March 13, 2018
March 13, 2018
It’s 9:30 on this Saturday and today I'm running in the Louie Bing Invitational, one of the largest track meets in South Florida. My race is at 3:30 P.M., so I have plenty of time to relax. I pop a bagel in the toaster for a good, carbohydrate-packed breakfast. No cream cheese, since dairy should be avoided on race days. After some homework, I pack up my race bag and head out. My teammate Zac Vincennie and I ride down together. I'm not feeling very nervous, mainly because I don’t expect to win. I’m running the two-mile race and my goal is 11 minutes. I have never raced a two-mile before, but I am confident enough in my mile times to feel that the goal is within reach. During the drive, the jitters start to hit, and I lose any hunger I was feeling. I force down a banana with peanut butter, and snack on a nut bar later.
We arrive at the meet around 2:00 P.M., early enough to relax and talk strategy. My coach Doug Horn gives me a pen to write my goals on my hand so I can see them during the race. Will Noonan, one of my team captains, arrives, and we go to warm up. Once we’re warm, we lace up our spikes and head to the starting line. My stomach is doing somersaults and my confidence is shaken. The gun goes off, and so do the 30-plus runners in this two-mile heat. I am near the back of the pack, while Will and Zac are near the front. This heat is the fastest of the two-mile heats, meaning that I will be racing against some of the speediest runners in the area. After just a minute on the track, I realize I’ve gone out too fast. I run my first lap nine seconds faster than I wanted. I might regret that later.
As the race goes on, my pace slows. On the fifth lap, the runner I’d been shadowing starts to pull away. I hang on for two more laps, and then really start to hurt. I’m pouring sweat and gasping for air as I round the bend for the seventh lap. I'm falling further behind the runner I’d been tailing. After what seemed like an eternity, I hit the homestretch of the final lap. I’m completely drained as I cross the finish line. My throat is parched and I can hardly move. I find Zac and Will, and we exchange high-fives. I missed my goal by only a few seconds, running an 11:06, but I'm still disappointed because of my inconsistent pace. I want to sulk, but Zac and Will offer me moral support. We hang out to watch our teammates and captains Chris French and Rylee Pustilnik run the mile finals. Chris ran at an incredible pace and took third in a photo finish, while Rylee took off on the last two laps to finish second in her race.
On the ride home, we take to Snapchat to congratulate Chris and Rylee for their awesome races. Rylee tells me not to be disappointed, and adds that she feels the same way after placing second. After a long day, I arrive home, completely burnt out. I take a shower and reflect on my race today. My goals of a 4:50 mile and 10:50 two-mile are still there, and I am getting closer. I crash around 10:30 and dream of winning my first race.