When: September 26, 2010
Where: Smithville Lake (Smithville, MO)
Weather: Overcast and windy
AG: 1/5 First Place! WooHooo
I had high hopes coming into this race. My public goal was a sub-50, but secretly I was hoping to finish around 46:30. Yes there was a big disparity, but I didn't want to publicly commit to a goal I knew would be very tough to meet.
The pre-race routine went flawless. I decided to burn a CD with a "race mix" to get me pumped up and ready to race! It did the job. On the drive to the race I was mentally preparing myself. I knew the course was fast with the first 2 miles having a lot of downhill, the middle two miles being mostly uphill (nothing bad), and the remaining miles being flat with a downhill finish. My plan was to run close to a 7:30 average for the first 2 miles and not go above a 7:40 average by the time I started mile 5. I figured I could pick up at least 10 seconds of time over the remaining 2+ miles to meet my goal.
This was a very small race with the 10K having maybe 50 people total. The 5K had maybe 150 or so.
I was talking with people at the start trying to get a glimpse of who I might be able to use as a rabbit. I was going to pick a guy who was ex military, but I thought I remembered him being faster than me at previous races. I decided to let the race start and then see what played out.
All of a sudden people started running and the race was on! If someone yelled go, I never heard it. LOL The first mile starts with a good downhill so I had to try to keep myself from going out too fast while at the same time letting gravity do some of the work for me. I think I ended up fairing pretty well and finished the first mile in 7:22 and managed to get a couple of pics in the process.
Early in the mile. The guy in the white shirt on the right side of the road is the ex-military guy I thought about choosing as the rabbit.
somewhere along mile 1, probably about 1/2 through.
Mile 2 continued with a slight downhill, leveled out, then went downhill a little more. The downhills during this mile were mostly gradual. I wanted to slow down a little, but not too much. I think I managed my goal fairly well and finished this mile in 7:27. I did manage to get a couple of decent pictures during this stretch.
On the left side of the road in the distance was my rabbit for this mile. I dubbed her the "Lady in Black"
It took about 5 minutes, but I reeled her in.
Mile 3 started on a downhill, but had some gradual hills, nothing too bad. I passed "The Lady in Black" and saw a group of runners in the distance. Among the group, was the ex-military man. I decided that the group was my new rabbit. I slowed down a bit this mile because of the hills, but not too much since it was completed in 7:39. I managed to get one pic as the mile started.
You can see the group up in the distance.
Mile 4 had a series of hills with a fairly long incline during the middle of it. My goal for this mile was to keep my average pace below 7:40/mi. I used the group to pull me along, but started worrying when I saw my average pace get to 7:38. It was during this mile that it started hurting. I was breathing fairly heavy and was worried about meeting my goal. I then remembered what a fellow Free Agent member wrote on my FB page, "strong and steady" and started using that as my mantra. It worked, thanks Darren! I did slow a decent bit, but managed to keep my average at 7:38/mi and finished the mile in 8:08. I also managed to slowly pick off members of the group as they started to slow. I only snapped one pic during this stretch.
Whose that in the distance, yep ex-military man. He became my new rabbit.
Mile 5 had a decent amount of rolling hills, which I like, and then finished on a downhill. Knowing that I needed to make up time, I started to pick up the pace. There were quite a few times that walking sounded good, but I knew if I stopped I would not make my goal. I decided that all I could do was try to reel in the rabbit and see what happens. We are moving at a good pace and I can see we're catching up to another runner in the distance. Naturally, I now want to pass the guy in the distance. I figure if I can keep pace with the rabbit (about 100 feet ahead of me), it will happen. Sure enough, we pass him. The guy told me "good job" as I passed and I echoed his sentiment in return. At the end of this mile, I knew I had my public goal in the bag and figured I had a decent shot at making my secret goal. I finished mile five in 7:15 and snapped a couple of pics along the way.
Nice gently rolling hills. I love this kind of running.
Catching up to the rabbit on the backside of a hill.
Mile 6 I knew would mostly be flat with a downhill finish. This mile pulled us across the dam, we made a right at the end of the dam and descended to the finish. A nice steep downhill finish at that! I finally caught up to the rabbit and we exchanged words of encouragement. I paced with him for a short time. I then noticed my average pace was still above 7:30/mi and I needed to push the pace to ensure I made it. By this time it was all I could do to keep running. I was thankful there were no uphill sections during this mile. We also started coming into the 5K walkers. I could see the end of the dam up ahead. I kept telling myself that I had less than a mile to go, suck it up and stay strong..."strong and steady." I finally make it to the turn and start the descent to the finish. I try to speed up, but have nothing left. I focus on maintaining pace.Strong. And. Steady. Mile 6 finishes in 6:49! I can't believe it. I thank the downhill sections for my pace. I still managed to snap a couple of pics.
After passing the rabbit. A view looking out at Smithville Lake from the dam.
The end of mile 6.
The remaining 0.2 miles were all downhill, but I felt I was fading. Then, the finish clock comes into view and I see 45:36. I NEVER thought I'd finish below 46:00 so I try to muster my sorry excuse of a kick and try with all I have to make it. Runners who have finished are sending out words of encouragement. I feed off of it. I cross the line at at 45:xx and am so flipping HAPPY! Then it hits me. I just PR'd by about 6.5 minutes! I am completely SPENT and need to walk around for a bit to catch my breath. I bettered all my expectations.
I grab a water and head down to partake in the pancake breakfast. I decided to wait around to see if I placed in my AG and it turns out I Won my AG! On the drive home I couldn't stop smiling. Heck, I'm still smiling.
The shirt with my AG medal.
If you made it through the complete RR, thanks for taking your time to read about my journey. I hope you enjoyed it.