When I first signed up for this race, my intent was to get into super fantastic shape and PR this course. A PR here would not be anywhere close to my 10K PR at B to B in 2003 (as it was a full 4 minutes slower than B to B) but for some reason, this course is difficult for me. I don't know if it is the terrain or just the fact that it is usually early in my training for the year.
As race day crept closer, I realized I was probably not in the shape I wanted to be in as far as speed work goes so a PR would most likely not be reachable. I did a couple race pace type runs in the preceding weeks and felt I could at least beat 50 minutes and possible get down to 48:30 or so if things went extremely well. Beating my PR of 48:08 seemed more like a foolish dream with only a week to go before the race.
The thing I did have going for me was that I have been running the trails pretty heavy and I suspected my strong point would be the hills. This would work well because I think it is the hills on this course that drain a lot of the runners.
This course has a full mile of downhill and flat running in the beginning and this tends to suck people up into a much too fast pace for their training. Once they hit the hill in mile two, reality sets in. It kind of reminds me of the start at Mnt Washington where you run a nice downhill for about a quarter of a mile, passing spectators and feeling real good ........but it doesn't last long as the incline suddenly slaps you across the face and life changes as you know it.
This didn't happen to me as I embraced and actually attacked the hill. By the time I finished mile three, I had run one of my fastest miles in a long time. I felt strong and was sure the hill in mile five was going to be no problem.
My worst mile of the race was four and I am not sure what happened. It is a slow consistent incline that leads up to the dreaded hill in mile five, but I felt fine and was certain I was maintaining pace or at least it felt like I was. Instead I slowed down. I should have paid more attention here but I guess because I felt ok and the hill was coming, I didn't even keep track of my pace.
I didn't attack the mile five hill but I did push myself to work it in good shape. I ran it 3 seconds faster than mile four. Mile six was mine to conquer as I had energy and drive. It was my best mile as I passed so many runners, I felt strong and dropped a full minute off miles four and five .......it feels so good to pass runners late in a race.
The last .2 miles were awesome though I was pretty spent as I tried with all my effort to PR, I knew I was close and the last .2 would make or break it. I gave it all I had and crossed the finish line with my watch reading 48:12 .......a little disappointing to be so close to my 48:08 PR but at the same time exciting to be that close. I kept thinking that I had many chances to make up that 4 seconds especially in mile four.
I went home feeling relatively happy with my race as I had merely hoped for sub 50 minutes and ended up running a very strong race. I was a bit surprised when I checked out the results later to See my time at 47:59 ......I had forgotten about chip timing.
For all intents and purposes, I am calling this race a PR as it is official time but my race in 2006 was not chip timing and it is any ones guess as to how close I was to the start line that day. Today I was 13 seconds back and I was positioned about a quarter of the way from the start line. I figure the fact that I am 6 years older surely has to trump the 13 seconds.....doesn't it?
Anyway, regardless of the results, I had a great race, I felt strong and in complete control.
327 th place (out of 1600)
48:13 gun time 47:59 chip time (7:44 pace)
15 out of 59 in my age group