I bet you gonna ambush me

You know that old saying, that when people run together they avoid talking about running but when they aren’t running all they talk about is running?  I was discussing an interesting topic with a few pals during post-run coffee (tea for me because coffee, ick) last week …. in races, do you prefer to be the predator or the prey?  We seemed to be equally split.

I am a classic predator.  I start slow (too slow, probably) and I gradually overtake the faster starters.  I almost always run a negative split.  I count the number of people I pass in the final third of the race.  Not out loud. 

Do you like to take the lead and try to keep ahead of the pack (no matter where in the pack you may be) or do you hold back and sneak up on other runners over the course of the race?  A handy poll is included for your replying convenience.

Title: Barracuda – Heart. 1977.

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10 responses to “I bet you gonna ambush me

  1. I said I’m roadkill b/c I am a front-of-the-back-of-the-pack runner (a 60%ile finisher) so I assume someone’s killing me. But in truth, I do OK at picking a few people off at the end. It’s just that they are the fat and slow who cannot survive, so it’s hardly an accomplishment on my part.

  2. I’ve had good races where no one passed me the whole race

    And I’ve had good races where I made considerable moves on my fellow runners.

    I chose prey in the poll though, for whatever that’s worth.

  3. Voted “predator.” I love this.

  4. I chose Prey, but it’s not really as a strategy, since you seemed to imply I have the power to choose. :-) This reveals how undisciplined I am as a racer because I probably have never run a negative split. I still labor under the impression, however deluded, that it’s “money [or energy] in the bank!” when I am running well under my target pace for the first several miles of, say, a half marathon.

    The predator/prey thing for me has a lot to do with where I can seed myself at the start. I get very little satisfaction from picking off tons of people at the beginning of a crowded 5K or 10K just because I couldn’t get up front enough, which happens occasionally. I hate crowded races but do them sometimes anyway since there are certainly fun aspects to them. I felt like an arse last fall at the beginning of the Boston Half marathon because I decided right before the start that yes, it was worth staying in the portapotty line since it was chip timed and I’d probably be really uncomfortable later if I didn’t take the opportunity. So I wound up having to cross the start line with people who were aiming to run a good 3-4 min./ mi. slower than me, which means a lot of dodging, and even though it was my choice, I still was mentally appalled at people happily strolling at the start, or conversing easily, laughing even. I was thinking “you’re supposed to RUN!” but in the end, those people probably had negative splits and were happier people throughout the whole race. :-)

    I don’t even notice most people towards the end of the race since all I care about is how I feel and can I sustain this pace? I’m usually incentivized by females ahead of me who look to be in the 30-39 age range, or, depending on the race, the 30-34 range. That’s when I rev up!

    • Seeding is key. I hate getting caught in the back. I seed myself correctly, which means I’m usually surrounded by overly optimistic runners (read: slower than the seed/me) that take off too fast and I slowly reel them in. If I actually started with people at my pace I’d probably by a weird predator-prey hybrid.

      p.s. I’ve actually had other women ask me my age when I’ve passed … or when they’ve passed me.

  5. There is one guy that I have run against many times. If I out run him in the first mile then I have have him beat. If I let him lead me from the start then I am done, I won’t catch him. This has been going on for 10 years. 11 starting now…

    • That certainly adds an interesting element of competitive excitement. I wish I had a race nemesis, but all I have is Husband and he usually wins with the prey strategy. Oh, and with his faster running.

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