Brea 8k Recap: Lessons Learned From a Difficult Day

So I raced the Brea 8k this morning and it didn't go well.  But it's mostly my fault.  I learned a great deal from this morning and have some new training ideas I want to experiment with.  So luckily I'm making light of the situation.  

     The race itself was pretty good.  The course had a great deal of hills that I didn't respect and they bit me in the ass.  Not like a kinky bite.  It was a full on chomp.  Again, also my fault.  Always respect the hills.  I had some pretty awesome competition to go up against, which I haven't had much of for a while.  Finally decided to step up with some of the big dogs.

    The race started out quick and I settled in with the lead pack.  Despite a warning from one of my new Cal Coast teammates Roosevelt Cook (who finished 2nd), I was antsy and jumped into the lead and surged a bunch for the first 2 miles.  I decided I was going to try to drop everyone at the start of the main long hill (2 miles in), so I put in a huge surge.  Which didn't work.  I died.  Another of my new Cal Coast teammates (one who got 3rd) passed me and I did everything I could to hold on for the remaining 2.5 miles.  I came in at 25:49 for 5th place, a solid minute off my PR and the slowest I'd run in a while.

    But honestly?  That's what I get for surging like an idiot high school freshman.... and also running with a bad sinus infection.  Which I knew I shouldn't have.  I'm probably going to get more sick now that I went out and ran hard this morning....

    So yeah.  I don't get sick very often, but when I do (see above picture) I get really bad sinus infections.  And after an intense week last week in PT school, my body clearly was toasted.  Friday night my sinuses started closing, my throat started getting raw, phlegm was building up like crazy and I was generally feeling pretty crappy.  But I raced anyway.  Why?  Because I'm an idiot.

     Ok.  So I'm not a total idiot.  Just a partial one.  I wanted to come out and race for the new club I am now a member of:  The Cal Coast Track Club.  You're probably seeing a new banner on the right side of my blog.  I was excited to represent them for the first time and I wasn't going to let a sinus infection stop me.  I'll come back healthy in the future and do awesome things for them.  It's awesome getting to race alongside people like Roosevelt Cook, who is a very fast runner that is much more accomplished than I.  He mentioned a few stories racing some of the best people in the country, including Bernard Lagat in the mile (he ran 4:05 while Bernard ran 3:55 something, but they're both still really fast).  Roosevelt is just a little bit away from hitting the B-Standard for the Olympic Trials in the Marathon.  I will definitely be rooting for him.  He's also the one that tried to calm me down at the beginning of the race, but like usual I didn't listen, took things out really hard at about mile one and then you know the rest.

    So a couple good things did happen this morning.  It was really nice to meet and be a part of that group.  Plus I got a good tempo effort in as 5:11 pace is around my tempo pace and I usually do 5 miles for my tempos.  So it all worked out.  Plus my real focus is next weekend winning the Dairy Aire 5k, which like I mentioned in one of my earlier posts is part of the Triple Crown, which I am trying to triple win.  So far so good.  One more race to go.

Oh.  Those lessons.

1.  Be patient and don't be a dumbass.  That second part is something I should have learned from my college coach from UPS.  My nickname was dumbass if you didn't know (it was mostly "Kleiner", but "Dumbass" was a close second).  Because I did a lot of stupid stuff and asked a lot of questions because I was really curious about training and was working way too hard to run fast.  I couldn't wait to push the pace during this race and I started pushing it at mile 1.  I know from experience that I don't run races well that go out really hard and where I surge a great deal.  My best races start with me running fast and relaxed the first part and basically doing a progression run during the race.  Slowly increase the pace until I'm going balls out at the end.  Instead of just trying to hang on.

2.  Relax.  I run fastest when I run relaxed.  My previous 8k PR of 24:51 was set while I running "Fast and Relaxed" (another favorite expression of my college coach).  It was at the 2012 NCAA DIII West Regional Championships where I started out in dead last and worked my way all the way up to 10th place.  This  also qualified me for DIII Nats, which I had the pleasure of attending with another sinus infection.  During the Brea 8k, I was great the first mile, but then I got antsy and surged a bunch.  Fatigue set in and I never recovered.  I need to learn to stay relax during races so I can focus on good mechanics.  That'll take work.  My form is still a work in progress.

3.  I need to work on my basic athleticism.  This was a thought that went through my head.  I'm not an athletic person.  I can just run because I've worked at it for many years.  And I've worked very hard.  Too hard.  Many of the best runners started off in another sport that tended to develop their overall athleticism.  I'm going to be adding in more plyometric stuff and will be working on my general leg strength quite a bit more.  Let the exercise experimenting begin (or continue.  It's never really stopped with me).

4.  I need to be doing more set workouts.  The Fartleks are nice, but I may start just doing those during normal runs.  I need to be doing more Hill In/Outs, Sprints, 400s, etc.  Today I guess can count for a good tempo run.  I'm need to find a track somewhere because another favorite workout of mine is doing a 4-5 mile Strider workout (sprint the straight, run the turn).  That's essentially a In/Out workout if done right.  I'll find a place to do that.  And I also need to run more workouts with John as he pushes me really hard during the short stuff.  He has much more leg speed than I do.

     So yeah!  The future looks bright despite the storm today.  At least I got a 1st place Age Group medal.  I'm excited to be part of the Cal Coast track club.  They're a really fun group.  I can't thank Ford Fuji for having me along.

     This race probably didn't look good, so if Saucony and Skechers don't consider me I'm not surprised.  Since Cal Coast is sponsored by Asics, I'm going to look into them to see what kinda of sponsorship they offer through the team.  I know it sounds like I'm just a free gear/footwear whore (which I am) but PT school is expensive!  Free stuff is always good.

   Back to studying now.

Thanks for reading!

As always, my thoughts are my own.

Tack On!

-Matthew Klein, SPT

*UPDATE: While I did not win the individual title, apparently I helped lead the Cal Coast Open team to the Open Division team victory.  Glad to be part of a team again.