Last year it was my birthday and I tied my best ever 10K time (44:17). I had hopes of doing even better this year. Jody also running the 10K. Warm with some wind and brilliant sunshine. Just a little cooler than last year,
Start - Small turn out. More than half of the folks are doing the two mile walk or run. Ron and Steve are here of course, and the Olafsons, and 4 guys from the Fleet Feet team, and that super fast kid from Elma. Such a small race Jody and I start together, but that does not last long.
Mile 0.5 - Turn onto Main Street. Ron has just passed me and that is good, I know where I belong. I want to focus on my form and stride and think about running for this whole race, rather than go off day dreaming. For the first mile I just work on pace.
Mile 1 - 6:50 overall. A tad too fast. Proprioceptive cue is "pulling the road". Runner breathing down my neck but as I slow a bit, intentionally, he does too. Ron is pulling away.
Mile 2 - 6:59 pace overall. Warm and windy. cue = "lean forward". Don't like it.
Mile 3 - 7:07 pace overall. Every time I look at my watch I am a second slower. I am not going to PR today. Cue = "navel to spine". I am focussing well, just slowing down. Legs are tired and my lungs are having trouble getting air. A little depressing, but I'll get over it. No one has passed me and that guy behind me is dropping back a ways.
Mile 4 - This course is flat but it sure is exposed to the sun. Dump water on my head at the aid station. Now I have been following Ron, he is a good quarter mile ahead of me, just a spec in the distance. Looks like he will beat me by at least two minutes, which seems about right. But hold on a second, isn't this where the course turns right? Major road here, but I see no markings. Ron disappears way ahead, straight. I stop, unsure what to do. There is a car wating to turn at the intersection and I signal them but they have no idea what I am yelling about and pull away. Then a neighbor in their driveway shouts out that I am indeed supposed to make the turn. I thank him and proceed on with a quick look back at the runner behind me who has nearly caught up to me.
Mile 4.1 - Yes, this is right. I see the new houses going in that I remember from last year and a sign on the road for the race. Poor Ron, he is a great runner though and will figure it out soon enough. What if he was following other runners? Those Fleet Feet guys probably do not know this course. The Elma kid ran here last year, but so did Ron and that turn was not marked well. I can see about a half mile in front of me and there is no one. Just maybe I am in first place. Wouldn't that be a riot? Better not let that guy behind me pass me just in case.
Mile 5 - Run like I am being chased by a pack of very fast and angry runners. I picture them trying to catch me. It is the bear run and I think about out running a bear, or being chased by a dog. Hitting shade and running a little faster. Overall pace is 7:18.
Mile 5.6 - Water stop. I pour a cup of water on my mesh hat. I love the way it drips down my head. I throw my cup onto the side of the road and I do not see any other cups there. There is a trash bag that looks like it may contain something. Just keep pretending that I am in first place and that they are chasing me, this can not be a bad strategy.
Mile 6.2 - There is the finish line. My overall pace has dropped to 7:16 and I have a good kick left. Three guys with Fleet Feet shirts are watching me come in, so I know that only Ron missed the turn. Finish strong, The last mile went way better than the previous four, mostly thanks to shade. Grab a water bottle and jog back to encourage others and am so glad to see Jody not too far back and in good spirits. Nice little race, my 4th fastest 10K, but not as good as I had hoped for.
44:55 6th place of 26 runners
race#141 10K#21 Mcleary Bear Run #2