Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Title Defense

This past Saturday was the Wood Memorial Trout Run 10k. I ran this race last year and placed third in my age group due to lack of attendees. I thought it was only fitting to return to defend my title. Race morning was quite warm, not a good sign for me as I prefer cooler temps. I arrived an hour or so before the start, only hitting a little rain along the way. As I sat in my car listening to an audio book after check in, the sky began to get quite dark. Then the downpour started. The parking lot was instantly a pool. I wasn't worried because it's quite rare for storm of this magnitude to last for more than 10-15 minutes, around here at least. People were scrambling around trying to get into the VFW, where registration was being held. I thought to myself, last year it was spitting snow at us about this time, so apparently the weather gods don't want pansies at this race, thank you. Sure enough by about 9:50 the rain had stopped and the parking lot began to drain. I hopped out and finished getting ready. I noted the temperature had dropped a good 15 degrees, and thanked my good fortune. After a quick stop at the port-a-john I asked a race official if they were still shooting for a 10:15 start. He said that it would probably be closer to 10:20-:25. No problem, it was 10:00ish and I wanted to run a mile before the start to warm-up. I set my watch timer for 5 minutes and took off as slow as I could force myself. This was the first time I've ever ran before a race, usually I figure the race is enough, but I noticed in tracking my last few 8 milers that it was easier to go faster after a mile or so. I've always felt more comfortable in my runs after a mile or so but not until recently did I see times that went along with that. Since 6.2 miles has turned into a very conquerable distance, I figured this would be a good race try out a warm-up. Eventually my watch dinged and I turned around and started back, just a long straight stretch pointing perpendicular to the race course, directly to the starting line. I was about two blocks away when I saw the familiar lurch of the crowd toward the finish line. In an instant I was running faster, pressing. I could tell the crowd was straining to here the instructions from the official. I was trying to calm myself down, it wasn't 10:20 yet, but the race was clearly moments from starting. I entered the crowd as the same guy who said 10:20-:25 said, 'Ok, everybody ready.' Then he raised his hand and fired off the air horn, it was 10:15. I started off fast, I was still worked up about almost missing the start. Everything worked out really quite perfect, but I was in the moment so there was no slowing me down. About 3/4 of a mile in I thought I heard a guy say, 'It's alright we're on an 8 minute pace, right where we want to be.' I wasn't certain I heard him correctly, but I knew I was going to fast and I wouldn't be able to keep it up the whole time. I slowed a bit. The first mile marker came at 8:17, way too fast, like fastest mile ever territory. I slowed some more. The next mile came at 9:22. Perfect, I had done some basic calculations before hand and determined that if I ran 9:30 the whole way I'd break an hour, which has been my goal for the last year. The next mile came at 9:25, feeling good going into the hills. They are a couple small rollers, nothing to fret about. Mile 4, 9:19, at the turnaround I got to look at the rest of the field, only 2 people behind me. The next two miles came 9:09 and 9:03, I'm not going to beat my goal, I'm going to destroy it. The last two tenths, 1:40, and I'm done, watch says 56:15, chip said 56:20 (no starting mat). From watching the field I knew the guy who won the whole thing was in my age group, but I wasn't sure if anyone else was. There were only 15 or 20 people in the race. The 5k had good participation though, 50-75 at least, so I don't think the race is in trouble. I stuck around to get a medal and was very pleased that the race had hired chip timers to do the event this year. They had the whole thing sorted out so fast I think I only waited about 15 minutes to get my second place silver age group medal. I made sure to thank the winner, as if he hadn't won he would have been in the age group and pushed me down to third. Overall a good race and now as a two time medal winner, I don't see how I'll miss it in the future.

Remember the times, last April I ran the same 10k and and the 10k associated with my recent half marathon.


Jeff said...

Great run, Emil. Congrats on a repeat medal.