Well, that didn't happen! I came in with a goal of sub-33:00, and thanks to RED FOX Jake T. Klim (the T stands for "The), I had developed some good speed that should have translated to a sub-33. I felt pretty good on race morning, and on the warmup my legs felt pretty fresh! I had tapered a little for this, so I thought I was good to go.
The race started and I stuck around Chris Sloane, who is in better shape than me, but was going for a similar goal... sub-33, but a little faster. I felt great for the first 3.15 miles, right on 16:30 pace, right where I wanted to be.
Then quickly, VERY quickly, things fell apart. I felt a strong ache suddenly in my back going through the turnaround, and suddenly I had trouble breathing. I felt a big knot form in my upper-left back and it hurt like heck! I had to adjust my stride and arm movement to make up for it, and couldn't find a comfortable way to stand... I sort of arched my back and held my head back, but that got painful too, and was reduced to wiggling my body in different ways to try and
find the most comfortable position. The breathing was the worst part, as I started wheezing and only taking in half-lungfuls of air. My time started slipping, as each mile got slower and my per-mile average fell to 5:29 by the 6 mile marker.
Nothing I could do... I felt pretty helpless. My legs begged to go FASTER but my lungs and upper body wanted none of it. I essentially tempoed to the finish in 34:06, a second SLOWER than my PR, which I achieved on the same course last year.
I was pretty dejected for some time after this race. I trained hard and the training went well. The back problem is no longer bothering me, as I found the way I sit up at work may be behind it (I had similar but less painful aches at work in the same area leading up to the race). But I feel I wasted weeks of good training, and missed my chance at a 10k PR in 2011.
2 weeks later, I've been able to put it into perspective and realize that it's JUST a PR. I put in the work and was on the right track. I just need to re-rail myself and focus on my training. I've been swimming a lot and it's going very well, same with biking. I'll just keep that up and focus on the future... namely Cherry Blossom 10-miler and Columbia!
Ouch! When is this over?
Photos courtesy of Charlie Ban, who has a sweet bike.