by Carmen Graves
Yesterday morning I ran my first indoor track race of the season. I ran the 3k at the JDL Fast Track facilities in Winston-Salem. Special thanks and congratulations to Craig Longhurst for the hospitality and for putting on such a successful event this early in the indoor season!
This was my second time ever running in the 3k event. Ironically, during this time before Christmas break last year, I ran the 3k my first time at the Liberty Kickoff. Let's compare... Last year I ran 10:15.9, and this year I ran 9:40! Huge improvement and still some improvements to look forward to.
During the race I felt relatively comfortable until the last couple laps. Yes I confess, I got a little lazy and I now know that I should have pushed harder earlier on. But, whoever has ran on an indoor track before can't blame me for “zoning out,” because nobody can disagree that it's extremely easy to get a little lazy while running 15, 200 meter loops.
The thoughts that can cross your mind in under 10 minutes when your body is running on autopilot can be humorous. I always wonder what other runners think about for such a long time. Even though distance races always seem very repetitive indoors, I had a couple nice distractions during the race that I was able to experience approximately every 39 seconds, for 15 consecutive times.
For one, I was thankful to hear my parents cheer for me during the race. My parents, Gary and Sharon, always manage to make it to each of my competitions. They also somehow pull off sitting in the same spot no matter which stadium they go to (which I find a tad compulsive). They are as goofy as can be, especially when spotted together. You most definitely will find them sitting directly in front of the finish line at the top of the stands. If you spot a couple near this location (a woman who appears she may pass out from nerves at any second and a man who appears he has drank way too much coffee that morning) you have found them. After the race I told my parents that I could hear them cheering for me in the stands, which was a nice distraction. My dad quickly and seriously responded, “NO, I didn't cheer this time. I didn't want to mess up your mom.” Hahaha, ooookay?
Apart from the distraction of my mom's loud cheers, I also noticed I was being photographed almost every lap. I know for a fact that the first few shots had to be horrible! This is because I tend to squint my eyes when I run so they always look closed. I made sure by the third or fourth lap to open my eyes a bit more and pose for the camera. Hopefully I didn't overcompensate with bug eyes!
Oh well. The take home message is that sometimes living in the present and embracing the distractions are good during long distance races. For example, noticing my mom cheering gave me an extra boost. However, sometimes immediate distractions can take you too far away from the race; like in my case, trying to strike a pose for the camera!