Sometimes you just don’t have it. We’re runners, there are good days and bad days. Often you can point to specific reasons why you don’t have your “mojo,” other times you really aren’t sure why. It just happens.
This past weekend I ran The Giant Race and I feel like it was a combination of multiple small things that collectively disrupted my mojo.
The morning started off typical. I was well organized the night before, left the house on time and arrived in San Francisco about 30 minutes before the race. Plenty of time, at least I thought. The organization of trying to get everyone parked was ridiculous. This is usually common on most races, but we were being parked at AT&T park. A new stadium that handles 35,000+ fans without blinking. I assumed handling a few thousand runners would be a breeze. We waited in line for about 20 mins moving almost a block. It was now getting close to the start of the race. Luckily, I know my way around downtown SF, so I left the line and tried to enter through behind the stadium. Still a line, but much faster.
This left me very little time to prep before the start of the race. I was supposed to meet my friends around 7:30, which didn’t happen. I also planned to meet up with my co-workers, who I helped train, before the start. Once I reach the start line, the race is about to begin any minute. I’m weaving through the corrals to find my friends. Found them, gave them a quick “hello,” promised to be back and continued to weave towards the back to find my co-workers. A couple phone calls later, I find them, wish them luck and head back towards the front to find my friends so I can run a few miles with them. That’s a lot of “excuse me” and “sorry” as I try to move through the corrals.
That leaves me zero time to stretch and get my head straight before we start running. Oh, and did I mention that my Garmin wouldn’t turn on? Yep, that happened too. At least it didn’t die halfway through the race. I charged it the night before, but I must have messed something up or didn’t click it all the way on the charger. It wouldn’t turn on at all. Oh well, left it in the car so at least I didn’t have to carry it. I’ve become so reliant upon that thing keeping my pace. I knew it was a major factor in my attempting to PR.
Once the race started I ran the first few miles with my friends. I was hoping to run a similar pace as I did in Davis last month, but without my Garmin, I had no idea what my “exact” pace was. I took my normal walk break after each mile (about 30 sec. to a minute) and continued on. A friend of mine decided to run with me the whole way. He is much faster and not being concerned with his finish time, decided to help pace me and keep my time. We were cruising at about 9-9:30 most of the way. He’d give me our total time every few miles and we’d discuss if we could finish sub 2-hours. I wanted to finish the first half around 1 hour that way if I had the energy, I could pick it up on the way back.
Oh ya, around mile 4, Brian Wilson, the closer for the Giants, was on the course high-fiving runners. I gave him a high-five and said “Get em B!” That was pretty cool. Brian Wilson is a huge part of the San Francisco community and very accessible. (I heard that Matt Cain was at the start for the 10k, but haven’t confirmed.)
Here were my splits for the first 6.5 miles:
5k: 29:30, 9:30 pace
10k: 58:32, 9:26 pace
Turn Around: 1:03, 9:25 pace
Pretty good. Definitely got faster as the race went on. I wasn’t as well trained as I would hope, go figure, right? My pace was fine. I was happy with the first 6.5 miles knowing that if I wanted to come in sub 2-hr., I would have to squeeze in a couple 9 min. miles or faster. I have it in me and given the right song, its possible. But around 10 miles (1:33, 9:22 pace) I felt my legs pretty much quit. I knew I didn’t have the last 3 miles at a 9 min pace left in me. I slowed down at just cruised in for the final leg.
I finished at 2:06:59 with an average pace of 9:42. As you can see, those last three miles destroyed my average. But I was happy with the outcome. Here is the finish line inside AT&T park.
Overall, I enjoyed the race itself. The organization (before and after) could have been significantly better. The shirt, medal and Lincecum bobble were fantastic. I can’t be disappointed with any of that. I’d be open to participating again next year, but prepared for what to expect, or not expect.
If you participated in the race, I’d love to hear your comments about the race.