Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Things observed by slowing down.

I ran Eugene Marathon on Sunday. While I have had several races that didn't turn out to be much of a race, this was the first time I've ever put on a number with no intention of running my fastest. I've heard 'other people' say, "relax, enjoy the process, enjoy the scenery" etc. So.....I decided to give it a whirl.

I spent the majority of the race a little under 4:00 marathon pace and there is a LOT of frantic neurosis around that pace, somewhere between the Toys R Us on Christmas week and Costco....well, any day. I thought I looked at my watch a lot. I've never heard more references to garmin pace, and I'm not talking about their average garmin pace, I'm talking about their current garmin pace!!!

I was really touched watching some older guys, 60's maybe even 70's, that were obviously damn good runners in their day, busting their ass to get under 4:00, I imagined they had
come to peace with the fact they once could break 3:00 and were now wondering how many more times they'll be able to break 4:00.....it was really touching and humbling to watch.

People get angry with themselves when they don't perform as well as they want to, I've done it, and I swear like a longshoreman but nothing I've ever said compares to what I heard at mile 21. I've screamed and swore at my legs before, demanding to know why they won't work, I've called myself a f*cking p*ssy. But Sunday, I'm runnin' along, minding every bodies business and I hear, from slightly behind me and to the right, a woman's voice say, "goddammit you f*cking c*nt, get going". My head snapped around and the only person anywhere nearby was 40 year old ish woman hitting the wall. Whew, maybe she had tourrets, maybe she's just waaaay more badass than I'll ever be. But I wasn't going to be within mental shrapnel range when she exploded.

The highlight of the day was finishing on Hayward Field. Coming right through the main gate and onto the track, coming out of Bowerman Curve and down the Main Stretch, just like I've heard announced hundreds of times. Looking up and to the left to see myself on the Jumbotron and catch my time. It wasn't anywhere close to my fastest time, but it was unbelievably cool to see it on the Hayward board.

1 comment:

  1. I'm always in awe of the old guys who pass me in races. I can only imagine how much faster they were when they were 20 years younger.

    I wish I could say I was taking it easy by doing a 4 hour marathon. I've only ran a 3:48 once, and all the other marathons I've done have been on trails. I might try a road marathon again to see if I can still get under 4 hours, I can't imagine going much faster over that distance, It's just the speed I run.

    So, tell me. Are there many more girls to look at when you run at that pace?

    I didn't even know you could show your average pace on my garmin. If I read the whole instruction manual, I'd be messing with that thing the whole time. The biggest benefit for wearing the gps for me, is that it makes me run a little bit harder and walk a little bit less, because its getting recorded. Its kind of like having a training partner (It has that feature too but I've yet to use it) Entering races has the same effect on me.

    I hope I can restrain myself at my next race enough to log a few miles the next day. OMG! I'm turning into a conservative old guy.