2008 was so great I just could not think of any resolutions for the new year. I have learned that if I do not have a plan, the plan just may find me and it may not be what I want. My running friends and I always say that our top goal is to not get injured. So what do I do on January 1st? Injure myself of course. Anything faster than an 8 minute mile really makes my plantar faciitis flare up and that five mile race on New Years Day sure did a job on my foot. Back to Dr. Hess for another injection and I can run, but all speed work is out of the question till I figure out a new stride or something. This all makes me realize that what I really want for 2009 is to participate in Yakima, Tacoma, Capitol City, Light at the End of the Tunnel and Victoria marathons. If I am slow, at least I am there. So look for fewer races in 2009 and slower times.
This brings me to the curse of the ten miler. Since 1997 that PR has been out there for the taking. I don't race that distance often, but every time since 1997 it has been dissapointing. I have run half marathons at a pace just over my ten mile PR. Over the years I have just had a bad day on ten mile race day. Sluggish legs, bad pacing. Last year was the worst ever. Feeling oh so fine and right on pace at mile 5.5 I was struck with a severe case of vertigo and stumbled to the ground. At least I got to meet my guardian angels that day.
Now here I am toeing the line again. Why am I even here? Well I can run long, just slow. I ran 17 miles last Saturday. I would like to run at least ten today since I do have a marathon in two weeks. I never place well in Steilacoom anyway so I might as well go for a fun run. Already paid my admission ticket, might as well roll along with my friends. Fog. Again. At least the 14th consecutive day of cold heavy fog. Shorts, three layers on top including my jacket.
Start - Way way way in the back. No need to get swept away in the crowd. I have barely done any warm up, so I will just ease into it. Greet lots of friends. Then off we go around the track.
Mile 0.5 - Running with Maniac Val and Maniac Hotrod. Don't know either of them very well so it is nice to get aquainted. Three Maniacs who should be running a whole lot faster but are either recovering from or dealing with plantar/foot issues. Sure hope to see them again with each of us fully recovered.
Mile 2.5 - 10K runners split off and there goes Hotrod. Too bad. Val and I continue on. We are running just over an 8:30/mile pace. It is faster than what I had planned for, but the foot is feeling fine. It is also a minute per mile slower than what I could be doing, so this is an easy fun run.
Mile 5 - Turn around. As usual it is fun to see/wave to/slap hands (RW) /and otherwise encourage all those I know. And I know some really fast and some fairly slow (for Steilacoom racing) people. For a few miles now we have been a little behind a woman that I think is Julie, but I am not sure. Finally we catch her and yes it is.
Mile 5.5 - Here is the spot where I collapsed last year. Whew, made it past without incident.
Mile 6 - I have been eyeing Maniac MMKuhl about a tenth of a mile ahead of me for some time. Foot feels fine so I tell Val that I am going to see if I can catch him. Without going into a full on sprint I surge ahead and work to reel him in.
Mile 6.5 - The steepest uphill on the course and I am pleased that I caught MMKuhl and can ease back to his pace.
Mile 7 - Nice visiting with MMKuhl and I decide to just stick with him to the end. It will make RW smile to see me finish with her Dad. Maybe I can encourage him and help him finish faster than he would have alone. Our average overall pace is holding at 8:27/mile. We should have no trouble beating 1 hour 25 minutes unless he really starts struggling.
Mile 8 - Fog has lifted. I see and remember now that the sky is blue, not white. I take my jacket off and tie it around my waist.
Mile 9.5 - How many times have I struggled with negativity in the final miles of the race? The brain tells me all these bad things just to make me slow down. I seldom have pain at the end of a race, but it is often difficult, unpleasant, a struggle. By going at 8:30/mile instead of 7:30/mile this finish is downright enjoyable. I should race like this more often. Who cares about the finish clock? Poor MMKuhl is probably struggling mightily right now, but he deserves credit for keeping an even pace throughout. We drop the final average pace to 8:26, a PR for him, and cross the line in 1 hour 24 minutes and change.
Finish - Don't think I am getting any ribbon today so I head right out for home. So glad that I did turn out this morning.
96 of 125 really fast runners, 12 of 14 in age group
race #155, 6th 10 mile race