One of my running goals this year, was simply to race more. Being mired in marathon training for weeks on end, shorter races are good tuneups and keeps training interesting. On a whim, I signed up for Summerfast, a popular local 10km race.
On the heels of a strong 10km race a month earlier, I had high hopes. After all, Summerfast was supposed to be a flat fast course, and surely I could run a better race than I had previously, or so I thought.
Race morning dawned, grey and ugly, but the rain held off. Perfect race weather. I get super quiet before races, and lost in my own world. I checked my bag in, ran a short warm up, and wandered over to the start line. Self seeding is a wonderful thing, or not. Some ambitious competitors clearly had no business being in the front half of the starting pack.
The start was anticlimatic, and I spent the first few km running on the divider separating walkers and cyclists. I found open space within the first 3km and held my pace. Some guy was hanging off my shoulder and breathing heavily. I quickened my pace, simply to drop him, and settled into my pace again
My plan was to run fairly evenly and not do anything to er completely wreck the race before it began. I settled in behind someone running a pace, similar to mine and held on for a bit.
At the 5km mark, I realized that the chances of running a real pb, or close to my pb, were going to be pretty tight – I would need to split a sub 20 minute 5km on the second half. I have never run a stand alone sub 20 minute 5km, so my goal was to make up as much time as I could. And 5km is a long way to go.
I gradually inched up the pace, trying to gage how much I still had left in my legs. At the 7-8km mark, an official/marshall/volunteer? was perched along the seawall, yelling out 10th woman.
For a fleeting moment, I thought “I don’t care,” but I knew I would later. I passed the guy I had been running with, and up ahead, I saw two women, one of whom was within striking distance.
But I still had two km to go; I wanted to be sure if I made a move to pass, I would not be passed, and so I waited about half a km, and then made my move, passing one of the two women.
A km feels like a long way, when you are hurting, and also when you can’t see the finish line… But I knew the end was near – and the volunteers were yelling out encouragement. I could see second beach pool ahead, and somehow mustered the strengh for a final surge. I could see the finish clock, and I lunged – I crossed seconds behind one of the two woman I had been trying to catch.
In the end, I was seconds behind my pb, but it was the best I could do on that day, so I could not complain.