14 days to Avalon

I asked Mike if I could do the Resolution 10K as a tempo run, but he told me to race it. I wasn’t sure if that were good news or not.

Christmas week was my big week before the 50miler. Because the early part of the week didn’t go well, I tried to do more in the later part to make up for it. Not smart. I ended up running 75+ miles that week (probably the most I’ve ever done in a week). I was supposed to run 15 minutes with high HR in the middle of a 3 hour run on Tuesday — and I just couldn’t get my heart rate up. I was too tired. This worried me. Three years ago I got badly overtrained, and I am terrified lest that happen again.

So I tried to rest. I only did half my aquajogging workout the next day. I still felt exhausted. Thursday I did my workout at a very easy pace. Friday I just sat home most of the day. Then today dawned.

It wasn’t raining. First bit of good news. I didn’t think my legs were quite so bad as I cycled over to the race start, but that might have been wishful thinking.

What was funny?
Photo by Dennis

I got to the start just before the 5K set out. Which was fine, I wasn’t racing the 5K. Locked up the bike, got my bib, chatted with Ricky (who says he can start running next week!), and set out on my warm up. Starting out 6 minutes behind everyone else is kind of fun. There’s no pressure to keep up with the fast guys, and you spend the whole run passing people. My legs felt heavy, and slow at first — but that’s what a warmup is all about and things got better soon. I got to cheer people on as they returned on the out and back course. I ran the 5K in 23 minutes (and 2 seconds) which seemed surprisingly fast (that’s not gun time, of course). I guess the excitement of the race did get to me after all, even at the back.

The sun had come out from behind the clouds and it was now a lot warmer. I went back to the bike and divested myself of all extra layers. The temperature was quite pleasant.

A little more chatting, and then Wally called us over to the start. I line up behind Todd Booth. There are some young guys whom I don’t know chatting and one says he plans to run at a 6 minute pace. I’m relieved, someone to pace myself against (not that I’m planning on a 6 minute pace, but if I hang back from him at the start, I should be good). The young guys do strides, and I realize I should too.

So I do.

We’re off.

Almost instantly I’m really hungry. I don’t know why, but suddenly I feel almost debilitating hunger.

Luckily that fades as I settle into the race.

A young woman passes me. Good for her! Lead woman. The guy who said he was going to do 6 minute pace is way out in front. No way he’s doing sixes (he ended up running 5:50s, but was much faster the first mile). At the half mile mark I glance down at my watch which reads 5:42. I did not run a half mile in 5 minutes. Oh, it’s in pace mode. Too focused to change it now. A 5:45 pace is far too fast for me, I need to slow (the watch generally tells me I’m running 3~4 seconds faster per mile than I really am). I fall back further from the woman.

At the mile mark there is someone chanting times. That’s nice, we don’t usually have that. 5:49, 5:50 as I go past. Ump. I didn’t slow enough. Way too fast. That’s going to cost me. On the other hand — it does say that I’m not overtrained and exhausted. Which is far more important than running a good race today.

Lot of friends on crossing guard duty, thank you.

As I approach the turn-around I see Todd is in third place, preceded by young guys. I don’t bother to count where I am (eighth maybe?). The turn around is a tight turn around a cone. Hate that. I take it wide and end up on the grass beside the bike path for a bit. Barry isn’t far behind me.

At 2 miles I see I’ve slowed a lot. 6:19. Gleep! I don’t want to go that slow. I could feel a cold coming on yesterday, and today my mouth is a bit phlemy, I occasionally choke on mucus as I breath. Grump.

One joy of going over the same route four times (out and back, out and back) is there are lots of markers to distract me. Here’s the one mile mark. That means only 1 mile to the halfway point. Now the 4 mile mark, that means .9 miles to the half-way point.

It’s getting hard to keep going. I know I went out too fast. Legs, you don’t need to remind me.

Six mile mark, only .2 miles to half-way. Three mile mark, only .1… 6:18 (Ug. slow)

Here are some walkers left over from the 5K. They’ve been out for more than an hour and they still haven’t finished it. Yet they seem cheerful and happy. I’d be really ashamed if I were they. Another group of walkers just as I come into the turn-around. One of them starts out into the middle of the course. And then stops. Right in front of me. If she just kept going all would be well, but she has realized she’s walking into the middle of the race and has paused to think about it. I can’t get out of her way, so I reach out my hand to push her out of mine. The impact is pretty hard, and although I was annoyed with her up till I hit her, I’m now sorry for it.

On and around, and I’m heading out again.

There is no one around me. The woman has faded far into the distance. I don’t know how far back Barry is (at this turn-around I don’t see behind me). It’s hard to race when there is no one to race with.

The sun is behind clouds and I’m getting chilly again. At least there’s no rain.

I want to stop.

I don’t stop.

I think I should be racing 6:10s, not 6:18s. Oh well, given the way I felt on Tuesday, this is really good.

Four mile mark, 6:20. Ug.

Todd is still in third place. As I watch people stream back, I realize I’m probably the second fastest person from SBAA (of course everybody else raced the 5K, but still, it’s kind of consoling).

Another wide loop around the wretched cone. Barry’s still back there. Kind of interesting, no one has passed me since the woman at the start. I’ve not passed anyone since the start. Even though I went out too fast, I guess everyone else did. I haven’t done any speed work in forever, I just didn’t think I was in any danger of going that fast.

Five mile mark, 6:28. Oh that’s sad. Still, Barry hasn’t passed me.

There’s the 1 mile mark again, only a mile left. Then the 4 mark, only .9…

I’d really like to stop now. Please?

Finally the six mile mark. Less than a quarter mile to go. The 3 mile mark (.1 miles). I’m watching the big clock, 38:29… Hmm. Maybe I’ll break 39. Maybe this won’t be too embarrassing. 38:48. It’s going to be close though. I try to speed up. As I cross the line I glance over 38:58! I can try to be proud of that.


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