I ran it before and recalled it being a hilly course. Jim O. reminded me that it was "butterfly" shaped. We run it like a figure 8. We start in the middle, run down the body, then do one wing, run down the middle run around a cone and back up the middle, then do the other wing, come back up the middle and finish. I could not recall the extent of the hills, but I knew it wasn't going to be flat. If I run a hilly loop course well, it should have some ability to balance out since the ups should equal the downs. I hoped to have a shot at a new PR, but like always I am never really sure how things are going to go when the guns goes off.
This is a big race with 5k runners and 10k runners starting together. In the 10k race alone, there was about 580 runners. I move up to the front of the race behind Jim. For the record: I LOVE racing when Jim O. is there. Like I said to him at some point today, he is a true Racer. When he is on the course and calls out something, it is always more than the always appreciated positive support (i.e. "Looking Good"). Instead Jim's advice is alway fact-based, race-related intelligence that is helpful for strategizing. He will simply call out what place I am in, where the other women ahead of me are, and maybe what the up-coming terrain is going to look like. I like this type of information. It gives me something to focus on and answers questions I have.
The race starts and Mile 1 is pretty much a down hill. I don't want to go crazy fast, but I don't want to give away the gravity assist, so I try to find a comfortable speed that doesn't feel like work. I know I am going fast because the pack of guys around me are all faster than me. I don't care at that point, but I do plan to settle down on the first uphill that we will face shortly after the first turn.
Up the hill we go and I see a few women ahead of me that I know I can run faster than. The only way this can make sense, considering the men around me are faster than me, is if these women are in the 5k. We pass M1 (at 6:25) and I figure I will soon find out who my competition is.
At the turnoff for the 5k, those women ahead take the turn and the 10ker head onward. At this point I just try to find a rhythm by thinking about getting to the 3 mile mark feeling strong. In Mile 2 some of the faster runners begin to overtake me, as they should. I just try to settle in. I cant recall whether we were still going uphill for part of mile 2, but my split suggests it! M2 6:50
The third mile included running down the center of the course where I made some good time and got my pace back down. I hit M3 in 6:30. I was still feeling good, but then everything fell apart in the next mile.
As we came back through the main road, we turn at a cone and headed back up the center of the course. I am not sure how long this uphill stretch was but it felt like a mile. After we exited the center of the course and headed out to the last "wing", we still went up after turning left.
At that point, I realized my shoe was coming untied. I hoped it would be ok, but it worked itself completely loose. I just stopped and tied it, probably giving away 4-5 seconds, but saving myself the distraction. I hit M4 in 7:16
As we start to head downhill, I get passed by a girl in a yellow singlet. My team wears yellow singlets. I don't, because I usually race in a sport bra. If it was cold enough for me to wear a singlet, I would wear ours, but it was too hot today reaching 60 if I had to guess. As this female hauls downhill, I just can seems to find my legs. I am trying to take advantage of the down hill, but I feel like I am in quick sand. She pulls away and I cant help but wonder who this fast chick is on my team that I don't know. Although I am always trying to beat my own times, I am also always aware of who my competition is and what they can do. I was stumped. I hit M5 in 6:54.
In the last mile, we have to go back uphill, then up the center of the course to the short downhill to the shoot. I decide I just have to try to catch her. I catch back up to the guy I was running with when I stopped to tie my shoe. We played leapfrog in this last mile more so than I have with anyone the entire race. Every time I would get a step up on him, he would surge back ahead. I would return a surge. He would too. We did this almost the entire way in. As we came up to the last turn he encouraged me by saying "We are almost there!" Because of our effort to duke it out on the incline, by the time I hit mile 6, I had caught the girl in yellow. M6 6:42
After doing such hard work to get back up to here I had to try to pass her. I wasn't sure how I wanted to do it. I thought for a moment. I could sit, wait, then surge hard at the end. That seemed reasonable except I couldn't even surge on the downhill with gravity assisting me. What if I got no surge in me?
|photo by Paul DeNunzio|
I turn back and see the girl in the singlet and she is from a different team completely, but with the same singlet color! LOL!
Time: 41:58 (6:46 pace)
Overall: 79 of 581
Female: 8th of 249
Age Group: 1st