This is a first for me: actually participating in Jill’s Monday Brain Exchange ... on a Monday. Someone hold the presses.
Today topic of discussion: What were your Best and Worse Races of 2010, and what made them so?
Given I only ran in three races, it was easy to narrow down my list but difficult to eliminate one of them because all three were wonderful in their own right. What may be more instructive is my very brief deconstruction of what made each a winner for me.
My best time came from this summer’s Scripps Ranch 10k, and I actually outlined in my race review why things went as well as they did. Being familiar with a course often brings on a PR over the previous year’s efforts. You know what to expect and where you are likely to need to shore up mental or physical sagging. Having ideal weather is key too.
I also posted a better-than-expected time in the Balboa 8 Miler, and this time I credit my friend Alexis. We stuck together the first half and talked, which provided me a nice distraction. I also am one of those people who run more quickly when carrying on a conversation. Some people may get the same effect running with music, but nothing makes the miles fly by like catching up with an old friend, especially one that’s a wee bit faster than you.
My worst time was this fall’s Buffalo Alley 10k, but the course was my favorite. This trail run through Camp Pendleton offered the opportunity to climb a mountain and run with the Marines. Knowing from research that this was going to be difficult made the hard climbs more manageable both mentally and physically. Had I not known about the 1000-foot climb in the first 1.5 miles and the steep descent in the last part, I may have been thrown off my game. Instead, I trained for hills in preparation.
I think it’s also worth noting that none of these races was spectator-friendly. I’m definitely past the need for adulation from the crowds. In fact, I think I prefer it this way.