Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .

In pursuit of a fast 5K

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Pity the man, who must console the racer, faced with a disappointing race, morphing from his role of  Sherpa into that of sports psychologist afterward. Such was my husband’s lot as I was thwarted in my quest to go under 21 minutes for 5K. Buoyed by a 21:04 on March 31st, I set my sights on breaking 21 minutes in the short-term and am hoping that my 50-something legs might still carry me to run under 20 minutes – just once more is all I ask.

My Sherpa takes great photos too!

As I stood waiting for the race I gathered my thoughts, meditating on my good fortune on being able to set ambitious race goals although, what I might like to call ‘prayer”, in the context of the quest for fast times, seems suspiciously closer to a less mature desire for wish fulfillment.

Prior to the race, I gave the course 8.0 points on a 10 point rating scale for fast courses. Memory however did not serve me well as a decade later, I’ve downgraded m  its rating to a 6.0.  My time was 22:14 seconds at the Bread & Honey 5K.

Here are four things that were different from my last 5K and what I think it cost me in time . . .

  • Last race, I was very pleased with my evenly paced effort, aided by my watch and the kilometer markers. Yesterday my watch malfunctioned and I could not gauge my effort (+15 seconds)
  • Last race the course was out and back with the turnaround being a gentle curve, similar to the curve of 400 meter track. Yesterday there were eight sharp corners on the course (+16 seconds)
  • Last race the course was pancake flat. Yesterdays course was not hilly but rolling and not at all flat  (+20 seconds)
  • Last race I was four pounds lighter. According to Tom Osler every pound above your ideal running weight will cost you 2 seconds per mile so 2 seconds times 4 pounds is 8 seconds times 3 miles . . .  (+24 seconds)

I made these time estimates off the top of my head and was surprised when I did the calculations, that the total of 75 seconds, when subtracted from 22:14 equals, 20:59. WooHoo . . . I know I can do it!  It is said that high performance athletes internalize good results, and externalize bad results 🙂

For the record, I am 5 feet 1 1/2 inches and currently weight 111 pounds. My ideal racing weight is between 104 and 107 pounds and according to some medical charts, 107.5 pounds is the perfect weight for someone of my height. When I was a child we had the World Book Encyclopedia’s Childcraft series. Part of the series was a parent’s guide to child development with a chart of height-weight ratios. I studied this chart intently, obsessively in fact and was troubled that I never made it into the low end of the chart through childhood. I was that girl who disappeared when I turned sideways and I never did break the 100 pound barrier while in high school. At age 56, I’m no longer complaining about having good genetics for distance running.

As for the good habit of running, I expect to have more to say about that once I finish “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. I picked this book up yesterday afternoon and am halfway through its 350+ pages.

You can hear the audio interview with Charles Duhigg that piqued my curiosity HERE at Great Work Interviews.

Candid Camera –  à la Sherpa – Napping, a GOOD post-race HABIT

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