Me and my lady.
Sometimes she gets lazy and I carry her.
I decided it’s finally time for me to be a biker.
If you know me, you might be confused by that statement. I own enough bikes and related equipment to have an entire sun porch dedicated to them.
But, in addition to the fact that I took a hiatus from even commuting by bike after my traumatic car-meets-me on bike accident, I have never raced nor even clocked my speed on a bike. It’s only been a hobby, a way to exercise and a form of commuting. I have been contemplating a bike race or duathlon for some time, but it wasn’t until my recent running frustration that I decided my racing life needed something completely new.
I am working on coming back from my injuries – finally – but I am fighting against myself. I am so stubborn and self-competitive that it’s not working. I am getting frustrated because my times are not competitive. My times are not what they used to be. I know it will take time. I know I need to just let it happen. But I can’t. I can’t stop comparing today’s race times to yesterday’s. I tried running a distance that I have never done before. That was a little better. I got a personal record in that distance, but my average mile time was still posted and was still a full minute 15 seconds slower than my average pace this time last year.
Everyone had advice. Lots of advice.
Finally, I have figured out, for myself, what I think might work: a whole new race modality. I am going to get on my bike and start clocking my speed. And guess what? No matter what time it is, I have zero knowledge of my pre-injury average pace!
So … Hi. My name is Sally and I’m a biker!
Now about getting a road bike … anyone looking to help a broke, new biker out … one that only has hybrid and mountain bikes? 🙂
Do you chase a time or the win?
When I started running races, I always ran to chase a certain time. I wanted to PR (get a personal record) every time I ran. I was often placing in the top 10 percent of runners, but I was nowhere near winning. For me, the races were all about beating myself. I wanted to go faster than I did before.
Chasing a PR is a great goal. But lately I have learned that there comes a time when you have to stop chasing a number on the watch and start focusing on just winning or catching the racer in front of you. When you start finishing in the top few runners, beating that one runner in front of you can make a huge difference. Also, some races are just going to be slower. Maybe it’s the race conditions or maybe it’s just a slower mix of runners that signed up. Regardless, if a 22 minute 5k time will get you the win, why run it in 19? Better to stay fresh so that you don’t need as much recovery time.
This weekend at the Colgate Games for women in track and field, I really had to remember this strategy. My first race was the 1500 meters. I went in with a tight hip and hamstring. Nearing the end of the race, I had secured my place in 10th. I wouldn’t be able to catch the runner in front of me. So I made the decision to lay back a little and save the energy for my second race. My time sounded miserable, but I still placed 10th, same as I would have if I had pushed myself to exhaustion.
My second race was the 800 meters (half a mile). I took off slow. We all did. But then there was another runner that wanted to cut over in front of me. I heard her coach tell her to cut me off and take the inside of the track. And my competitive fire was lit. I refused to let her in. I ran hard. We raced side-by-side for a few laps before she was able to cut over. But I chased my competition. I wanted it more. I caught her and passed her, taking 7 seconds off my best time at the same time.
Do you have a strategy when you run?