I could have thought of no better way than to start the new year with a bang, and I certainly did that. With only 3 hours and 45 minutes of sleep, I didn't know what to expect. I certainly didn't think I would be running sub 7 minute miles.
Resolution Run - 39:41 (7:28 pace; 29/237)
At 3 AM I couldn't stop yawning. A late night of fun at a friend's house on New Year's Eve, why wouldn't I be out? I knew this when I entered this race, but I still wanted to start 2008 with a race. After four slices of pizza, some sodas, chips and dips and cookies, I called it a night and headed home. I, of course, had to read some before I went to bed, so it wasn't until 4 that I fell asleep.
And the alarm went off at 7:45.
Surprisingly, I wasn't too tired. I arrived with twenty minutes to spare and waited in the 39 degree weather. Hands becoming numb, away we went.
The first mile was an easy, flat mile. I wasn't front of the pack, but I was a back of the front pack, so it wasn't too crowded. My hands, if they could, became even more numb and actually started hurting more if that was possible. I clocked in at 7:00.
I held my pace, for the most part, and was able to continue to pick off runners who had started out too fast, but I was slowing slightly. The flat fire road was gradually going up, but I still felt strong when I came in at 7:17.
This was where it started getting a little more difficult. I have ran hills more but I still seem to lag on them, not able to continue running, even at a slower pace. The first semi big hill came and it was a short one. I ran up the whole way, but when I got to the top I had to take a walk break. Taking the good of it, this was an improvement from last year (feels weird saying last year already). I ran the Dammit Run, which is also a 5 mile run that is ran on virtually the same course. Comparing this to the Dammit Run I had already ran this race 2 minutes faster and I was able to run the first hill, which I didn't do last year. If the race ended here I would have been satisfied, but everything got better! Another hill came before me and I had to walk this one. I applaud those who passed me on this steep hill and continued to run. If only I could have kept running. By the time I reached the top of the dam and hit the turn around point I was feeling a little winded, but still strong. Now was the fun part as I turned around and took the two steep downhills and gradual decent for what they were worth. The 3rd mile was my slowest as the walking on the hills, which had 316 feet of elevation gain in less than a 1/2 a mile, slowed me to a 9:47.
And on this same stretch in the past the fastest I was able to run on training runs was a little over a 7 minute pace. This time, however, I turned it on and was able to turn in mile 4 in 6:36 and mile 5 in 6:48, passing many of the runners who passed me on the hill.
But I couldn't understand why at mile 5 I was still running. This was supposed to be a 5 mile race! Soon enough the high school track presented itself and I was able to run the last lap, coming in at a pace of 7:03. The course, from my garmin as well as mapping the course on google earth, turned out to be 3/10 of a mile longer. Oh well, can't expect all races to be accurately measured, right?
When I checked the on site results I found that I had come in 29th place out of 237 runners, which wasn't too bad. I even thought I was going to place 2nd in my division, but they fooled me! They had two colors for my age group, rather than the typical one color. When they announced the 3rd place in my division I watched the guy receive it and my jaw dropped. On the final stretch of the run, with about 2/10 of a mile to go around the track, he passed me and I even thought to myself to let him go, that I had ran a good run and that was enough. Oh well, he ended up coming in around 10 seconds before I did. Another lesson, one I always seem to be learning: don't let complacency slow you down, keep pushing yourself to the last moment before you cross the finish line.
Ultimately an age place in your division doesn't amount to much. What mattered was that I ran a good run at a fast clip, a speed that I hadn't ran in a long time, running the race at 8 MPH (I still can't believe that some runners run half marathons and marathons at 13 MPH!). With my focus on marathon or longer distances it seems that I rarely run a race this fast anymore, so it was a ton of fun.
Here's to kicking off the new year with a kick of the running shoes!