Friday, January 11, 2013

Pathetically slow

You know how I always mourn about not being fast enough although I won some races, and then you think what an undercomitting-to-feel-good-after-the-race a$$hole I am?  I just read an interview with Kennedy Kithuka (he won NCAA XC nationals in Louisville and looked great doing it) and he says “you know, I was not that good” about running 15:20 5k as a HS junior. Then he runs 13:43 around two years later (according to my calculations) and says “I knew I still was not that good”.  I think that most people would be ecstatic if they ran sub-14min 5k. Heck most people would be ecstatic if they ran sub-20min 5k. But I get why he thought he was slow.   

What you think about your performances is usually relative to what you want to achieve because you are looking at a bigger picture. When there are people who have never raced anything but small local races or maybe people who have never won a race and that’s their goal then this attitude  of ”I won this race yet I am so slow” might seem very …(I lack a word here, sorry).  

If I podium in a competitive state triathlon race, I can say that I am fast. But only compared to those people in a state. And being a state champion is not my ultimate goal, my goal is being a regional champ. And I know that being competitive in the region means that I need to be faster. So actually I am not fast, I am slow for what I want to achieve.  

Matters get more complicated when you have never raced a state or regional championship and you are just guessing “what it takes” to win the race. Then you rather overestimate how fast you need to be, because if your estimate is too low you are not going to train hard enough to win. So give yourself a cushion and overestimate. And since you overestimate you will inevitably end up complaining all the time about how truly pathetic your speed/pace/watts are.
Let’s pretend I want to qualify to Rio as a “new flag” competitor. Holding 270W for five 5min intervals won’t freaking cut it, now would it? Or let’s pretend I want to qualify to Vegas and I “estimate” that I need to be able to run sub-1:30 off a bike in 90 degree weather.  Running a 19min stand-alone 5k won’t cut it, now would it? 

Makes sense?

On a different note, I am doing that mile/3000 double tomorrow. I do not even remember when I did a double last time. Must have been a looong time ago. I am sure I did more of them but I remember only one. Vividly. I was maybe 10-11 and it was 300/600 double at the regions. I raced 300 to warm up for that 600 where I was supposed to rip it to get a shiny new PR of something around 1:45. I ran 300 and remember that I totally lost my form in the last 100m because it was so hard. Then they put me into the 2nd heat in 600 and we went really slowly. I won that heat in final 50m in 2min flat. My coach was disappointed that they put me into the second heat and that I did not run faster. I was just happy that I won my heat:) So that was one double I remember. It looks like that badly executed race is still haunting me since I still remember it. Ha. I also remember that I threw up right before 600. I think that I just put so much pressure on myself. So after I threw up for this first time I kept throwing up before every single race for the next year or two. How weird is that? My mom said I was nuts and could not understand how could I care so much for something as stupid as running. And then as suddenly as I threw up that first time, I did not throw up one time and my throwing up streak was over.
Back to tomorrow. I have a strategy in my mind, but since it is just racing for fun/experience I will probably just do what everyone around me does. If we go out in 5:10 pace I will be there. If we go out in 6min pace, I will be there. Let’s hope I do not throw up.


  1. Prob better to overestimate how fast you need to be vs underestimate it! I underestimated it at canada last year... looking at results from 2011 I assumed that <11 hours would q-fy for Kona... so I went 10:51 and was freaking SEVENTH. In 2011 that would have put me 2nd. So you never know but I think best to assume that as hard as you're training, there are girls out there who you don't even know who have more talent and are training harder. That's how I'm approaching Cabo this year. :)

  2. Fast, slow, so relative. I can always find a 5K I can win in sub 21min. Ha! I much rather PR than win a race! I know things are different in triathlon though. Good luck! 5:10 pace....I would be there for like .5 mile MAX, and throwing up for sure:)

  3. Yes, I said i would go out in 5:10 if everyone does. But i forgot to add that it will leave me crawling for the last 600m:)