Joe Kleinerman 10K Race Report
As much as I truly love running and racing, bad days happen. And today was a bad day. The Joe Kleinerman 10k in Central Park. Several things went wrong, but almost all were up to my control which makes it even worse.
First, I hate 10ks. They are my least favorite distance: I like longer and shorter races, but I always find 10ks very difficult to pace. I always go out too fast and basically want to die about halfway through. Its pretty discouraging to realize your energy levels are so low when there’s still half the race left. Blah. Therefore, I wasn’t looking forward to it because of the distance.
Second, I went into this race with a bad attitude. I had had a bad day the day before and had a lot on my mind. I was hoping to wake up this morning with a clear mind, free of what happened the day before, but that didn’t happen. I was preoccupied, to say the least. So, I arrived at the subway crabby and then waited and waited and waited for the train. It’s always a crap shoot taking the subway so early (only choice though) because it doesn’t run as frequent. However, I’ve never had trouble. This morning, though, it took forever to come and I got on only 30 minutes before the start of the race. I spent that time waiting getting nervous about missing the start. When it finally came, I was on edge. That didn’t help.
FYI…if you are new to reading running blogs, here’s the deal. Bathroom talk is a fact of life. It occurs on almost all running blogs. So, if you don’t want to read about that, skip along!!
When we FINALLY got to 103rd street, I had about 15 minutes to get to the park, drop my bag and get in my corral. But, I realized I also needed to use the port-a-potty. This happens, and normally I have enough time to. But, I was in a rush, and the bag drop was, for some reason, a good distance from the start; so I took my chances, dropped my bag, skipped the port-a-potties, crossed my fingers and headed to the start. However, by the time I got to the start, the corrals were closed and I had to go to the back of the pack. I was pissed. I knew I was going to have to spend much more energy weaving in and out because I was starting further back than I normally do. And I did. Ok…I understand that people are slower and faster than me, but I need to run my own pace and like to run with people my own pace. That first mile was not fun, and the worst first mile I’ve ever had in a race. And, on top of that, from my first step, I realized skipping the port-a-potty was a very bad idea. So, I spent the first 2.5 miles very uncomfortable and searching for a port-a-potty. I wasn’t focused on my running at all, just finding a place to stop. When one finally appeared, I thanked baby jesus, and stopped. I have never ever ever ever stopped in a race. I knew it was going to happen eventually, especially with my crazy sensitive stomach, but I was so angry with myself. The stop was very necessary, of course, but I could have prevented it by stopping before the race started, starting late but still not losing any time on my chip time. I lost 2 minutes and 50 seconds during that stop—I had to wait in line. When I restarted running, I basically started sprinting.
I spent the last 3.5+ miles of the race passing people left and right, trying to get back with people my pace. I almost did. And I felt like I was pushing myself, but inside I was angry, frustrated and preoccupied. As I’ve stated before, I like to finish a race, no matter the distance, completely spent. A race, for me, is a time to push and test myself; a time to see what my limits are. When I hit the 6 mile marker, I realized I wasn’t tired. I could have easily run 3-4 miles at the pace I was at. I didn’t push myself enough; I didn’t take advantage of the race. When I crossed the finish line, I had a frown on my face. I immediately started beating myself up in my head: I didn’t push myself enough, I should have used the port-a-potty before, I should have left my apartment earlier to catch an earlier subway, I should have cleared my mind before the race. I felt like I had wasted a race. I kept shaking my head, staring down at my feet. Time: 50:05 (that does NOT include potty break. I’m using my watch time, not my chip time).
After I finished and got my bag, I waited around watching others finish (waiting for a friend). As more and more people crossed, runners got slower and slower…and happier and happier. I watched these runners crossing the line with their arms over their head, grateful to be finished and incredibly proud of their accomplishments. Many of these people, I’m sure, had trained for months for this 10K and it was their first. They were so happy to be finished. I was angry and pissed off. It really made me take a step back. I had just run a 10k with ease and finished with a time that many of these runners would be envious of, with gas left. I remember the days when I could barely run a mile. True, shorter races, now, are smaller deals, but they’re still markers of my abilities as a runner. A lot of people can’t do this. I can, and well. Watching those runners finish with such satisfaction on their faces made me realize that I needed to suck it up, be proud of myself, and move on. It really was a sobering moment, and one I needed to experience. So, I did. I left with a smile on my face, enjoying the sun and thankful of the presence of running and racing in my life.
Never take running, or anything of the sort, for granted. Your molehill might be another’s mountain. Be grateful for that.
Up next, Holiday 4-miler next Saturday and the 15K XC race next Sunday! It’s going to be a busy weekend.