and now for something completely different;
Back when I was much younger and early in my running, 10k was the most popular distance for road racing but now it seems they are pretty hard to find with 5k's and half-marathons being more popular. Of course nowadays I hardly ever do any short road races but every now and then I'll do one for fun. Looking back it was exactly 3 years ago on Mother's Day weekend that I last ran a 10k. I did that one in about 49:30 a day after a 51 mile bike ride and running in the Clayton 5k with Karla. I wasn't really planning on running one this year but since I work for Capital RunWalk part-time and they are a sponsor , I was able to get a free entry. the date fit in the two weeks right in the middle of my schedule of 50k's so I thought it would be fun to see how I could do and get in some faster pace running.
The weather couldn't have been better for May with the temperature in the 60's and not very humid. There were a little over 300 entrants including my co-worker Bobby Mack, the course record holder , and several other from our store sponsored racing team. I did my usual pre-race warm-up routine and then lined up with about 5 minutes to go. My only plan was to run as fast as my body would allow and hope that I could average about 8 minute pace which would be about the same time as I ran in 2009. I haven't done any fast paced running lately and have just gotten back to normal after Promise land so I really wasn't very confident and I was feeling pretty sluggish during my warm-up.
As they race began I started easy and eased my way up to race pace. As we approached the 1 mile mark I was thinking to myself that I hoped it would be at least 8 minutes because I knew I wasn't going to be able to go any faster. I must say I was very relieved and happy when I checked my split and saw that it was a 7:31 opening mile. Phew, now I could just relax and settle in. Mile 2 was a little slower in 7:47 which was fine with me. I was still building a cushion and feeling good.
Mile 3 had a lot of downhill and I was cruising along and enjoying the day. One really cool thing was that the 3 mile mark was in the neighborhood and along the course I ran on 35 years ago when I first began running. At that time I was living just one house off the course on Lenoir and Boylan Ave. The mile 3 marker was in the wrong place but I saw the mark where it should have been so that mile was 7:37 and shortly after that I passed the 5k mark in 23:37 with visions of a sub 48 dancing in my head.
Well what goes down has to go back up. Most of the next mile was on a boring section along MLK JR Pkwy with a long gradual rise. It didn;t slow me down too much because I hit mile 4 in 7:47 but it was wearing me down and as soon as the course turned onto Wilmington St and the little hill there, I could feel the effort and the cadence slowed down. I had to back off the effort and re-group a bit until after passing the Capital Building where it turns slightly downhill again. The 5 mile mark was two blocks down from there and I was disappointed that I slowed down all the way to an 8:22 as I had really hoped to keep the pace under 8 the whole way.
I was feeling better now and knew I could push the pace back down a bit so I knuckled down and even with the climb back up to the capital I was able to run mile 6 in 8:03.I must say i was very pleased with my final time of 48:37, a 7:50 average pace at this point. The race only gave awards to each age group winner but I was 4th in my 55-59 group. considering I mostly run ultra's these days I'm very happy to be able to make a decent showing when I jump in with the regular road racing crowd.
that's it for now. the next couple of races will be back in ultra distances.