I’m trying to take some time to catch up on a few events and prepare for the huge media blitz for my Scott Firefighter Stair Climb, so this post is a little overdue. The event was back on October 11th and gave me my best time yet. Something to take away from this is that in life, and in our runs, climbs, and events we are going to hit those mental, physical, and spiritual (whatever you believe) blocks that going to come. The important part is recognizing them, refocusing, redirecting, and moving past them to the finish. Sometimes you deal with it right after, sometimes, later that day or week, and other times puking on the course might be that block that you can immediately get rid of and get back in gear.
I signed up for the event for a few reasons, the ZERO Prostate Cancer run in Columbus lets just say is a cause that means a lot to several people that I know. It was not only friends or family that are important, but also Brotherhood of individuals that are at a high risk for prostate cancer. I couldn’t pass it up. It just so happened that it somehow fell on the right weekend where I wasn’t already busy and was spaced well between other events. I had some more time to train and hit it to get ready.
It was a cool morning, actually for me it felt extremely cool at the start and I wasn’t quite sure what the running gear was going to be. Last year at this time I still had a higher body fat percentage and handled the cool weather differently, so it definitely meant no running singlet that’s for sure. A light long sleeve layer under my UA jersey that I am really going to miss when its worn out, shorts, and bright compression socks. Yes I am growing into that kind of runner that’s bright, neon, and eye catching…but I love it.
I can’t say enough about some of the pre-race, pre-climb, pre-game changes that I have made that feel like they make an impact. Be it the meals that week, the meal the night before, to the food that day, these changes have helped immensely. One of the bigger things however that has made a different is expanding my stretch and warm-up phase by adding yoga to it. Laying that mat out, turning on the playlist, getting more than the body ready I can “get my mind right.” Finishing my routine I pulled off the warm-ups and headed to the start line a few minutes ahead of time.
I positioned myself where I wanted to be at in the lineup. With timing chips on the back of the bib number I wasn’t too worried about getting out first, but I don’t like to be at the back of the pack. I know pretty close what my pace is that I want and placing myself in the wrong spot has messed up my timing before.
I took off on the right song, and step for step I seemed to be in the right rhythm that I needed. I knew the course because I ran it a couple weeks prior (another PR) and knew when I needed to change up my stance, and just when I might want to change my speeds a little to make a difference. Wow, was the path through the woods a little cool that morning.
The run felt great, it felt perfect mostly, until I got to the halfway point when I changed things up too much. This water stop was on the turnaround and not close quarters. I wasted a few seconds there that I know I was off pace longer than my previous run. I quickly found my pace again, but probably my biggest change of pace came in the last ¾ mile stretch. I was on the last stretch of path before I transitioned to the roadway where I hit a mental block that quickly turned to a physical one. I hadn’t experienced something like that since Seattle at the Firefighter Stair Climb, but there it was. Maybe it was some of the signs along the way, maybe it was the event, maybe just a bad day, but the urge to hurl on the course was there. It was a brief block, but enough to throw me off. I recognized it, changed the song in my playlist and took off. My watch told me I would be close, my splits looked good to this point and I could see the finish and a time that was within reach. I pushed through the archway and collapsed on the sidewalk seeing that I had the PR, but I didn’t know by how much. I thought 15 seconds better than my last run, but the time of 23:36, 11th place and my fastest mile time ever was going to do. I shaved 9 seconds off this course in a few weeks.
If you get a chance to run this route from the Creekside Plaza or have an event hosted, do so. There are some nice rolling hills and in the fall a gorgeous view. There is more than ample parking around there, outdoors restrooms, a great starting point, and nearby establishments to hydrate/celebrate at afterwards. All in all it was another great event to pay forward and make a difference.