For the last three years the first weekend of October has found me on the starting line of the Condor 25k, a race in the nearby MacDonald Forest. The race celebrates the life of Dave “Condor” Bateham. I had a two year win streak going into this year’s race, including last year’s 1:55 CR, and while I would’ve loved to keep the streak going, but I didn't feel like I was in any place to be racing.
Did you just read that??! See what I mean about wiser!? Back in my youth, like 4 months ago, I couldn't get enough racing. I love the whole race atmosphere, the meeting of like minded individuals, the challenge, and the effort. But being a "racer" has a serious flaw: I only know how to race at races, and while I have done many runs for the purpose of training and not necessarily at my peak, when I pin the bib on, I go into race mode, meaning I give whatever I have for that day.
But I am pretty convinced that a hard 25k (on top of a big training week with all of life's other stresses) is what did me in for States. And while I made it through AC respectably (with some struggles that last 26), I was totally destroyed after that race. This whole summer feels like I have been merely surviving the race scene, not thriving, and with no real training since June - just big races and recovery- honestly my fitness has been off, too. I feel like I just got back on track with training - though much behind where I should be for Worlds - and that another race, no matter how "short" would only derail that.
So I pulled out. Or at least I tried to! But the RD is a good friend and she told me I had to run because she had specially assigned me bib #40. So instead I ran it with my good friend Sharon, enjoying the day and helping her to her goal of breaking 3:30. She finished in 3:29:35! Sorry, no pictures - the photographers apparently don't hang out for the back of the pack runners! (Seriously?? ok, that's just rude!)
Afterwards, my friend John said, "Wow, Pam, you are going to ruin your Ultrasign-up score!" I just laughed. Really, is that what we run for?? Impressive Ultrasignup scores?? Not me! Besides, my 2012 Western States already took care of that and that was when I was trying to race!
So I thought I would turn 40 and capitalize on my master status at all the races, but it turns out now I am able to go to races to capitalize on the experience, the camaraderie, and the beauty of the day. Sheesh, I am practically mellow in my old age! And so I signed up for another race with no intention of racing! - the Autumn Leaves 50k on Oct. 25. Don't worry, I still plan to bring my 'A' game for the costume contest!