|At least I looked fast|
I knew I wasn't going to be 100% but if I could stand, I had to run this race. So, I got up on Sunday, headed over and got ready to run...I had run a 20:52 on the course last year and was trying to do that math to see what pace I'd need to beat that. A few times quickly scrawled on my hands and it was time to line up. Oh ya, did I mention that it was 71 degrees at the 2pm start? It was hot! A welcome change considering the weather of late but it was a new thing to encounter on race day. I got there my customary hour early, got a great parking spot which gave me plenty of time to go get my number and registration stuff...and get antsy. Did I feel good? Could I get a PR? Did I remember the course right? Where are the bathrooms?!
I seeded myself toward the back in an attempt to keep my first mile pace down and see how I felt after. The fire truck siren goes off (the race is in memory of firefighters), I look down at my range and try to hold a 6:20 pace. I hit the first mile on a 6:20 exactly and felt pretty good as the course flattened out. It dawned on me that my Polar RC3 GPS (as do all GPSs it seems) figures the course longer than mapped out. Realizing there was no marked mile marker or time board at the mile mark for reference, I'd need to try and run around a 6:05 for the rest of the race to hit the time I was looking for. As I went into the 2nd mile and looked at my HR I knew this wasn't going to be a PR kind of day. I was redlined already. That came right as I made the turn onto the hill of the second mile. I was surprised that I was feeling decent as I crested the hill only to see that it was a false flat and there was still more climbing to do (damn I hate hills). Right turn, only one more 'til the finish and that's when I realized my lung function was NOWHERE near where I need it to be. My legs felt great, my lungs felt like lava mud. Guess today won't be a PR afterall so I'll focus on picking off people. Final right turn into the finish...whatever I do have in my lungs, time to get all of it out! I crossed the finish in 20:59, 25th overall (out of 890) and 7th in my age group. I was excited that for the second year in a row I finished in the top 50 which garnered me a race pint glass (small things make me happy). Guess the heat had an effect on everyone else too because it seems everyone was running slow today. Not bad, not great. 17 seconds off last year's race, 31 seconds off my 5k time back in March. Other than my lungs, I felt pretty darn good. Amazing what some rest and healing can do. Now to continue to get better and back to training and racing strong.