I ran in a 5k (3.1 mile) race on Friday. It was held on campus, part of a special event. Tiger Dojo usually signs up as a group to participate.
My time was about 22:40, which is disgustingly slow for me. I ran a practice three miles in 21:30 the Tuesday before the race. I had been hoping to finish in under 22 minutes.
Part of the reason for the slow time as that the course was hilly and unfamiliar. But most of the reason for my slow time was that I did not really commit to the race. I held back too much energy. Seven minutes after I finished, I had enough energy to race a friend uphill at a sprint.
I did not get any boost or motivation from running with a group of people. I never had the thought that I was actually racing anyone. I am more motivated by constant reminders from a clock. When I am running around a track, I look at the time every quarter of a mile. If my lap time is slower than it should be, I speed up. But I had no such feedback on this race. I was jogging merrily along until I got to the finish at a time much slower than what I could have done.
So while my physical conditioning is better than ever, I seem to have lost the mental conditioning for endurance trials.