Sunday, July 28, 2013

European Adventures part deux


After my race in Heusden, I played the waiting game.  I took bets, changing my plans, and prepared myself mentally in the event that I was allowed to race in Monaco.  And two days before the event, I received the good news that I would be flying to the Riviera and competing in one of the most prestigious 5ks of the year.  Flying into Nice, France I was able to get my first glimpse of what awaited me.  Lined up on the tarmac were rows upon rows of private jets.  No big deal right?  On the short drive from Nice to Monaco, one could visually see the increase of wealth.  Lamborghinis, Rolls Royces, Ferraris, and Bentleys litter the sides of the roads.  Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Chanel occupy the small shops.  An espresso cost 10 Euro, and when asked where one could get lunch for under 20 Euro, the hotel concierge laughed and muttered, “you couldn’t even dine at the McDonalds for that.”  Sidewalks were (literally) paved in marble, a “jogging” sidewalk was made out of the same material as a running track, and Pellegrino flowed from the hotel’s shower head.  Okay, okay, that last one was made up, but still, the excess and wealth were dizzying.

The race itself proved to be fast.  Very fast.  I hung on in the first few laps, with the first 1k, 2k, and 3k being reached in faster times than I have ever spilt.  Unfortunately, things went downhill from there.  While the early pace was a bit quick for my liking, I made a few tactical errors that cost me dearly.  The leaders ended up running a world leading time, and multiple guys broke 13 minutes.  I finished alone in 8th.  While the time was not bad (13:13), I was disappointed I didn’t take the risk to hang on a bit longer.  I need to make the leap and not be afraid of failing.  Putting myself in uncharted territory is the only way to continue to learn and improve.

After Monaco I came down with a nasty cold and had to withdraw from my last European race.  I decided to return to New Hampshire early to be able to rest and recover.  Over the next few weeks I will plan out the rest of the summer and fall racing, and look forward to getting back on the track.  With my early summer European adventure behind me, I look forward to see what the rest of the summer will bring.

Until next time,

Ben
The famous curve on the Monte Carlo F1 course

Monte Carlo Casino

Port Hercule 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

European Tour, part 1

Groggy and with heavy legs, I arrived in Hasselt, Belgium for the start of my European tour.  A 5k in the neighboring town of Heusden was on the docket, and after three rather sleepless nights attempting to adjust to the time change, I toed the line.  After about 600 meters, my body was not responding well and I knew it would be a long night.  Finding myself in the front of a train of runners, I desperately tried to keep the pace honest, hoping that I would start feeling better and blow the cobwebs out of the system.  "Relax the shoulders, find a rhythm, relax the shoulders, find a rhythm" chanted throughout my head.  But the body was anything but relaxed.  The rest of the race did not fair any better,  but somehow, the body kept moving.  With a lap to go, I was able to muster enough strength to close hard and finish third in a new personal best of 13:11.  Shocked that I was able to run that time based on how I felt, I know that there is a lot more to take off this year.  I just hope to be able to find the right race to run it in.  Looks like I have only one possible race before the break for World Championships- a 5k in Monaco- that promises to be fast enough, but getting my name on the starting list is proving to be a difficult task.  If no Monaco, my European tour will take a hiatus and I will return to New Hampshire for a few weeks before a second trek across the pond to race a few more late summer meets.  So for the moment, I am in another waiting period, waiting for the green light to race the race I want.  So here is to the future of waiting, and hopefully getting another chance at running the times I know I can.


Until next time,

Ben