The juniors had a 3k TT on the schedule last Tuesday, so I figured it's about time for me to do one, too. The plan was to bike over to Wellesley and join them, but about a km from my house I broke my chain. I've never done that before, and definitely wasn't expecting it - when I commute I carry a tube and some allen wrenches, but nothing more. I considered skipping the 3k - maybe this was a sign that things just weren't going to go well. Maybe it would be better to just go for some intervals, a controlled measure of hurt. But by the time I'd walked my bike home, I'm gotten myself mentally prepped for 3k pain.
I was on my own for this - obviously it would be easier to run with people around and on fresh legs, but I had neither. I'm coming off some volume, and though last week marked the beginning of a short taper for the North American Orienteering Championships, it was only Tuesday. I figured that I wouldn't have much snap, but hopefully I could just beast it out and get a respectable result. My A goal was 11:22, the vdot equivalent of the 5k I ran last December, but B goal/I'll-be-happy-with-this was 11:39, my PR. C goal was 11:50, and while I was really hoping I wouldn't see the C goal, I didn't have any sense of where my fitness is right now, other than slightly suppressed from high volume the past few weeks.
My legs felt fine in the warmup, but pretty flat when I tried to speed up. Ah well, run what you brung. I was trying real hard to pump myself up, brainwash myself into being a badass, but the brain wasn't buying it today. Remember the name was in my head - "This is 10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrated power of will, 5% pleasure, 50% pain..." not a bad race song. Eventually I couldn't put it off any longer, and started the lonesome torture fest. It's such an accumulated pain tolerance sort of test, the first part always feels so easy, but you just know how much it will hurt, so soon. I'm not sure I'll do another one of these alone again, but I do feel accomplished now that it's done.
I started too fast - was on track for A goal, but things started to get difficult around the mile marker. I started to notice the wind, for one, and by 2k I was definitely feeling the burn in my legs. Breathing switched from 2/2 to 2/1, and with 600m to go I'd definitely transitioned to the point in a race where it's your head, not your legs, that's in charge. Because the legs had long since disappeared. Full on wheeze-y freight train breathing; I think I really scared some guy who was walking around the track; that last 200 was ugly. I think the whole point of doing a race is just so that stopping can feel so. good. My god that was painful. But, I set a new PR! Not by much, but I'll take my 11:32 and run with it, no pun intended. I get to go in to NAOC with full confidence about my physical fitness. Now what's this orienteering stuff?