The week leading up to my first race in 2011 I was excited, and nervous. As the weekend approached, I hoped that all of the work I have been doing with my psychologist would pay off. I didn't expect to run faster because of it, but run a more confident race, and handle the mental side of it better.
The typical doubts came pouring in, but unlike in the past I had ways to combat them. I reminded myself to ENJOY racing, it is what I love, and that a single race never defines me, so it was time to race with confidence. I knew I would be able to run well if I raced smart, and mentally stayed away from the negative thoughts.
I started my warm up, and envisioned the race one last time. I reminded myself that for 9 minutes of my life I had to focus on ONE thing, and keep my focus there. All of my attention needed to be in one place, the next step in front of me.
The gun went off, and I was off the line quick, and just tucked in behind the chase pack. Erin Nehaus was in the lead by herself, but I knew better than to go with her. My PR was just under 80 seconds per lap, and to run 75's would be a mistake. My goal was 9:40 so 77's was the plan. I plugged away in 2nd to last for the first 6 laps. Then I moved around and filled in the gap off the chase pack, putting me in 4th place. As we came up on the mile I realized the person leading our pack (Rachel Patterson of Miami OH) was slowing a bit, so I went to the front of the chase pack, and ran a few 37 second laps trying to close the gap on Nehaus. I felt more and more confidence as I watched her come toward me. I reminded myself it was worth the pain to race well, and to remain confident. I was in no man's land, but thought I could push through it. lap 12 was 40 seconds and I knew I had to get back into it. I pushed the next lap in 38 but with 400m to go a gal from southern Missouri went around me, and it was just the kick in the butt I needed. I went with her and we came through the 200m mark together. I gave it one last big push on the back stretch, and we struggled stride for stride over the last 100m. When it came down to it, she had the better finish. I was 3rd in 9:41.11 a 17 second PR. I was really happy.
It made me excited for the next chance I will have to race on the track in February! I was proud to wear my Oiselle jersey for the first time on the track! I am feeling great about my training, enjoying working on the mental side of running and life, and excited for all the 2011 may bring!
My next races will be either the mile or 3k at the Akron Invite on Feb 12th, followed by something at the Kent State last chance meet on Feb 19th.