I woke up and left the house well before anyone else was even awake, and made it up to the race while the organizers were still getting things ready. I registered the girls and went to get my stuff. I told one of the organizers my last name and he shuffled through some bibs and said "Danny?"
"No, I'm Luis."
I'd forgotten all about Danny. I'd originally asked him if he wanted to run the race with me and he'd said yes, but since he never brought it up again I figured he wasn't going to do it after all. Turns out, he had and I called him a minute later. Sure enough, he was on his way.
That was only another reason to get excited.
We met up before the race, but only briefly as I ran about a mile to warm-up. Afterward, it was time to get over to the start line. This race had a hearty crowd but not nearly the amount of participants as, say the Run Through Redlands or the Mission Inn Run. Still, it felt good to be out there with other runners, and since this might be my only 10K of the year I wanted to soak up the environment. And of course, PR.
At preciesly 7:30, we were off. I wondered if the course would be easy or difficult to navigate, but I just followed the crowd. The start line was in a parking lot, on the campus of Chaffey College - a local junior college - and once we turned onto a side street, it was all downhill. I wasn't sure what the rest of the course was, but I was not going to take it easy downhill.
Most of the first half mile or so was like that, and afterwards the course spilled onto a public street. I hit the lap button on The Garmin.
Mile 1 - 7:05.
I wasn't alarmed but rather surprised. I wasn't going to be able to keep that up of course because it had been part downhill.
And what goes down, must go up.
The path then took us off the main streets, on a paved road that cut from one street to the next, and ran adjacent to a storm drain. It was uphill. And challenging. I didn't want to tear up the incline but knew that I had to keep my effort strong. The course eventually wound through some neighborhoods, and most of it was at an incline.
Mile 2 -9:07.
The course consisted of two 3-mile loops, so all along I'd wondered if I could hit those same times, or if I'd slog through the second mile, which would be Mile 5. The course straightened up somewhat and I felt good. The long incline hadn't destroyed me (thank you, Mt. Rubidoux) but it took me a bit to gather my legs.
Mile 3 - 7:41
I was at about 23:54 overall by then. I wanted to PR but kept alternating between "I can't do this" to "I got this!" in my head.
We'd gotten back near the start line and I knew that if I wanted to PR I had to go fast down this part and make up for some of that lost time. I did, and even though I had thoughts of crashing hard into the asphalt, I maintained my momentum.
Mile 4: 6:50.
I did a double take and wondered if it said 8:50, but of course I knew it was right. I realize it's downhill and that gets some credit but I still pushed through that mile hard and came out feeling energized. At this point, I wondered about the Gu. I'd taken some Gu just in case, and figured that in order to get through the last hilly part that I should go ahead and take it. Part of this was psychological - I always feel replenished shortly after taking a Gu - so even if there wasn't enough time for the Gu to really take effect, I'd benefit from it anyway.
Mile 5 - 9:25
I wasn't quite struggling but I knew I had about 1.2 miles left in me. So I picked up the pace. I was at 40:10 at this point, not sure if I would be able to run 1.2 miles, though. The one mile, sure, but how do you factor in the .2? I figured I'd try and stop looking at The Garmin and focused on the path ahead.
The road we were on curved around and around, and the street was at a small incline, nothing big but still had to give an effort. Finally I saw runners disappearing down another street and knew I was close. I pushed it, got to the downhill portion and just ran hard. This was only for a bit though as we went out a flat road, but soon after were back right at the start.
Just as we got out of the downhill, I knew I was close. I was at about 47 minutes and knew that I could get my sub-50 10K this day. That was exciting. I was in position to get what I wanted to get, and all I had to do was to just grab it. I didn't want to feel as if I let myself down by not giving it my best effort so I pushed through fatigue and ran hard, as hard as I could.
I didn't let up as we went back into the parking lot, towards the finish line. I had very little left to give - my heart rate had been straddling the high-180s (my max is 186) - so I was relieved to see the finish. And despite what The Garmin says, only the time on the clock next to the finish line matters.
When I finally was able to make out the clock, I saw it was at around 49:35 or thereabouts. I smiled and said "Yes!" to myself and kept going. I crossed the finish line, stopped The Garmin and saw 49:49. Later, I saw the results and I'd actually finished in 49:42, fourth in the 30-39 MEN'S category (maybe Lois would have done better in her age group).
Danny wound up finishing in about 57 minutes, a good time for him considering he hasn't been training hardly at all (soccer and basketball and weights are his activities of choice), and also given the tough course.
|After the second of four races we'll run together this year.|
|Who's Number One? Everyone!|
Mrs. LB went down near the finish line and I stayed near the start. I was so excited for them and for all the kids out there. I probably had a goofy-looking grin on my face but I didn't care. I couldn't contain myself. It was also just funny seeing all the kids lined up there, ready to run as hard as they could.
|More kids were there at the start, it was pretty full.|
One of the race organizers finally got to the start, he got all the children's attention and counted down. Off they went! Yvie and Kennedy were running their first race! Yvie shot out of the gate while Kennedy tried to keep up. They rounded the first corner and Yvie was still going strong. She runs about 15 laps before her karate practice (15 laps around a large room in the community center where those classes are held) and it looks like that's paying off.
|Having a splendid race.|
Kennedy did well to run hard as well, and also seemed to be enjoying herself.
|Run Kenna Run!!|
But they earned their first-ever medals.
|LB poses with the champions.|
And they got to taste a bit of the glory that drives us runners.
PR or not, that was the best part of my day.
* Note: The race was a benefit for the San Bernardino-based West Valley Search and Rescue unit, and this day accounted for about half of their yearly budget, according to their site. It's a volunteer group that helps search for and rescue stranded hikers, campers or whoever needs it within San Bernardino County. The shirt, then, reflects that unit.