"It's a little self indulgent..." - My mom
"After I read a sentence, I get mad at myself for caring what you're doing." -Karl Dusen

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Worst Races #10

Steelers 5k, 2007- I know it's odd to put a 15:36 race as my 10th worst, but hear me out.

I came into the race on a 12-race winning streak, I had broken 15 minutes and a lot of my competitors. I broke 16 minutes on the Run for Roch course with a few hours' sleep. For the Steelers race -- a flat course on the North Side with no turnarounds, good competition, cool weather and ample preparation -- I should have dominated and PRed easily.

Instead, I blew it.
I started out in a dominant position. Ryan Erdly said I had a commanding lead during the first mile. How long that first mile lasted was up for debate, however. A course volunteer said five minutes as I passed, 10 seconds slower than my goal pace for the first two miles, but also not where I was expecting the mile mark. I immediately surged and kicked up my pace significantly, but started to slow right before the two mile mark, which I passed in 9:28. I didn't think I was capable of running 4:28 in the middle of a race, so I tend to think the first mile was a little long, which it indeed was, based on measurement with Dan Holland's wheel and the subsequent first mile timer placement in other years.
My struggles increased dramatically as I tied up when I covered the first half of the third mile, and some fellow in spandex shorts passed me and I didn't fight him, I just kept grabbing for some feeling of comfort by running as slowly as I could. On my way back to Heinz Field, 47-or-so-year-old Paul Zimmerman caught me. After June's Greenfield Glide, he told Mark Schwartz that he would have caught me, given another half mile, which was hogwash because I put 18 seconds on him in the last mile. I reeled him back in with the encouragement of Matt Meurer and Dave Hackworth and managed to gap him by three seconds. I won tickets to a game, but lost my true fighting instinct. Since then, I haven't felt in control of a race- even races where I have had minute-plus leads. The race broke my confidence, and so far two years later I haven't repaired it. The next week, I actually ran slower at IKEA. I capitulated to several runners in the Great Race and surrendered to a high schooler at the Pittsylvania 6k. The Philadelphia Marathon's 8k, the centerpiece of my fall racing, was a disaster, and I feel like I owe much of it to my poor racing at the Steelers race on a course I should have known well enough to be confident about the pacing.

The final results:
1.Josiah Lunenberger 15:17
2.Charlie Ban 15:36
3.Paul Zimmerman 15:39


  1. That's all it takes? Posting worst races??I had to work 1000x harder than that to get a date.