by Dathan Ritzenhein | Oct 14, 2009 |
Winning a bronze medal at the World Half Marathon Championships wasn’t too bad of a way to end an amazing year. Going into the race I told myself that I did not want my 12:56 AR in the 5000m to be the highlight of my year. I feel like I accomplished that with my race this past weekend. The time and the place, however, were not the reasons why I think it was my best performance of the year. The thing I am most proud of is that for the first time in years I felt like I was “back”. I had lost the things that made me “Ritz” when I was racing and training. “Dathan” is who I am to my friends and family, and when I am off the track, but I evolved to the point where that alter-ego, “Ritz”, who was the toughest guy out there, was gone. That was what made me such a good racer, that was what made me interesting, and that was what pushed me every day. I had changed over time and last Sunday, I got that back. I was able to get up in the race, fight it out and establish myself. I feel like I set myself back up to where I needed to be. There were many points in the race when doubt crept in, but I was able to fight it back off.
When Tadesse took off and only myself and one other guy went with him, that was a big step for me. Then again with two or three kilometers to go, when I was really paying for going with Tadesse, I had to force myself to stay with it when Kipyego caught up to me. Even though I was outkicked at the end, I fought all the way and that really is why I feel that this was my best race of the year. I am also happy with my time even though I know I could have run so much faster on a different course with better weather and even pacing. It just means that when that is the primary goal, I will have all the confidence from this race to do it. Secretly, I wanted to run really fast, because I think I was capable of it, but those kind of times come when you really set it up for records and you just race the clock. The company I was in, though, and the difficultly of the course (considering we did not take advantage of the first two downhill miles) just proved to me that I was in shape to run super fast, so now I will just have to find the opportunity.
Fast times are not as important to me as big competitions, anyway. The biggest thing for me in the last few months is that I feel like I am back to where I always thought I would be, and that has me so excited for the next few years, the peak of my career. First up, though, my two-week break. I will keep you updated more often now since I have the computer with me. Until next time…