Yes, I know I’ve been absent for a while again. A lot of stuff going on at work and a baby that’s about 5 weeks away from making her arrival will do that to you!
Anyway, on to the news of the day. I ran the Deer Run 10K this past Saturday – my “tune up” race to the Door County Half Marathon taking place in just 5 short days. Last year, I ran this race in 54:42 (when lack of training and knee issues torpedoed the run). This year, my goal for the race is sub-50:00. I’ve felt great for a while, ran well and have had no physical issues to speak of. I’m expecting a good run.
I ran this race (and will run next weekend’s race) with my brother-in-law. He’s in full marathon training mode and has been doing runs much longer and faster than mine so I fully expect him to finish ahead of me.
Pre-Race: Conditions were less than ideal for this run. As we arrived at the course, the temperature was about 45* with a slight wind and overcast conditions. It had rained most of the night before so everything was wet. I was wearing a long sleeve shirt and shorts and that was about it so I was cold the minute I got out of the car. I knew I’d be fine once I started running but that wasn’t helping me now. I’m jumping, stretching, hitting the bathroom one last time, getting ready to run. We move to the start line and after about a five minute delay, we’re off!
1st Mile: I felt really good right from the start. That’s a little unusual for me as it typically takes me a half mile to a mile to get into the groove. Not today though. By the way, my brother-in-law passes me at about the 1/4 mile mark. It’s the last time we’ll be even. The course was wide open so space is not an issue. I figure to hit a sub-50:00 time, I need to average about an 8:00 mile overall so I’m hoping to come in a little under that in the first mile. I can tell I’m moving fast – faster than I usually start out – but I’m feeling good so I’m just going with it. Mile 1 = 7:40.
2nd Mile: I’m a full 20 seconds under 8:00 pace for the first mile and I’m starting to worry that I’m burning too fast. I want to save energy for the 2nd half of the run but still keep it under an 8:00 mile if possible. I decide to back the pace off a little. Or so I thought. Mile 2 = 7:38.
3rd Mile: OK, I thought I was going to slow down, not go faster! I guess when the body wants to go, it wants to go. I’m in a nice little groove and feeling pretty good but I know there’s a slight uphill coming up and that I’ll slow down slightly as I take on some water just before the halfway point. Along this mile, I run over a manhole cover that has standing water on it and my foot slides a solid 3-4 inches across it. Won’t make that mistake again! Mile 3 = 7:57.
4th Mile: This is the first point where I’m feeling that a sub-50:00 time has a better than 50% chance of happening. I’m a total of about 45 seconds under 8:00 pace but I think I’m starting to feel the effects of starting as fast as I did. It’s starting to drizzle a little. Somewhat refreshing. Slightly annoying. Looks like the sky could open up just about any time. I pass the in-laws and family (who are doing the 5K walk) and get a little cheer. Ready to go a little faster now. Mile 4 = 7:45.
5th Mile: You know, I think there’s a darn good chance that sub-50:00 is going to happen! I just need to maintain a steady pace and I should be good! You have no idea how excited I am by this. I make an impromptu goal on the course that I want to finish every mile of the 10K under 8:00. 4 for 4 so far. Mile 5 = 7:51.
6th Mile: A sub-50:00 time is virtually in the bag now. Just need to bring it home. It hits me at this point that not only should I be finishing under 50:00 but I may be able to finish well under 50:00. Never thought I’d be worrying about that today! The 10K run and 5K walk courses converge and there’s suddenly a lot more traffic. I see marshalls on bikes out on the course trying to shuffle walkers to the side but it doesn’t seem to be doing much good. Mile 6 = 8:01.
Finish: DAMN IT! One f***ing second! I just missed 6 sub-8:00 miles by one second! I blame the walkers! And the marshalls! And Barack Obama! One final turn and I hit the finish line in perfect stride.
Final time = 48:23. A 7:48 mile pace.
This was a better time than I would’ve expected in most of my best case scenarios. Totally excited right now! Outside of some stiffness in my calves, my body feels great and I was able to take almost 6 1/2 minutes off of last year’s time. I’m psyched for the half marathon this coming weekend. We’re totally ready for it.
Incidentally, my brother-in-law finished in 46:36. He knocked a full 10 minutes off of last year’s time. Nice job!
5 days until the half marathon. The goal is sub-2:00:00. I’m coming in under that. Easily.