The Run For Rescue 10K is in the books, and as such I've had some time to reflect on it and try and put it in perspective. Some thoughts on the race, the fallout and what's up next.
Breaking The Barrier
I'm happy that I was able to accomplish my goals in Saturday's race, by finishing in 49:42. I beat my Mission Inn time by 42 seconds, and this course was much more difficult than the Mission Inn's. This course had a very long incline as Mile 2 (9:07) and Mile 5 (9:25) would attest to. I did run faster downhill (7:05, 6:50) for that portion of it, but the course overall was tougher.
I felt so good after having run Mission Inn and having gotten the time I did and I wasn't sure if and when I'd beat that time. I feel the same way now. I really do think I gave everything I had, and I didn't slack for a second or ease up at all. I played it smart, slowed down when I had to and hit top gear when I needed to. I think I ran the best race I could have.
The playlist was good, but there were two things I realized about it and music in general.
1) It was about two minutes short, so the last two minutes were just me, my panting, my feet and spectators making noise, which was fine. That was enjoyable.
2) The last song was really hard and heavy, like in a bone-rattling type of way. I picked that song precisely for that reason. However, it wasn't the music that got my legs working as fast as possible. The music was good accompniment but I believe I would have had the same performance without it. It just would have been way more boring in some parts.
I love my Garmin 101. The only thing, well, there are a few things, but one of the things that bugs me is that I have to hit a button in order to get my splits. So when it gets to .92 of a mile or so, I can't take my eyes off it. Well, I can, but I look back and look back and then when it's at .98 I'm running with my thumb on the button. It gets old.
When I was in the throes of the final stretch, I had all but forgotten about that. I looked down at 5.8-something and then the next time I looked it was 6.02. I didn't hit the lap button. I just said "Eff it" (except I didn't say eff) and put my head down to the grindstone. So I am not sure what I ran Mile 6 in, but it was in the 7-minute range.
Yay For Danny!
I was happy that Danny showed up and decided to run the 10K. It was really awesome to run another race with him. We didn't bet on this one and I wasn't about to brag that I beat him. I'm happy he was able to complete it strong. I'd told him originally that this would be a good way for him to get into the training mode ahead of next month's Mud Run, and it really will be. So Kudos to Danny for tackling his second race of the year. Not too shabby for a non-runner.
In the 10K recap, I tried to describe what it felt like in my mind during that final stretch. When it was about 47 minutes or something, maybe a bit earlier, I knew that I could do it, that I could get a sub-50 10K. I didn't think "Oh yeah, this is in the bag" like I sort of felt near the tend of the Run Through Redlands when trying to break the two-hour mark, but I knew Saturday was within reach.
I had put myself in position to get it and all I had to do now was to get it.
That's a lot of what running in races comes down to, putting yourself in position to do something. No matter what your goal is in a race - to PR, to beat someone else, to win the whole thing, to finish in one piece - it's all about putting yourself in position to do it. There's no way you can tell at the beginning of the race if you are going to accomplish what you set out to accomplish. There are too many factors to determine that - the weather, the course, how you feel, how you will feel after 1 mile, 3 miles, 6 miles, etc. And even once you get going, you can't tell. After Mile 2, when I was at about 16 minutes and change, I would have said that I was not going to PR that day. But the race wasn't even halfway done yet. Thinking that I was going to fail to meet my goal, and not just thinking but really believing it, would have been fatal.
I kept at it, and got close enough to realize that I had put myself in position to do what I set out to do. There's been races when I realized that I hadn't put myself in position to get a PR or beat a certain time, and that's fine too. When you come to a realization that you aren't going to finish with what you'd hoped for at the start, it's good to know because you can adjust accordingly. You don't want to collapse out of sheer exhaustion or anything, so there's no point in pushing yourself hard if the goal won't be met. Push yourself to finish, yeah, but if you're just starting Mile 5 of the 10K at 52 minutes and had wanted to finish in under 55, obviously that ain't happening, so re-adjust yourself and finish strong.
Several times I felt like I was gassed, especially once I hit that 47-minute mark. I felt like taking it easy a little bit, but since it was a race I was not going to take it easy. I turned it up and kept right on through. And on that day, that was good enough.
I'm not trying to make it sound like I have super-human strength. I realize that in the grand scheme of things my time is okay, but not superb. For me it is, but overall it's not going to win me any medals. But I'm just trying to illustrate that even a mediocre-but-improving runner like myself is capable of achieving PRs.
I'm not sure if I will run another 10K this year - in fact, I doubt that I will. I was excited at the prospects of this one because of that fact. Now, technically I will run the distance again, at the Camp Pendleton Mud Run, but that's a 10K on steroids. My next race will be on May 22, the San Bernardino Mud Run which is a 5K on steroids. I will blog much more about this on Wednesday but just wanted to mention it now.
After the SBSD Mud Run comes the Camp Pendleton Mud Run, and then nothing until the end of July when I'm running the San Francisco Marathon. I am still super-pumped that I am running this race. Woo hoo!!!