‘Sometime”s its pretty hard not to get too greedy with racing. I got a little greedy after my most recent breakthrough race, and tried to rebound for a fast 10k on July 4th. Instead of ”magical fireworks” I was hoping for at PeachTree – USATF 10K Championships, I lit a sparkler and got burned by it.I figured thirteen days after the USA Half Marathon Champs would be plenty of time to recover and get in at least one quality workout. The fitness doesn”t go anywhere with that quick of a turn around.
The week of July 4th rolled around and I somehow tried to get back into race mode. I nailed a pretty solid workout on Tuesday, and felt confident that I could pop off a serious PR, especially with how deep the field as going to be. The weather was actually really amazing in Atlanta. Humidity was low, and the temps were nice and cool in the morning.
4th of July. Race Day.
Started the morning off with a cup of coffee and the movie Independence Day with Will Smith. I was hoping I could catch the speech of the ”president” right before they were going to attack the aliens, but I only got about 30 minutes into the movie. Either way I was amped and ready to race.
“Welcome to Earf.”
We got over to the elite warm up area about an hour before the race and was able to chat with some friends. My legs were feeling a bit heavy on the warm up, and just doing my drills in general, but I didn’t really think anything of it.
The elite”s had their 15 minute warning, and then we were asked to head to the start line. This is where things got interesting.
Let me back up.. the bib I had received in the mail before I left for Atlanta, had a number on it instead of my last name. Almost every USATF Road Race I have been in, we usually get bibs with names on them instead of numbers. I thought this was a little strange, but didn’t really look too much into it.
ANYWAY, we all made our way to the start line, did our strides, and got ready to go.
We took a few steps behind the mat, and literally with two minutes before the gun goes off, the race director walks up to us and says; “ANYBODY THAT HAS A NUMBER ON THEIR BIB WILL BE STARTING 1 MINUTE BEHIND THE ELITE”S WITH NAMES ON THEIR BIBS.”
It took me a second to process, but basically myself and a handful of other elite runners were about to get the shaft and not get to race with everyone. I mean we aren’t trying to be arrogant or cocky, but we are more than capable of beating and competing with the best guys that have names on their bibs. This is the USATF Championship 10K Race, and we had been fast enough to get into this race. Why can”t we race with everyone else that qualified like we did?
A couple guys tried to protest and ask why we had to wait, but no explanation was given. The gun went off, the championship race sprinted away, and we just sat there and stared at them. I wanted to start raging, but we only had like 90 seconds until it was our turn. One minute goes by, and we still haven”t started. Then finally, they shoot the gun for us.
Immediately a pack of four guys take off, and I basically run the rest of the race chasing this pack. The first 3 miles are amazing, since it”s basically all down hill, but shit hit the fan the last three miles. Those heavy legs I talked about on the warm up.. well they came back to visit me on the last 5k. It felt like I was walking up these hills. With every step became the sudden realization that 13 days was not enough time to set a massive PR. Especially after setting a huge PR in the half marathon less than 2 weeks before.
I crossed the line. So relieved that I was done racing for a bit, but still so pissed off I missed an opportunity to compete with the best.
I grabbed some water, chatted with friends, then went for my cool down. I was heading to Asheville for a few days, and was just ready to drink some beer and eat some food.
Fast Forward to July 8th. I received a call from Rick Kenah, the Executive Director of the Atlanta Track Club. He was the gentleman that was informing us on the start line that we had to wait a minute or so to race. He personally called to apologize profusely for an internal error that happened in the month or so leading up to the race, when bibs were sent out. I was floored and just really happy he called to tell me he was sorry for the issue. He made it apparent that we actually were supposed to get bibs with our last names on it, but something had been mixed up during this process and we had numbered bibs. We spoke for a little bit more about the race itself, and how he knows what it”s like to not have the opportunity to race at a high level because of issues like that. He was very sincere and really left me feeling good about the whole mix up. It was a very classy and heartfelt gesture and I thank him for calling me. I know I will be going back to the race to once again attempt to race my ass off and set a road PR there next year.
I’m taking a few days off so that I can excessively eat good food and drink good beer. Then I will be back at it to really start prepping for a legitimate run at the marathon. Thanks to my sponsors and all the support. It”s been a great season. Bring on the summer training.