Photograph: Jen Castillo
I ask a lot from the Belle Lap pro athlete contributors. I’m asking them to share their journey, the highs and lows of their experiences and the personal emotion that comes with it, so I decided it’s my turn to share.
Racing has been a sensitive subject for me during my pro career. It’s been a roller coaster of self discovery and new perspective. I’ve had good races, really really bad race days and everything in between. It wasn’t like college, where everything went peachy in terms of performance. It’s been a very different journey, both physically and mentally. I want to share an honest review of the good, the bad and the ugly of each time I toe the line in 2016. (If you’re only interested in the result page then scroll down to bottom.)
January 22nd, 7:25pm
The aim: 4:13-4:15…
Pacer :Geena Gall 2:50 at 1km
Photograph: Paul Merca
This exact time last year (Jan 2015) I was entered in the UW invite 3km, and feeling pretty fit. Week of race I had pain in my right calf from a session of 400m reps… I scratched from the race as a ‘smart decision’ in hope to race at the UW husky invite two weeks later. 15 weeks of injury followed that initial calf pain. I would run for 10-12 minutes and my lower leg/calf would cramp up, triggering my soleus to refuse to work. I would have to stop almost immediately and was told it was a pinched nerve in my ankle. Pretty frustrating.
It was a rough year with 21 weeks of injury total. Sadly I didn’t get to race too much on the track in 2015.
With 5 1/2 months of health since early September 2015, some very careful and considerate decisions thought out by my coach and some really solid workouts, I felt confident and that I was ready to run a decent opener …
Leading up to the Race
(You can check out most of my workouts on the Sweat Mobile App.)
Last weekend I did a hard 1200 in 3:32 (negative split and 70 sec average…going through the km in 2:54…4:40 mile pace) on a wet windy day- this gave me the impression that 67.5 pace on a flawless, fast indoor track would be a breeze????
I felt fit and strong, workouts have been going great, ‘Beast mode Charlotte‘ was back in my head (she’s an animal btw) and racing is all about confidence right?
Most of my confidence stemmed from how easy I felt on my time trial, consistent training and thinking that I’m an experienced 1500 meter runner. I visualized seeing 3 laps to go and taking off like a rocket… (Ha, not quite how it went…) but props to Shelia Reid for picking up my slack.
Race day schedule
I hate having dull hair and always want to brighten it up, I use Purple shampoo to keep brassy blonde at bay and I make my own coconut hair mask for some good hair hydration.
Luckily I wasn’t travelling for this meet so I got to hang out with my pup, she’s a mega babe and super fluffy like a soft blanket.
Pre Race Fueling
I’m one of the few in the USA who absolutely hates peanut butter. But I do miss the benefits of it and have learned to enjoy some awesome alternatives. Cashew Butter is my go-to and I eat it for breakfast on a crumpet with some oatmeal.
On my playlist
Periscope covered the race, you can watch it online somewhere, when I find the link I’ll post it up here.
– I am healthy, which means I was able to represent my great sponsor Hoka One One and my awesome club Team Run Eugene.
-Travel was minimal. I have an apartment 1.2 miles away from the House of Track so I just cruised on over there in around 5minutes.
-I was lining up with 5 awesome teammates.
-Geena Gall was pacing. She did a great job and looked extremely comfortable running a 2:50km.
-I was brave… I went after it with confidence.
-I felt comfortable and strong for 2/3 of the race.
– Lining up and racing is not enough for me, I want to race well. My spirit animal is apparently a wolverine according to a quiz I took last night… “You’re the best at whatever you choose to do, because you give yourself no alternative” – yeh I hate losing and I hate not reaching my goals.
-The wheels came off big time. 1km feeling fresh, 1100m feeling like a train wreck. How much of it was physical fitness and how much was mental defeat when a competitor flew past me?
-I was on my Period- Although I’m very thankful to get my period naturally every month and see it as a sign of health, it sure as hell does jack up my hormones and make be feel pretty crappy for a few days.
-I left my race sports bra in Eugene. Massive rookie error, I wore a singlet, but I’m a big believer in minimal racing outfits. I’m a ‘Look swell, Race well’ type of girl.
My last 400m was pretty darn ugly… Yes Shelia Reid is ‘making it look easy’ (and she’s very far from ugly, it’s great to see her healthy and back in action)- Thank you TracktownUSA for the picture.
What I learned:
-That it’s okay to not feel good on your first race of the year. It will not determine how your season will go unless you let it- 2 years ago I opened up with 4:33 mile (fastest opener ever, this did not roller coaster into an epic year for me) It all depends how you build on each race.
-Local races in Oregon consist of three Olympians.
-That my race was lacking a piece of rungum…I’ve experimented racing with and without rungum and I’m very close to being hooked. I will chew it before my next one.
-That having a ‘team‘ post collegiately is the best thing ever. 6 of us on the starting line was one to remember…
-That the base training I’m still doing will make me strong as hell for outdoors but holding 67’s is still a shock to the body at this stage in training…
-That maybe I was being too ambitious? My hard 1200m repeat last weekend created a change in my race approach. It went from ‘fun, awesome opener with zero pressure’ into, ‘omg this felt easy, im fit and ready to throw one down at the House of Track’ this was all driven by me and not my coach- this lead to unnecessary pressure and to achieve my goal it would have called for a stand out race after a long hiatas of not competing. Was this realistic?
-My strength is to race (Animal Charlotte mode), not to time trial. Always stick to your strengths!
-I was brave, I went with the pace and I believe I gained fitness benefits from going out hard for a km.
I’ll be back in action in a couple of weeks at the House of Track on Feb 5th. Event TBD.
For those that just wanted the results page…