It’s Not Where You Start, It’s Where You Finish

Yesterday I posted a list of funny running slogan.  The last one was It’s Not Where You Start It’s Where You Finish.  This one is particularly funny to me.  Last season we where at a local High School Cross Country Invitation.  It was a cool October morning perfect for running.  The  race started and  several of the varsity boys looked like they where sprinting as soon as the gun went off.  My 7-year-old  daughter (6 years old at the time) made a comment about the start that made other adults look at her.  She said “Mommy the boys in blue are running to fast”.  She mad the comment loud enough that several adults heard her.  We walked across the field to the next area to cheer for the boys.    Sure enough by the 1 -1/2  mile marker they where way behind the leaders.  She then commented “see Mommy the blue guys are going really slow now they started to fast”.  I can only wonder what the other adults where thinking when this little girl made her comments.

Both my daughters started running 1 mile fun runs at the age of 3.  They are now 9 and 7 years old and running 5k races.   They would tell other runners to start slow and not run fast until you see the clock.  They have been to lots of races and see this happening over and over especially in high school cross-country.  Most coaches want there runners to get out fast.  My high school coach used to tell me “it is better if you go out in the top five and fall back then to go out in 20th and fall back”.  The problem with that statement is he assumed that if you go out slower you will fall back.

What he don’t know was  if you go out fast lactic acid builds up in the muscles faster.  Once the lactic acid levels get to high the muscles will feel fatigued and you will be forced to slow down.  The 5k race is short enough  that you will still finish with a much slower time.  However running a marathon is another story.  Your muscle fatigue will force you to walk.  Once the fatigue hits no matter how much you tell yourself to run you wont.   Imagine driving your car and it runs out of gas.  What happens?  The car stops and will not move.  This is basically what your legs are going to do.  The mind says go but the legs say no.

My daughters don’t know about lactic acid and fatigue but they do know “if you sprint at the beginning you will be far back at the end”.


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