Aug 23

This race was a self-inflicted mental catastrophe. The one positive I take from this race was that I really do feel like I had the chance to win the race this day. But as it was I got 5th. Let’s see how it played out…

The first note of importance is that CRIM was a seasonal addon race 2 weeks after what was always supposed to be the grand finale in Pittsburgh. In fact, for 6 months I had planned a celebratory trip to Bethany Beach in Delaware with good group of Williams classmates the day after Pittsburgh. It’s probably the least training-friendly week of the year minus New Years with the same crew. So for about a week I did very little running, a LOT of beach volleyball, a lot of sweating which was sustained through beer and very little re-hydration.

After that it was back to Cleveland for a few days of sleep, and a tuneup workout before a trip up to Flint, MI for CRIM!

I was supposed to head up the night before with my buddy Tony but when that got postponed to the following morning I learned my first lesson: waking up in my own bed in Cleveland the day of a race does NOT put me in the right frame of mind to compete. I struggle just to run mileage back home for vacations and whatnot, let alone get the eye of the tiger. Plus, I was in my sister’s lavender room. Horses, frilly lace, and soft colors everywhere. Doesn’t exactly elicit the kind of animal aggression I need going into a competition. NOTED

CRIM Start

About to be announced

Lesson number two was learned when we finally did get into Flint and set out for the shakeout jog. The course preview. While we were running this I was more engaged in conversation than in critical thinking about the road mile route. This is dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Simply evaluating the course would have changed my race.

The last lesson is that I can never, and I mean never, run a simple reactionary race. I don’t think I’ll ever be good enough that I can toe the line in a serious race without really caring, start the race, hold onto the shoulders of the leaders, and when they decide to kick, time my last burst of speed to take them casually at the line. Minimal effort expended. Centro for instance can surely do this in the prelims of the 1500m at nationals. Nick Willis can do this in a US road mile. However, I need to KNOW at what points in a road mile that it’s a strong possibility that a move will be made. I need to be mentally envisioning that move and where I need to be to take advantage of it. Most of all I likely need to preempt that move and be the aggressor.

Well at this point you probably have a pretty good idea about how the race went, so I’ll skip through it.

We started into the wind and ran quite slow through about 1000m. The pack organized itself at this point into aggressors and the rest. I was right smack dab in between these two groups. Coming around a curb (obvious in hindsight), Blankenship made a strong move. I would guess it was about 400m from the finish. I don’t know though cause there were no markers on the course and like I said, I didn’t even know where we were. Also, there was literally not a soul for 1400m of the course… (If you can’t tell I wasn’t really a fan. It was all pot-holed up as well. Though writing that… I’m kinda thinking that might have played into my favor if I would have just fucking studied the course…. Usually, the more “features”, the better for me.)

The pack responded, but to no real avail. At least the front 6 finished in the order they were in when the move happened (Ben ran from the front). I finished 5th.

The worst part of this race was how I felt afterwards. I was fine. I was fucking fine. It’s not like I had another gear in me and I wasn’t catching anyone at the end, but I didn’t finish having spent everything I had like the last 3 races. I ran it like the last and hardest rep of a workout, not like a race. And I was pissed. I was pissed during my entire cooldown. Mad at myself because I lost not because I had spent a bunch of time in the sun at Bethany Beach or because at this point I had been extending my peak for 6 whole weeks, but because I just wasn’t mentally in the race. The physical ability was there, the mind… bitched out. No excuse but that I wasn’t ready to race.

I hope I never have to write another report like this one. I want to put it all on the line every time I have the opportunity to do so.

That said though, I had a really successful summer season. Lots to be thankful for, definitely some good memories, and even friends made along the way! It was better than any summer series I could have hoped for within the US. I surely hope that the pieces fall into place this year though and Europe becomes a reality!

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