Saturday, June 14, 2008

6/14/08 Sound to Narrows 12K

Four weeks since my last race, but plenty of training miles in the bank. As I was looking forward to the summer racing season I realized that if I do all of the races that I have penciled in the calendar, I will have 8 races in 8 weeks at 8 different distances. Sound to Narrows will start it off with the uncommon 12K distance. My goals are to finish strong and I feel like I have a realistic chance at a PR. This is the only 12K course I have done, each time I have run it I have gotten a little faster. Two friends mention the low turn out, but it still seems like a massive number of people to me. Where are all these people at the other races? Cool and mostly cloudy. Yellow wave.
Start - What to do about that downhill start? I want time in the bank, but is it possible to go out too fast, making the transition to uphill more difficult? I decide to go slower than usual, but move along. I had a one mile warm up with no strides, so I need to ease into the race.
Mile 1.25 - That was one long downhill. I am at 7:20 pace which seems just about right. The turn into the park with the sudden steep rise puts a quick end to all the fun.
Mile 2.5 - Bout of negativity. Bad thoughts in my head. Thoughts of walking, thoughts of not racing again. I have beaten this devil before, it is just my brain not appreciating what I am doing to its body. Early in the race though, not a good sign. The trick is to slow the pacve ever so slightly and get into a comfortable fast groove. The groove is just hard to find with all the ups and downs.
Mile 3.5 - This was easier here a few weeks ago as mile 12 of the marathon. Keep the average pace at 7:30 and if I can be at that speed out of the park, I should be in good shape to PR. I am feeling ever so slightly wobbly however. When I see the mass of runners just ahead of me, all bobbing up and down it makes me feel unbalanced. Looking at the ground does not help much. I try to focus on symmetry and it seems to help.
Mile 4 - Form a pack of four, all of us wearing Tacoma City Marathon T-shirts. As soon as the pack forms it breaks up. Anther kid in a black shirt keeps playing leapfrog with me. Othwise I am passing more runners than pass me. Cut off by a guy at the water station and almost crash into him. Lots of dodging around.
Mile 6 - Out of the park with a 7:33 average pace. Big dip does not impress as much, now that I have run it 5 times. Still leapfrogging the black T-shirt kid. Passing a few green bibbers.
Mile 6.5 - Right turn onto Vassault street, with one mile of uphill to go. I decide that I can ease up a bit, at least not stress it, and when the watch hits 7:40 average, I'll give it my all.
Mile 6.75 - Hill is not so bad, I am passing more than being passed, finally pass black T-shirt boy for good.
Mile 7 - Watch still says 7:35 overall pace. I am concerned that my GPS mileage may be off, I should not trust the watch completely, but 15 seconds per mile faster than PR by the watch, has got to get me in on time. Relax and have fun.
Mile 7.4 - Top of the hill, left turn and quick right onto the grass of the finish line. Always feel better at the top of the hill and I pick up the pace. Now a quick descision, should I just cruise in and end it easy, or see how much kick I have left? I decide on the latter and turn on the power. Blistering fast by my standards, I pass 5 runners in the last 50 yards and finish in a fury of speed. That was too much energy to end a race with, but since I took over a minute off my PR, I'll just say that I ran well today.
Finish - Jog back to watch Billy finish and almost miss him, wait for Tammy and almost miss her. Too many people for my taste. Lost in the crowd at the finish area, although I do see a few more friends.
57:21 PR

306th of 2164 runners and walkers, 42nd of 143 in age group
race#137 Sound to Narrows #4

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