Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pepsi 10K Race Report

Short report:

Pepsi 10K - Charlottesville,VA - 9/13/2008
33/416 overall, 4th in 45-49

This is a great local race. If you want a nice test of your running speed and stamina, 10Ks are an excellent way to go.

Long report:

I've got a soft spot in my heart for this race. It was the very first road race I ever did, back in the early 90s. I ran a 48:50 and then went home and slept the rest of the day (I wonder whatever happened to that shirt?)

Fast-forwarding to the present, I went into the race with two goals: 1. Get a good test of my marathon preparation for Richmond in November. 2. Beat my co-worker Tommy, who's 39, and has beat me by about 15 seconds in each of the two races we've both competed in this year.

The weather on Saturday was oppressive. Humid and hot, though the sky was overcast to start the race. Got in a good warmup and kibbitzed a bit with some of the guys, then it was time for business.

The course is a double out-and-back: out one mile, turn back past the start, then out to mile 4 where you turn around and head for home. It's a pretty run, on rolling country roads. I found some space in the insanity of the start, and weaved my way around the usual quick-starting flameouts, running downhill to the first turnaround. I hit the mile in 6:50 -- that felt about right, given the downhill.

As I came back up hill I settled into a good rhythm and counted my footfalls -- 90 for the minute -- good running tempo. Tommy and I traded spots a few times and I pulled ahead a bit as we came to the first waterstop. Mile 2 came at 14:06 -- OK, considering the hill.

Now was the time to really settle into a groove, as the course flattened a bit. I'd opened a little gap around me and kept motoring along. I knew Tommy was just a bit behind me, but I didn't want to give him the satisfaction of seeing me look back, so I focused in like a laser on the road. Mile 3 -- 21 flat.

A couple of stiff little rollers hit me hard as I moved into the fourth mile. I kept concentrating on my tempo as I climbed the hills trying not to bog down and lose time. I turned around and headed for home at mile 4 -- right on time at 28 and a couple of seconds.

This was starting to hurt. I started to pass more runners as they slowed. Picking them off was a nice distraction. I kept checking my watch and counting steps, striving for a fast turnover, thinking about keeping my form together. The sun was out now, and the humidity brutal. My singlet was stuck to my skin and I could feel water dropping off my shorts as I ran. Finally, mile 5 -- 35:00.

By now I just wanted to slow down and rest -- man, 10Ks hurt... As I closed towards the finish a young woman flew by me -- whoa, I can't catch her. Next it was my turn, as I passed a young 20 something guy. He tried to make a game of it, passing me back up, but I quickly dropped him.

Finally I turned down the road into the school where the finish is. I peeked over my shoulder. Tommy was hanging on, about 5 seconds back. Now or never -- I gave it everything I had left and went home hard. One more look -- I'm safe.

Done. Crap, I can't even breathe...well, that'll pass.

Felt pretty good about the race -- 43:20 in those conditions was a very good time for me. I'm right on track for Richmond, and I beat Tommy by 15 seconds. Life is good


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