This morning was a very good morning for a race. There have been threats of thunderstorms. Fortunately I did not get drenched, but I was able to race under a cloud covered sky, an occasional sprinkle, and a cool mild breeze. The temperature stayed in the 68-72 degree range. The humidity was on the high side, but the clouds and the breeze made it comfortable. My main goal for this 10 mile race was to set a personal best record. My previous 10 mile race PR was 1:56:34, I went into the race confident I could do it. My secondary goal was to break 1:50. My dream goal was 1:45 or better, well that I knew would have to wait since I have not been able to get the aerobic conditioning in I need since my ankle injury set me back a bit.
Earlier this week my training partner decided to register and run the race pacing me. She needed to get a 10 mile run in and her training pace is in my racing range. That was a treat, we rarely get to run together since we are at different paces. I did put a little extra pressure on myself thinking I had to push hard because I feared she would not be comfortable running at my slower pace. When the race started we both had to be careful pacing. Thankfully for my GPS I could see within the first quarter mile we were running 8:50 minute miles. Great if I am in a 5K, not smart for a 10 mile race. My first mile was under 10:00 minutes and I had hoped to target 10:30 pace. Mile 2 I got into a rhythm but still ran faster at 10:15 pace. Then mile 3 hit me. I was at 10:45 pace, breathing heavy and my heart rate was already in my anaerobic zone. The next three miles were tough. I was breathing hard, getting a little snappy – have I mentioned what a wonderful friend my training partner is? – and I knew if I wanted to PR I had to regulate my heart rate.
After mile 6 I saw where my time was and I knew that if I took it easy a minute each mile I would still PR. I am glad I did because the next four miles I actually ran at an overall better pace than miles 5 and 6. My only regret was after mile 7 I took a little extra time when I took an energy gel. That cost me two rankings in my age group by 2.5 seconds. What I did notice after the first mile was that the course was long. My GPS would show the miles were actually marked 1.02 or so miles long, so that by the mile 8 marker we had actually run 8.11 miles. When I was trying to come in under 1:50, that was enough to ruin it for me.
And it did, but I crossed the finish line in 1:51:12 and my GPS said I ran 10.13 miles. If it was accurate, I did break 1:50 by three seconds for 10 miles. Regardless, I set a PR by 5:22, ran with a wonderful friend, and came back after not being able to race the 10 mile race back in April. I will take it.
Now I am off to have dinner with my father and my family. For 91 years old, he is hanging in quite well and I am happy to celebrate Father’s Day with him. A wonderful day to seize today – a great morning race with my friend and now time with my family. A great day – I will take it too.