Disappointing best captures my race this morning. It was a 20 km, so I was hoping that I could jog a 1:25 which would be 1:30 half marathon pace. I went out at 4:12 pace which I thought was totally conservative. Not so. My splits tell the story:
4:22 (big climb)
4:17 (21:06 5 km)
4:21 (changed goal to running every km under 4:20)
4:25 (changed goal to running everykm under 4:30)
4:03 (big descent)
4:21 (42:40 10 km, 21:34 from 5-10 km)
4:33 (changed goal to running every km under 5 minutes)
4:36 (asked my friend Mark who was spectating next to his truck for a lift, he assumed I was kidding)
4:27 (1:04:58 15 km, 22:18 from 10 km - 15 km)
5:00 (took a one minute walking break)
5:21 (took a 45 second walking break and got passed by the second place woman after leading for 17 km... there was nothing to be done about it unfortuately)
4:09 (big descent and noticed another woman less than 10 m behind me who was presumably buoyed by the walking breaks she would have witnessed)
4:54 (big climb, noticed that despite the very slow km the woman did not get any closer, asked my friend Jack who was spectating to borrow his bike)
3:57 (fastest km at the end of the slowest 5 km, but really did not want to get passed in the last km AGAIN after leading for so long. total time 1:28:21, 23:23 from 15 km - 20 km ouch).
So yeah, discouraging. My distress was all muscular. I was laughing and talking with people, making jokes all along i.e. I could breathe just fine but the large muscles in my legs and butt just rebelled. I absolutely could not turn-over. I tried different tactics, the walking breaks, taking smaller steps, getting up on my toes... I just could not get any performance out of my legs after about 14 km. So it's tough mentally to realize that a sub-1:30 half marathon is not necessarily a guarantee. But what can you do?
Make a mental list of all the typed of people I hate getting beat by to pass the time which is exactly what I did between 14 and 17 km. I fear I may offend some readers for which I apologize but if it helps you can put "people who make petty lists" onto your list of people TO beat at your next race. Here goes:
1. People listening to music. Snobby of me, I know...
2. Women wearing skirts (made even more pathetic by the fact that I am regularly beaten by skirts)
3. People with compression socks that end at their ankles, seems so gimicky (totally hypocritical since I own and ran in compression socks today). Why is a compression sock ok but not a compression leg warmer? You'll have to ask the petty part of my brain because I really don't know offhand.
4. People my age (ish) who I used to beat easily. (just a tough pill to swallow somehow)
5. People who I do not like.
6. People pushing baby jogers. Unless it is Mo Farah going by with his twins, I am not ready to accept being beaten in a race by someone pushing a jogger (Yes, I do know that there are countless men and women far slower than Mo Farah who could beat me while pushing a double baby jogger but they don't happen to show up at my local races - at least not with their double jogger.)
So there you have it - me at my grumpiest and most petty.
On the other hand, here are some folk I honestly enjoy being beat by:
1. Women much older than I (hope for the future)
2. People who I like.
3. Heavier athletes. I love all evidence against the thinking thin = fast.
4. People who I know have been training much harder than I (unless they fall into any of the categories in the first list)
So yeah, much more work to do before I have a guaranteed sub 1:30.
The second part of the day i.e. The Big Poopa's fourth birthday party went as well as the race went badly. Huge success. Only minor meltdowns. Enough food. Kids loved the place we held the party. Kids got along. Parents seemed to have a great time despite the lack of alcohol. That was my only regret about the birthday we planned, we could not serve proper adult refreshments (the trade off for not having to clean our home before and after 10 children tore through it). Am I a total degenrerate or is alcohol (for the parents only) not a key component of a successful birthday party no matter what time of day it is held?