Yesterday we posted a race report from Diana Davis (New Balance Boston) about her 5k race at the Penn Relays. Today we present to you another report from the very same race, this one from Kyle Linn MacQueen (GBTC). I was excited to follow her not only because she’s a local runner but also because Kyle had appeared in the pages of Level Renner before. We’re always pumped to watch the members of Level Legion on the big stage! Here’s Kyle’s take on the Penn Relays 5k:
I was reluctant to submit my Penn race report but I felt bad since I had told Level Renner that I would send them one. Of course I had said that before I had even gone to Penn. After Penn I just wanted to crawl under the covers and pretend that I never went, as if it was just a bad dream and things would still play out as planned. When I agreed to send a race report it was because I was so confident that I was going to have the race of my life…that maybe I would win or at least come close! And who wouldn’t want to share THAT type of story with the world? Just last summer I was the girl who dreamed of breaking 18 minutes in the 5K for the first time, now flash forward one year to that same girl winning the Penn Relays! I saw it in my head over and over, crossing that line, smiling, holding the coveted gold watch. This race was mine… or so I thought…
But in running there are not always happy endings and great races. And winning may seem like a stretch coming from the girl that finished 17th but I honestly believed I could. That was a field I should have been able to compete with (especially in such a thrilling environment) but I just didn’t. I wish I could tell you exactly what happened so that you wouldn’t make the same mistakes but I can’t even explain it myself. Sure I can come up with several excuses but that’s all they are… excuses. At the end of the day all people see is the name, the finishing place, and the time. Most people who know me might look for my name and say, “well that’s too bad she had a bad race.” But for everyone else, I am not sure you would even scroll down the list of names far enough to see mine.
It does suck to feel like you’re in the best shape of your life and ready for the race of your life, only to come up so short. I feel that I am in 16:40 shape (the winning time was 16:36). And yes, that would have been a huge PR, but the way I was popping off the PRs during this past Indoor season I believed that anything was possible.
I went through the first mile in 5:18 sitting comfortably in third place. Perfect! I thought to myself. It was on the straightaway immediately after the first mile that I “danced with the rail” as GBTC Coach Tom Derderian described it. A woman was passing me and was starting to cut in front of me so I elbowed her to keep her to the outside of the lane. She elbowed me right back and I lost balance stepping on the rail and nearly eating the turf. I caught my balance and ran back up to the pack but I was shook up. During the next 200m all I could think about was how I might be disqualified and really shouldn’t bother finishing if that was the case. I let a gap of about 5 meters open up, and then was back to the straightaway where I was elbowed and another girl passed me. I tried to go with her, but I couldn’t. The leaders are now 10 meters ahead and this girl is going after them. I knew I was letting things get out of hand and I started wishing that I had faked an injury after the rail dance. I should have just stepped off the track when that happened and called it a night. Maybe that would get me out of this mess? Could I start limping now? No, it’s too late.
Another girl goes by and then another and then another. I didn’t even realize I had eventually fallen back to 17th place since the next few laps are a blur. It’s as if I blacked out and forgot I was even racing! I do remember snapping back into it with four laps to go and thinking to myself two very contradicting things, 1) I have the fastest mile time in this field – time to prove it! and 2) Oh my god… 4 laps to go… that’s a mile… I don’t think I’m going to make it. I wanted to drop out but I knew I would never forgive myself if I did.
At three laps remaining I thought, Okay, phew…I will finish this race, but what happened?!? This wasn’t how it was supposed to go! Perhaps I had envisioned winning next year? That must be it! I will return and win the 5K next year. From nearly last place in 2012 to first in 2013! Yes!
Then there was 2 laps to go – 800 meters - come on pick it up – you can do this! I didn’t. Down to 400m to go – Okay Kyle this is it. You told everyone that if the race came down to a kick you could out-kick anyone – now catch that group in front of you! Pick. It. Up. Again, I didn’t. And I tried yet again at 200m but it was too late. Reflecting back, I know I could have closed harder, a lot harder, but I didn’t.
I waited next to the finish line to see my name and time flash up on the board. It never showed up and they were already twelve places deep. When I finally realized how far back I finished I was extremely disappointed. I didn’t race and I wish I could go back in time and do it differently. I can’t.
Sometimes races won’t go as you plan and you have to be ready for that. Sometimes you will be in great shape and the dots just won’t connect. You may feel you can win, but then not even come close. It’s okay. This is just one of the things that make our sport so exciting. All I can do now is plough forward; continue putting in the work and hope that next time I toe the line of a race (big or small) that I can back up the talk that I’m talking.
We’re glad she ended up submitting this race report. It didn’t look like she was going to for a little bit there, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that she sent one in. Unfortunately all the race reports we seem to be presenting this week are not glowing declarations of huge new PR’s or big triumphant victories, but as she says here, it doesn’t always work out that way. A bad race doesn’t necessarily mean that all is lost and there are lessons to be learned on good days and bad days, just the same. In her email she said that writing the report was in a way therapeutic, and I couldn’t agree more. Whether it was a good race or a bad race, my mind sometimes seems restless until I can get behind the keyboard and let my training log know exactly what went down.
The Level respects the effort here, and wishes Kyle the best of luck in her upcoming races!