Monday, December 3, 2007

Race Report: Run at the Rock

"The performer lets of go of all self-consciousness about the performance - and any grasping for outcome of extrinsic reward. She feels compelled by the sheer joy of the activity itself." - From "Play at Your Peak", Stephen Cope, Yoga Journal, October 2007

This weekend I had the opportunity revist a race I first ran one year ago: The Run at the Rock 7-miler. The weather was cold and - thanks to our ongoing drought - very dry. A perfect day for this challenging, hilly trail race. Ray, Dave, and I were joined at the start line by friends Claire, Lisa, and Julee: a merry band of runners and devotees of our favorite coach.

As I am still deep into my off season, I had no real goals or expectations for this race. My intentions were to go out slightly faster than what normally feels comfortable in order to secure my position on the winding single track, and then to just run how I felt. Given the minimal amount of running I've done in the last two months, I really wasn't sure what that would be.

I was pleasantly surprised with the results: In the past 12 months, I dropped 12 minutes.

Certainly, this year's drier terrain helped my time, but I'm crediting (1) learning how to push up to my lactate threshold and hold on (without freaking out!) and (2) letting go.

The first two miles were quick and by mile 3 my usual panic and doubts crept into my consciousness: This is too much, I can't do this, my heart is pounding, what was I thinking! Instead of giving in, I relied on all I've learned this year and simply backed-off slightly. I worked the hills, kept my cadence up, and let some new found competitive spirit take over.

Everyone in our group ran super races; the volunteers were efficient and supportive; and the vegetable soup at the finish line was warm and welcomed.

A nice way to end a great year.

7 miles
AG: 13/47
Overall: 176 / 345