How to win a road race

If you happen to glance down at the post below, you will note that I wrote I was more interested in running a fast time at the Ed Erichson 5 miler than I was in winning.  Alas, it was not to be.  I did not run a particularly fast time, but I did win the race.

Having a bad hair day
Having a bad hair day

When I made my return to road racing 10 years ago I was very concerned with winning races.  I don’t remember the exact race, but it took about a year before I finally won a 5k and my time must have been in the mid 17’s.  I’ve won a fair number of races since then at distances from 800 meters to 25K, sometimes with good times (for me anyway) and sometimes with not so good times.  I’ve learned over the years that it is nice to win a race, but I get much more satisfaction from a race well run than a race simply won.

Should I be thrilled that I won the Ed Erichson 5 miler this weekend?  By mile 1 I had a minute lead, and by the finish my lead was 5 minutes.  A bit of a hollow victory.  After the first mile I just went into cruise control mode and dropped from 5:20 pace to 5:30 pace for the rest of the race.  I told myself I was playing it safe, and setting myself up for a better race a week later at Johnny’s.  That may be a good reason, but the truth was, I just wasn’t motivated enough to run at race effort if I didn’t have to.  Contrast that with the Bergen 5k 2 years ago.  There I ran 16:15, my 2nd fastest road 5k ever, and I finished in 28th place.  Which race should I feel better about?

Anyone can win a race, and I do mean anyone. (I guess there is one person who is the slowest in the world but the other 7 billion could in theory win a race.)  It all depends on who decides to show up. Next weekend is Johnny’s Runnin’ of the Green.  If I have a great race I might finish in the top ten and win a bottle of wine.  I can’t wait to get my ass-kicked. Cheers to competition.

Ed Erichson 5 Mile Results.

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