As always, I have a terrible attitude the morning of a race. I always ask myself, Why do I put myself through this? Unfortunately, it’s necessary for me to race to motivate myself, unlike Jonathan who is able to run every day simply knowing that it’s good for him.
Jonathan was kind enough to come with Isla and Briony to support me this morning. We got to the race around 9 am, with a planned 9:40 start. He dropped me off and went to find parking, and I wandered around feeling nervous and sick to my stomach. The 10K set off at 9:30, and finally, we were ready to go at 9:40. I really like this race for a variety of reasons – flat course, well-organized with an on-time start to the minute, and a small field. As at every race, there were slow people up front and fast people farther back trying to get around them, but the path is wide and the field small enough that it isn’t really an issue.
Like last week, I took it easy for the first mile. My goal was to run a minute faster than last time, so 26:40 or so or faster. Last time I more or less jogged the first mile. This time I ran comfortably but definitely not at a jogging pace. I ran at a pace I felt I could easily sustain for 3 miles. Even at this pace, I passed people steadily through the first mile. When we hit the first mile marker, I picked up the pace and pushed it beyond what was comfortable. I was not in pain or anything, but I was running hard given my current fitness. I passed a couple of people at the turnaround point, and after that there wasn’t a soul to be seen. I was stuck in a massive gap between the people behind me and the next runners in front. I set about trying to catch someone, anyone. By the two mile marker, I still hadn’t passed anyone. Around that point, I started catching up with the slowest moving 10K people. Interestingly, I normally prefer to have company for a race, but the motivation to catch up to the next pack or next runner really helped me push my pace.
When I hit the 2nd mile marker, I turned up the effort a notch again. I wanted to give what I had left for the last mile. I ran hard but strong through the last. Finally, with about half a mile to go, I regained contact with 5K runners and started passing people. With maybe 0.3 to go, I came upon a woman running strong, and surged to pass her so she wouldn’t try to keep up. I always am more motivated to pass women in races, especially if they look to be about my age. I pushed it in and finished feeling exhausted but good. I had a touch of exercise-induced asthma at the end, but it passed in a few minutes of walking around. As I ran across the line, I saw 35:20 or something like that, so my time was somewhere in the low to mid 25s. Needless to say, I’m extremely happy with that since it’s much faster than my goal. The only downside is that it’ll be harder to beat next time I race.
I stuck around for the awards hoping I might have got an age group medal since the field was so small, but it was not to be. I don’t think I’ve gotten an age group medal since I moved to Washington. I actually won one once (years ago), but they made a mistake in the awards ceremony, and I didn’t get it.