Two weeks ago I ran a 10k with Lee and Jeff. That’s about it, though. I keep running 1/2 and full marathons, but not much else.
So when I realized that I might want to race a 10k, I had to hurry, in order to do so online. Otherwise I’d be stuck waking up REALLY early to go and register, then race on Thursday morning.
It’s rare to race on a weekday, but when it’s a holiday, I get to do such unusual things. So yesterday morning, I woke up and headed up to Charleston, Utah, eating only a handful of grapes and drinking some Propel. I was unsure of this nourishment, but it was all I could scramble at the time.
When I got out of my truck, I realized this was going to be a small race. They combined the 5k and 10k start, which normally is a disaster in larger races. But because there were only a combined 145 racers, this was totally viable. I see my swimmer-friend, Josh Green, who’s company is doing the timing for this race. We chat for a bit, but I let him go back to work, because he’s got a lot to do. After a small boy scout troop led us in the pledge of allegiance, a the race director gave us short instructions (10k- follow the yellow arrows; 5k- follow the green arrows). Then a large gunshot and we are off.
Trying to hang on to my race etiquette, but also get as far to the front of the pack as I could, I weaved around runners and made my way to the front third of the pack and waited for the inevitable thinning.
Mile 1: 0:7:54. Felt great. I had jogged a 1/2 mile on the road before this race, so I was a little warmed up. My confidence was decent and I fell into a good pace for how many people I was running around.
Mile 2: 0:7:43. Still feeling good. I am able to pick it up a bit as the crowd thins. It’s cool enough, so I skip the first water station. I know I’ll need it later, but don’t want to cost the time unless I have to. I thank a police officer for manning a street corner.
Mile 3: 0:7:48. I’m steady. I know I feel good, but also know that from experience, if I don’t slow down, I’ll burn up too quickly. I decide I don’t care- I’m going for broke. I keep my speed and pay no attention to the warning lights on the dash. I realize I’m taking a chance, here. I have a short conversation with a UVU hockey player, who tells me that he just played a game, last night. He’s still tired from the game, so he’s not sure how he’ll do. Eventually he drops back and I move on.
Mile 4: 0:8:10. There is a slight uphill, which is almost indiscernable, except that my quads feel it a bit and my watch confirms the slowdown. My watch reaches 0:8:15 for a bit and I realize I have some work to do once things even out. I notice that I’ve been following a man and woman, who are about 100 yards in front of me, but I can’t catch them. I can’t help but notice that the woman’s right foot comes out a bit when she runs. It just flips out to the right, then comes back in. Her left foot doesn’t do this. Because we were instructed to run around a barn (and property) loop twice, I come up on that same water station, but this time relent. However, I spend about 40 seconds drinking (way too much) and lose valuable time.
Mile 5: 0:7:44. Finally a bit of flat and downhill (slight) again. I use it and realize that my lungs are breathing hard. I wonder if I can sustain this. I think positively, that if things go well, I’ll be done with this race in just over 14 minutes (I am thinking clearly enough that I can calculate a bit in my head- unusual for me in a race). I try to relax and think positive thoughts. I do not let up on my pace, even though there is slight IT band pain on my left knee’s outside. The man that I mentioned, earlier, finally slows down and I’m able to pass him. Honestly, both he and the woman had looked so strong, that I wondered how much faster they’d cross the finish line before me.
Mile 6: 0:7:21. I make a conscious effort to pick up my speed slightly and just trust that the end is coming up. My watch tells me that I have less than a mile to go, but I see that runners are turning a corner up ahead, which means I can’t see the finish. Normally I find this very discouraging, but this time I make sure to trust my watch, that this thing is almost over. I’m pretty tired, uncomfortable and feel like I’m going to burst. I do not let up. I pass the girl who’s been leading my small group and feel great about this. She has been tough.
Mile 6.1: 0:6:46. Once I realize that I’m not in danger of being passed for the rest of this race (I did mention that it’s a small race, right?), I concentrate on a strong finish. I run under the finish line banner and Josh compliments me as I come through. This has been a great race and for the first time in years, I wonder if I’ve placed in my age group.
And it turns out I have: 8th overall in the 10k, 3rd in the 18-39 age group. There were 35 of us. I’m very happy about this. I drive home, satisfied in my accomplishment and ready to spend Utah’s Pioneer Day Holiday with my family.