I know why I did "poorly" today, but I'm still a bit frustrated. I've been feeling progressively more and more sore all week even though I've been resting. It's as if someone has been sneaking into my room while I've been sleeping and hitting my legs with a tire iron. Just to be sure I jammed my desk chair under the door handle before going to sleep, but it didn't seem to help.
I still had pain in my hip and butt, but I knew that there was nothing I could do about it so I just headed off to the race.
The good news was that it was much less cold than I thought it would be, the bad news was that I was nervous and had to run into an out of the way area and throw up a bunch of times. I was concious of my butt while I was warming up, but I otherwise felt good.
At the start Aiden Irish took a slight lead and I sat back with eventual winner Steven Crane. Just before the mile Steve and I caught Aiden and we all slowed down. I felt like the pace was a bit slow and thought about picking it up, but then I suddenly found myself losing ground. I hit the first mile in 5:20 and knew I was in trouble. Off of such a slow opening mile I should have been able to catch up to the leaders, but I couldn't I had nothing. The top two gradually opened a gap on me even though I ran 5:18 for the second mile.
I was still unable to close the gap as we left downtown and turned onto the express lanes, which was where I really picked it up last year. Instead I only managed a 5:33 and just felt like I was stuck in a slow gear. My legs were also starting to ache already and I knew it was going to be a long day.
After this point I kind of settled in at basically maratho pace. My splits were a bit erratic because of the terrain and I kept training to surge to get myself going. I could still see Aiden ahead of me and I felt that I could still get 2nd if I just kept up my pace. I did 5:28 for the 4th mile which is downhill and then 5:42 for the 5th. This mile is generally slow because it has a steep, wet winding path. In the 6th I got passed but still ran 5:25. I now had 2nd and 3rd in my sights for the next few miles (5:47,6:14,5:29,5:42). After mile 10 I lost sight of the guys ahead of me and I began to go to a dark place mentally, from which I would not emerge until I called Allie after the race. Mile 10 was uphill 5:42, mile 11 was downhill 6 flat (I did 5:25 for this mile last year). I was feeling very sore and I just couldn't find the motivation to keep going. Somehow I did mile 12 (which has a big hill) in 5:52 (5:41 last year). I got passed right as I passed the 12th mile marker. I stayed with the guy on the next downhill bit, but he just broke me on the uphill (this race has a lot of those).
I didn't talk to anyone after the race. I just straight through the finishing area and tossed my medal in a dumpster. I was in my car crossing the floating bridge and the marathoners were still on it! They started after me, but still, I left very quickly.
So, not really sure what to think now. It' pretty clear that this was not the best I can do. I ran a 5:11 downhill mile to close out a 10 mile run two weeks ago and only managed 5:33 today while racing someone. Last year, my muscles were totally seized up after the race and today they felt fine except for the sore butt. Since I got sick at the end of September my workouts have been off the charts good, but my races have all been kind of "meh". I can understand not running great 5ks because everything was done at HM pace and I can understand not running great at the half because when I've run my best halfs, I've run with complete fearlessness. It's hard to do that when you're sore/sick.
This is not the first time I've trained for a long time and had nothing to show for it. My Junior Year of Track in college, I got sick a whopping three times, including stomach flu, during crucial points in the year. I was supposed to run the 10K at one meet but I hadn't been able to eat anything for several days because I was sick. My warmup consisted of lying on the ground because I was too dizzy to run. Somehow, I was only 4 seconds off my PR despite my shoe coming untied with 400 to go and a first mile of 5:08 (and a second mile of 6:00). Anyway, long story short. I had some short term disappointment, but all my work paid off the next year. Here's hoping that this solid block of training makes me better in the future.