Well I've been missing in action for a while now - mostly because I'm lazy sometimes when it comes to my writing. My last post indicated I was going to do my shoe review - I didn't get it done and felt bad so I haven't written. I still plan to get this shoe review done, but in the meantime I did run my 10k race and wanted to report on it.
Sunday March 21st.
Newport Beach, California is about 30 mins from my house using backroads. Registration opened at 6:00am and my race started at 7:00 so I planned to get to the course around 6:15 just so I'd have enough time to get my packet, and get ready to run. Once again my plan was to run a sub 58:04 that I'd revised down from the sub 60 min goal that I'd set earlier this year.
I felt confident in my breaking my set goal even though over the past two weeks I've taken it pretty easy concerning my running (19 and 10 weekly miles respectively). I knew my legs were fresh and that's what I really wanted going in. I knew the distance was going to be fairly easy and a 9:30 pace was easily in my grasp. All I had to do is go out and grab it.
I woke up around 5:30 am and pulled out my black Nike shorts and my black sleeveless nike shirt (my favorite). Lateley here it's been 80 degrees during the day so I figured it was going to be hot again, yeah I didn't check the weather report and it would hurt me before the race began. As I drove towards the coast I hit a pretty dense fog bank hugging the coast. Keeping the temperatures in the low 50's. Luckily I had a sweatshirt in my car so I threw it on until right before the race started so I wouldn't freeze to death.
After sheeding my sweatshirt, I lined up in the very back of the crowd and chatted with a nice guy (I think his name was Jeff or Greg, I'm horrible with names.) Anyway I gather he signed up for the race that morning and was planning to run a sub 60 min race. I told him I was shooting for the same as I eyeballed his half marathon shirt from San Fransico. Too bad I didn't get a longer chance to talk to the guy - very nice and seemed to enjoy running as much as I do. After a great rendition of the Star Spangled Banner we were set to go. No gun, just a verbal "Ready, Set, Go" got us off the line. Jeff (or Greg) took off much faster than I and slowly pulled away from me and melted into the crowd. I settled into my pace and realized right away that this run was going to be pretty easy. I felt really good and the past two weeks of taking it easy left my legs feeling strong. The first mile was mostly a slight uphill climbing about 100 feet in a half mile, much easier than any of my training courses.
The group around me was very quiet as we headed out onto the course so I turned on my ipod and put myself into cruise control. Starting as the very last person enabled me to start passing people right away, and that felt really good as I logged a 9:04 first mile. Still feeling good I put in a 9:10 second mile on a flat plateau. My third mile was a 9:05 on a slight downhill and I was still feeling really good still at this point. My breathing was steady and I was running at the back of a small pack - just dangling off the back end like a rubberband. Still I wasn't paniced because I knew these people were running a 9:00 pace which was ahead of my race goal pace. My three mile time was a 27:22 and I'm sure I would have destroyed a 5k PR if I was running a 5k race on this day.
Mile 4 was a little more difficult. Running uphill again on the second loop of the course, I clocked a 9:27 still without too muc difficulty. At this point I was really enjoying myself and started picking off more runners who had started to fade. As I hit the 4 mile marker I look to my left and realized that I was passing Jeff (or Greg). He was chatting with a 50+ old lady and were slowing down dramically after reaching the top of the hill. I passed them pretty easily and put him in my back pocket. I was still bouncing off the backend of the 9:00 group pretty much all by myself once I passed these two, and on the plateau mile 5 I really kind of blew it. A small kink in my armor and a mental lapse left me with a 9:29 mile. I should have realized that half of the group about 100 yards in front of me was slowing down. (The group of runners that were 'hoping' to run a sub 9 min pace.) I failed to notice this slowing until I checked my mile split and most likely lost 10-20 seconds at this point. Physically I could have run this mile around 9:10 without too much difficulty, but I failed to notice my slowed pace and it cost me.
The final 1.2 miles are basically downhill and after seeing my split at mile 5, I wanted to pick up my pace a little. Pretty quickly I closed the gap on about 10 runners who were in front of me and passed the gassed runners - I still was hanging off the remainder of the 9:00 min pace group that had started to thin out. Some falling back others surging forward. Even though my pace had quickened I wasn't passing very many people at this point. The road was wide with very few runners. Right before I hit mile 6 with a split of 8:54 I was passed by Jeff (or Greg) - where did he come from? Up to this point only 3-4 people had passed me without coming back to me. And once I had passed them the second time they didn't come up to me again. Greg (or Jeff) passed me flying, and once I'd taken a breath and gathered myself he had extened a 50 yard lead on me and had passed another three people. The rubberband was about to snap between us if I didn't try to follow. Gritting my teeth slowly I picked up my pace and was suprised to see my body respond. It wasn't like in the old days where I could go from 1st to 5th in .5 seconds, but I was able to 'crank' up the pace. Faster and faster I picked it up, just like an old heavy thunderbird on straight road. Jeff (or Greg) was slowly coming back towards me as I closed the gap. I cleared out the runners between us and he was only 20-30 yards in front of me with about 400 yard to go. With the small crowd cheering us on I kept increasing my pace gaining momentum as the distance closed. By the time we hit the line I was on his back shoulder and I looked at the clock 57:xx! I didn't know the exact time, but I'd broken the 58 min barrier and set a new PR!
Crossing the finish, Greg turned around and was surprised to see me grinning ear-to-ear. "Nice run" he gasped. Patting him on the back I responded with, "Thanks for bringing me home. You helped me set a new personal best." Without saying anything else we drifted apart and I didn't see him again.
I had to wait until they posted the official results later that night, and my watch was right on with a 57:25! A PR by :39 seconds and I could have done more if I hadn't messed up on mile 5. Still I as very happy with my results.
Overall: 172nd out of 295
Age: 17th out of 21
Sex: 100th out of 132
Actually I'm suprised with these stats - It sure felt like I passed more males and people in my age group. But it's my time that I'm happy with.