Daniel Herrera — Race Reflections of a Miler: Drake Relays 1 Mile

photo ©  kevmofoto.com

photo © kevmofoto.com

The following post was generously composed by High Performance West Elite athlete Daniel Herrera, the Mexican record holder in the 1 Mile outdoors (3:56.13), hours after his 7th place performance at the 2018 Drake Relays 1 Mile in 4:02.30. 

Enjoy! // jm


Racing is an improv activity. Assimilation and action to the current circumstances must be immediate. There is no time for a cost-benefit analysis. Decide and do. Or don't. There are only two options. 

In hindsight, races can appear scripted and forgone conclusions to spectators and sometimes, even athletes. Rest assured, many improvisational decisions influence the outcome as any contest among humans is chaotic; I have first have knowledge of this truth.

The Drake Relays 1 Mile certainly was not a grandiose display of athletic performance for me.

Simply, I felt awful — before, during, and after. Yup. One of those days. Bummer.

Making an excuse won’t do any good. It was what it was. I'm human. I'll have bad days like everyone else, but hate it when those happen on race day. 

However, there was a silver lining to the race — a learning opportunity was created. 

On my warm up I knew something was up. I felt flat and lethargic. Instead of panicking, I improvised.

I didn't shy from the front of the race. I could have gone straight to the back (and most likely stayed there), but I chose to be in contention for as long as possible. And battle as best I could. This became my own race within the race.

Four hundred meters passed. Still near the front.

I slipped in right behind Hunter. 800 meters. 1000 meters. Still up there.

A move was made. I responded, realizing I needed to do this to stay in contention.

At three hundred meters-to-go $h%t hit the fan.

I willed every fiber to sprint but my body would not cooperate with the demands of my mind.

Truthfully, I am glad I made it that far. It was a small win for me as my rookie post-collegiate self would have called it quits by then, too dejected to fight.

Rather, I improvised again, deciding to compete with the next closet person, Erik Sowinski. When he passed me, I created another new game. Keep the gap small. Sowinski is creating space. Don't panic. Now close the gap on the next nearest person. Don't stop. Keep after it. And on and on...

I must have played a handful of different games, adopting new rules in an instant the final 300m of that race. Improvising as I went. Doing whatever it took to keep competing all the way until the finish line was reached. 

¡Viva el sombrero! — Daniel H.

Jonathan Marcus