Remembering the Negatives

A few years ago when I was really learning ‘how’ to run again, my coach began emphasizing the importance of negative splitting.  Running faster at the end of a race that at the beginning.  It didn’t take much convincing.  I became a huge proponent of negative splitting in nearly every race, workout, or training session.  I got pretty good at it, running at least, it became very natural, I didn’t really have to work at it and it felt great!  Finishing a race or track session strong, passing people who were struggling, it made me feel like I knew something they didn’t.  I rarely got passed the second half of a running race or leg.  It got to the point that I’d have a really hard time positive splitting a workout when asked to.  (Turns out there is some value to that as well.)

I still believe firmly in the negative split, I just seem to have forgotten how…  or it certainly isn’t as automatic as it used to be!  A few weeks back my friends Carole and Kyle dragged me off the couch for 10 mile trail race a few miles from my house.  It was a great idea, I need a few of these things to spice up the offseason.

KB, me, and Carole pre race

It was a two lap course.  I didn’t know the route, but I knew the terrain.  I’ve run the park dozens of times.  Should be a pretty easy set up to go out easy, learn the course on the first lap, put the hammer down on the second.  So what happened? I dunno.

I suppose not warming up was partly to blame.  I felt like it tough to gauge my effort right off the bat.  I did a descent job of letting everyone go for the first mile and a half or so, but my HR was probably still too high.  Then I just started racing.  Before I knew it I was in catch everyone you can see mode and by the time I headed out on the second lap I knew this was not going to end well.

Part of what I love about passing someone so convincingly late in a race is that its so demoralizing.  You know that person is thinking, ‘no way can I hang on to that guy’ and you certainly try to pass them in a manner that makes them think exactly that.  How do I know its demoralizing?  Because it happened about half a dozen times on that last lap. There’s nothing like learning your lesson with 4 miles to go in a 10 mile trail race.  Ouch, man did those last few miles hurt.  Lungs, legs, pride…

Can you tell how bad this hurts?

All things said and done, it was a great time with my friends, a beautiful day, a helluva workout and a pretty good lesson to learn.  That’s what the off season is for, right?

Oh, and pizza! right Carole?


About acbeeson

Professional engineer, passionate triathlete, once a runner always a runner, Husker fanatic but CO is the place to be!
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