>> Monday, March 29, 2010
Saturday night, the night before the race, Pharmie and I went out with some friends. We had to check out Michelangelo's Pietà (or at least a replica) that is currently on display at the Cathedral of St. Paul:
Sunday morning, I got up and got ready for the 5K. The great thing was that the 5K started 0.7 miles from my front door! So when “packet pick-up” opened, I just jogged down there, picked up my stuff, and jogged back home to get my chip and number put on. Here’s the pick-up tent just as they were opening:
(That’s a cat coming out of my butt)
So about 18 minutes before the start, I took off out the front door. I jogged down to the start (with a couple of “stride outs”), and still had over 10 minutes to spare. I chatted with a few other guys lining up near the front, and it was a conversation that some hardcore runners don’t like to have: I asked what they thought their finishing time would be. I told them I was NOT running for place, and that I was ONLY running for a PR, and I wanted to know who I’d be around. Everyone at this race was TOTALLY cool with sharing prospective times. One guy, B, said he was hoping for around 17:30. I told him I was gunning for just under that, because 17:27 was my PR. A young, 15-16 year-old redheaded kid told me he was hoping to go out under 5/mile (gulp) and finish around 15. And there was something about him that made me BELIEVE him - I knew he knew what he was talking about. I gave the young-en some advice on the course, Molly caught my eye and said hi, and we were being ushered up to the line in no time.
Rick Recker from the MDRA sounded the bullhorn, and we were off!
Here’s the course and the elevation chart:
I pushed it up the first little hill to Cleveland, and I hit my watch. The stoplights on this course are a half mile apart, so I could check on my pace at the 0.5 mile point and see how I was doing. The speedy 15 year old was GONE from the start. And I was running in second. About a half mile in, B slowly passed me, and we chatted for a moment. I was in third. (But I did NOT care about place - I was going for PACE!)
• Mile 0.5: 2:47 (5:34 pace). “Perfect!”
I was SO happy with that starting pace. I knew I had to hold a 5:36 average to PR, so I was where I needed to be! We hit the 1 mile marker at the base of the hill just before Snelling.
• Mile 1: 5:38. “Good! Try to maintain this up the hill.”
Coming up to Snelling, I could hear sirens getting closer and closer. I was afraid that the 2 police officers were going to tell me to stop to let an emergency vehicle go though. But the sirens stopped, and I looked over to see an ambulance stopping at an SA just 1 block off Summit at Snelling. Close call!
Running up the rest of that hill was a little rough. I was right on B’s heels, but I knew my pace was dropping a little. The half mile leading up to the turn-around was 2:50 (5:40 pace). I was slowing. At the turn-around, I really didn’t know if I’d be able to PR. I was hurting, and the race was only half done. I knew I’d have to “gut it out.”
• Mile 2: 5:43 (uphill). “Shucks. That’s a bit too slow. I hurt like hell, but I’ve GOT to go NOW. Use this downhill coming up! GO!”
I was trying to watch my foot-strike: I’m a “heal-striker,” and I know that only slows you down in a race. I was trying to land mid-sole. That downhill half mile clocked in at 2:42 (5:24 pace), so I knew I had a shot at the PR. But I just wanted to stop and catch my breath. I was h.u.r.t.i.n.g. I wanted to end it. I was thinking about what Char had commented on my Friday post:
Good luck with that PR. Just remember that the pain will stop as soon as you cross the finish line or die, which ever comes first.
I’d like to go with death please. With a side order of fries. Thanks.
I glanced up and decided to pick up the pace and catch B in front of me. I was still in 3rd, and that speedy kid was literally BLOCKS ahead of us. I hurt like hell, but I needed to make up some time NOW. I also spotted Pharmie off in the distance on her bike! She had surprised me out there by showing up to cheer at the start of her bike ride! She snapped a shot of me off in the distance as I was starting to pass B with about a half mile left:
Making the pass
Taking 2nd place
I hit my watch at the mile 3 marker, but I didn’t look at it. I was pushing HARD. Knowing my split at that moment would not help anything. I just needed to leave EVERYTHING out there. Here’s the AWESOME shot Pharmie got of me as I crossed Cleveland with just 100 feet left in the race:
• 0:31 to the finish.
Finishing time: 17:11
Pace: 5:31.8 / mile
2nd out of 498 overall
1st out of 26 in the 25-29 age group
And most importantly: a PR of 0:16 on a certified course!!
I changed out of my running shorts when I got home, and I put on long johns and old jeans so I could go do yard work. It wasn’t until later that day that I realized that I never put underwear on before I put on my long johns.
Note to self: wash long johns.