here's how the race went:

Mile One: My plan was to go out at 8:24 (right around my pace in the Bolder Boulder 10K last year) and then gradually speed up as each mile went on. I executed part one of this plan perfectly--the first mile was done in 8:23. After that, not such a good job.

Mile Two: My legs just didn't speed up. Every time I looked at the watch it was 8:30-plus. I had looked at the elevation profile and this was the part of the course that was supposed to be on a modest downhill. I started to get worried. The Garmin says I did this mile in 8:30, but it must have been slower given my final time.

Mile Three: I felt a little better after the turnaround and some water. I wondered if maybe I hadn't hydrated well enough. Oh well. Too late now. Garmin says I did 8:17, but again I think that was clocking too fast.

Mile Four: In this mile, I actually felt kind of good. I started to pass a few people. Garmin says 8:18. But it was too late for doing really well in this race and I already knew it.

Mile Five: I found a kick and passed a few more people, my nose running like the Platte River the course followed. My back was hurting, I was already disappointed in my time and I just wanted to be finished. The Garmin says I ran this mile in 8:03. I don't believe it was that fast.

The official race results? 42:10 net time, a pace of 8:26/mile--WORSE than my Bolder Boulder pace from last May. I was seventh of 50 in my age group. I know I should be happy to be in the top 10 but........


Since I know it's important find the good in these kinds of disappointments, here's what I can muster:

1) Except for mile one to mile two, my pace got faster as the race went on. It's a good thing when your last mile is the fastest.

2) I don't have another race until mid-April. Plenty of time to improve....and I will be well into physical therapy by then (yay dry needling! it starts on March 6), which hopefully will help my back and my ability to run fast.

3) I think I'll finally get some decent sleep tonight, cold or no.

4) I have four more races in the Spring of Speed. That's four more chances to do better than I did today.

Onward I go. I get knocked down but I get up again.


  1. You like Chumba Wumba??? :)

    Hugs my friend! We all have tough races, and you went into this one with a lot of challenges to a PR day. I love that you still went into it with a positive attitude. I have no doubt that your Spring of Speed is going to have some awesome results still. Hugs!

  2. The PR will come soon. The cold is always an important factor that influences the finishing time. 7 of 50 and the negative split say that you ran a good race.
    Now enjoy the post-race rest and ..... keep on running.

  3. Have I mentioned that you are too hard on yourself??? I think you did great! It's all faster and faster from here!!!

  4. I'm sorry you didn't get the time you wanted - or deserved.  We all have races like this, as you know, and it's hard to swallow sometimes.  I like to think of these cold months here as our off season and we're just prepping the bod to get faster this spring.  I think you're going to have one fantastic race in Boulder this year....this was just a small stepping stone to get you there :).  *all this said from the girl who weaseled out of the race!!  ;)*

  5. I get what you say about knocking you down a notch or two.  Today's long run did that for me.  I had a pretty underwhelming week of running, then headed out for what would be 21.5 today.  I did it and am happy it's done, but boy, it sure served as a reminder to respect the distance.  This cocky chick just got knocked down a peg or two myself. 

    And the beat goes on....:)

  6. Lacey Sue ~ N.Y.A.R.MFebruary 19, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    Chumba Wumba! That brings back junior high days! Love it! I am bummed you didn't achieve your goals- but I am still in total awe of what you were able to do! Your pace was awesome by my standards- I figure- you rocked it! Get some rest- your next race will be all you want it to be!! ;)

  7. Hi, I just discovered your blog today.  I was volunteering at the Stampede yesterday with my twin 7-year-old girls, cutting chips off, so I probably saw you.  I also saw your photo from Top of Utah.  How'd you like the hail??  That was a first for me. 

    The Winter Distance Series can be challenging despite a reasonably flat course.  All the concrete makes for speed but, for me, also makes for sore knees...Hang in there and your BQ will come.

    Marnie Lansdown

  8. I'm always amazed how I can do everything right and still end up with a rough race, or think I'm doomed and end up feeling great!  So sorry you were disappointed...but it's still a great time, and like you pointed out, you followed your plan of getting faster with each mile, and you've got 4 more tries!

  9. Ah, I'm so sorry for the disappointing race.  But I think you did awesome!  But I get the disappointment.  You were running in my stomping ground.  I've been running Platte on M,W,F when the kids are in preschool.  You probably drove right past my house on 470!  I wish I realized you guys were doing that race, I could have finally come out to meet you and Kathy.  Someday...I think we always say that :)

  10. Busy day yesterday day but I took time to check the results and was stoked you were 7th out of 50.  Your AG is *so* competitive - so from my perspective you totally kicked butt.   Then I read this and saw you were disappointed.   Sorry you didn't get the time you had hoped for - but hopefully this is just the ramp up to faster times for the next races!!  and you didn't convince me otherwise so I STILL think you kicked butt!  :)

  11. Sorry you had a rough race! You still had a decent showing, but it sounds like it just wasn't your day. Next time!

  12. You are very hard on yourself - but I totally get that.  I also don't think you were making excuses -- just stating the facts of what is going on.  Racing, as I'm learning, is so much more than just doing the training.  You've got to have slept perfectly, not been sick, not be under any stress -- there are so many things that impact that race.  But, so frustrating when you want it to go well and your legs just don't cooperate.  Your mind says PR and your legs say 'whatever dude'.  

    Good luck on getting sleep -- that will help everything.  

    P.S.  7/50 -- congrats!! that is awesome.  

  13. Hope you feel better soon ! Sorry the race didn't go how you wanted, but you have a great attitude in looking for the positives. I know you'll have some better races this spring! And yes - top 10 AG is nothin' too shabby. :-)

  14. I'm with the others - you're too hard on yourself!  But, I'm the same way, so I get it.
    I hope you got some rest after and that your cold is clearing out!  You'll get the next one!

  15. I realized at some point that you can't PR every time.  That's probably obvious, but it was a huge shock to me the first time it happened.  Anyways, you did great considering all the setbacks!  And you'll totally get that redemption race soon.  I'm still totally impressed with your training and how hard you've been working!

  16.  Well you do realize the Olympics are coming up and maybe that's why you're trying too hard????

  17. Those sound like solid splits for such a tough day! Congrats on toughing it out and finishing strong!