Sunday, July 12, 2015
I came as close as I may ever come to taming this unruly beast of a race yesterday. Finished the 10k in a time of 40:47, which placed me 11th overall out of 385 runners, and got me first in the Masters Division. Once again it was a brutally hot day for racing; start time temperature at 7am was 80 degrees, with a heat index likely in the mid 80s. And scant cloud cover.
Came up with a plan (after batting around several ideas) to take the 1st two miles relatively easy, and then try to hammer the last 4.2 Time wise I was looking at about 7 minute miles or slightly below for the 1st two, then 6:30 pace or hopefully a bit under the last 4.
And by the grace of the running Gods I dang near executed this to perfection. Actually went thru the first mile of slight undulating hills in 7:11, well back in the pack. But did not panic, nor pay too much heed to what was going on around me. Mile 2 I ran in 6:33 which included the couple tenths of a mile climb up and over the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge... and found myself in position to attempt to pick up the pace and reel in a good bit of the first part of the field the remainder of the race.
Ran the last 4 miles with splits of 6:23, 6:33, 6:37, 6:27, and 5:01 (pace). Felt strong, and able to cope with the weather and the inclines up and over the latter two bridges. Passed one last competitor in the last two tenths of mile with a strong kick to the finish line on Water Street (looking at the guy from behind I was not sure if he may be over 40 or not, turns out he was 36. Reminded of a George Sheehan story about frantically out kicking a fellow racer, who then looked at Sheehan in the finishing chute and said "I'm not in your age group").
Like I told a few of my friends in the Wilmington Road Runners Club who complimented me after the race. I've blown up here before, and it wasn't pretty. Hence the cautionary early pace and race strategy. One of them even said that I was to be the pacer next year here.
The race also served to remove the bad taste I was left with in my mouth after the NewBridge Bank 4 miler in June, after going out too fast and running a horrible race, that felt like a forced death march the last 2.5 miles.
Yesterday that was not the case. As for the next race? ... that's why we do what we do.