Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Showing Pride and Racing Confidence

Thanks for all the supportive comments and positive feedback on my 5 mile race this past weekend. Although I've been consciously downplaying the significance of my performance to myself after the fact as "just another race", subconsciously I knew this result was a big confidence booster for me because it providing some objective evidence that I was finally over my illness that thwarted my spring marathon attempt, and finally over the persistent right knee/ankle pain that had been bothered me all through May. Even though I didn't push myself to the max and was never in real danger of overextending myself, I proved to me that I was almost back to running well and racing fast again. (BTW, did you know that my last semi-decent race prior to this weekend was over two months ago, in the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in Washington DC? Every race since then has involved an injury or an illness of some kind - and in one, not even my own! It has been a long time coming!) Prior to this race, I'd been forcing myself to hold back both physically and mentally. Even though I was running consistently, I was not ready to challenge myself for fear of pain and injury. The setbacks I experienced a month or so ago really took a huge toll on me mentally. At least now I can say, for the most part, I'm mostly recovered. Almost.

Come to think of it, it's so weird how the mind works. One week I'm thinking that I'm in no condition to race. The next week comes and I'm challenging myself to race a sub-5:50 mile in front of the local high school track team. This latest show of provoked arrogance was unintended but definitely fueled by disrespect. It occurred as I was "borrowing" part of the neighborhood high school track for 800m intervals. The track team, lead by their fearless captain who must have been a high school senior, was running mile drills around the track at the outer lanes while I was running my 800s on the inner lanes. Since I was the "outsider" using the track, I purposefully slowed my pace down whenever I could hear the pack of five or six boys coming from the back towards me. Since they weren't running faster than 5:45-6:00 miles, it was up to me to slow down to allow them to pass. As they passed, I could feel their eyes penetrating my skin, and hear their remarks directed at me. At one point, I remember a kid whispering to his teammate within earshot of me "Why is this old guy running on our track? He looks kinda slow." I was shocked by their attitude but waited until after they were done with their sets to make my statement. As the entire team laid on the grass next to the track for recovery, I asked one of the guys who had a handy stopwatch, the same one who gave me eyes and called me old and slow, to time me for a 1600m run. He looked puzzled but obliged. I then went to work. I laced up my shoes and proceeded to bust out a 1600 m run at 5:30 pace in front of the entire high school track team. After I was done, I asked for my time, thanked him for timing me, and walked away from the stunned crowd without saying a word. Needless to say, there were no whispers, no jokes, no sounds...just eyes staring at my back because I just ran a mile faster than most of them can and more importantly, faster than any of them ever imagined I can!

Not bad for an old guy who ain't yet too old to steal the show once in a while. Right?


EZEthan said...

ahh... the arrogance of youth... you really shouldn't let them get to you like that... then again, that story is pretty amusing.

When I was in high school my long distance coach was in his mid-40's, would train with us, and was running sub-2:40 marathons so getting beat by the "old" guy was pretty much an everyday thing.

Jamie said...

That's awesome! Way to show those high schoolers!

Jesse said...

That's fantastic! I wish I could have been there to see the look on their faces

As an aside, I always just assumed that all high schoolers who were on the track team could run sub-5 minute miles. Maybe I don't need to feel quite so intimidated next time I see them on the track.

The Laminator said...

Glad you all liked the story...

@EZEthan - That's cool! I never ran in HS or college. See, I missed out!

@Jamie - Thanks! I saw it more as an excuse to run fast.

@Jesse - It was kinda funny. Yeah, I've seen those kids run before so I knew I could at least keep up with most of them.

J said...

HAHA Hilarious about showing up the track boys! way to go Lam! That's how its done!! Have a great weekend and happy 4th of July!

Michelle said...

AWESOME LAM. Love this so much. You really made that 1600m your bitch!!!!

Those kids never saw it coming!!!!

Happy July 4th to you and I hope you have some great runs this weekend!!!!

Julie said...

Cheers to the old guy stealing the high school track! This was so great Lam! I have to hand it to your for staying so calm and cool! I would of not been able to contain my anger and most likely would of said something....not so nice:) Go you!

Holy crap, how fast did you do that mile!?!

I hope that you have a fantastic holiday weekend Lam!

Anonymous said...

Lam, sounds like you had something to prove to yourself, not just to those high schoolers. Because honestly, who gives a f*ck what a bunch of snot-nosed teenagers think, ever?

Are you running the Fifth Avenue Mile this year? I signed up for it last week at the same time I registered for the Queens Half-Marathon.

lindsay said...

i hear ya lam. i feel like i've been dragging for months with my running/racing. similar to you, but still a little different of course.
glad you are on the road of "recovery" :) hope i join you soon! haven't had the guts to race, really... (what if i'm still 'off'?)

Lauren said...

Oh my gosh this story is freaking AWESOME. You're badass!!!!

The Laminator said...

More feedback-

J - It wasn't so much about showing them up but to show them that I'm not as slow as they think I am.

Michelle - Thanks, M! I'm not a track maniac so I don't usually do 1600, so it was fun just to try and get a time!

Julie - I was outnumbered so I wasn't going to make any trouble. After all, I was running on their track. Still, I think the boys found the old guy running a 1600 slightly entertaining =P

Pigtailsflying - Yes, it was definitely more for me, than for them. I wanted to see what I could do for 1600 since I've never raced that distance before. I'm so glad you're doing Queens. Yay for representing the hood! But no, I won't be running the 5th Avenue Mile because I will be out of town that weekend.

Lindsay - you won't know whether you're "still off" until you try. Who just might surprise yourself. And worse case scenario, you do'd still learn something about yourself. So...JUST DO IT!

Lauren -, not really. Just having a little fun!

sRod said...

Lam! Sorry I've disappeared for a while.

Way to go on the track! Repeats are always more fun when you have an audience--particularly if you have to school that audience.

However, I can see how those boys were fooled. You're so peaceful and zen when you run, they would have no clue that you you're packing 530 miles in those legs.

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