But still, going into this I didn't have the best attitude and something didn't feel right. I've felt really fatigued all week, as if I still hadn't recovered from my 2 races last weekend. Or, it could be that I'm having trouble adjusting to actually running most of my miles -- with the hamstring tendon issue I've been having and the flu I got from Vaulterboy, I was doing mostly cross-training and just started switching back to actual running this week.
Back to the race... My coach and I had the plan of just sitting back and letting everyone pull me and then to start working my way up starting at the mile mark. Under no circumstances was I supposed to be leading the race at any point before that. Well, there was no danger of me ever leading that race. I started out conservatively, as my coach told me to, at the very back of the pack. There was a lot of traffic and I just wanted to stay away from all the elbows and spikes. I remember thinking "We're going so SLOW" and the pack was starting to get away from me, so I started moving up a lap earlier than planned. Then, at the mile mark, Amy Wilfert from Tufts made a crazy big move to try to break everyone up and, for the most part, everyone went with her. I assumed some of them would get tired and come back to me, so I just didn't worry about it and held my pace. By the time I realized that no one was coming back, it was too late. I didn't have enough room to get back up with the group. I finished 8th in 10:24.9, my 2nd fastest 3k ever and good for 1 point for the team.
My coach seemed happy with it and my teammates all said I looked great... I don't usually voice my disappointment in a race, but I really am disappointed with myself. I never put myself in a position to actually be a part of that race. I was never in it. But disappointment doesn't do you any good unless you learn something from it. On my long cool-down along the Charles River (it was beautiful!) I realized that I learned 2 things yesterday:
- It can be very counterproductive to think of any track as a "slow track." If you do that, you've already resigned yourself to running slow before you even start. Maybe I've historically run rather slow at the MIT track, but yesterday was an opportunity to run fast and I missed that opportunity because I had a bad attitude about the facility. Lesson learned.
- It's okay to make plans for races, but you also need to be flexible. There are other people in a race and their plans aren't always going to line up with yours. If you want to actually be a part of the race, you need to be willing to change your plans in response to what's going on around you.
Up Next: NEICAAA (Open New England) Championships at BU - 3k on 2/26