Saturday, September 4, 2010

9/4/10 Over The Narrows 10 Miler

Since my first 10 mile race in 1997, this distance has been something of a bad luck curse for me. On a good day, with a reasonable level of fitness I should be able to beat my time of 1:16:20. In my seven attempts to best that time I have had no success. Icy conditions, tired legs, recovering from injury and my severe dizzy dizzy spell have occurred during the ensuing ten milers. Hard to predict a finish time for today's race. This is an inaugural event although I have run across the bridge for the Narrows Half, I have never run it as an out and back. The start and finish in Gig Harbor is a new location for me. I know that there will be some hills. I also know that I have somewhat tired legs from last week's marathon.
Start and finish is at the uptown Gig Harbor shopping center, specifically we have the Galaxy Theater for packet pick up and rest rooms. Makes for plenty of parking and a warm place to wait if needed. I consider buying a giant popcorn but decide that it probably is not wise. Big event, nice T-shirt and I will get a medal if I finish, all for $30. It was drizzling when I left our cabin at Hood Canal, now it is just very dark with clouds. Half mile warm up and off we go.
Start - Line up near the front. I'll try to hold a 7:30 pace but I am sure I will lose it on the long uphill on the other side of the bridge. Start in the parking lot with a quick left turn to a long gradual downhill.
Mile 1 - Wow, we have been going downhill for sometime. This is not going to be an easy finish. Running hard but not all out. Run a little with Maniac Ron. More downhill, then some up, through a tunnel I never knew existed, then a screaming downhill to the bridge.
Mile 3 - Maniac Pedro catches up to me and tells me how fast I am. He is too kind. I can hardly believe that I am at mile three and still even with Pedro. Strong side winds blowing across the bridge. This is my third time running across the Narrows and by far the windiest conditions. Pedro on my right and slightly ahead, I try to draft him, but it is not doing much good.
Mile 4 - As soon as we get to the hill on the far side he eases ahead. I try to stay with him but just can not do it. Now the long uphill. Slowing for sure I try to focus on form. Nearing the top, here comes Maniac Ginger heading back. She is so encouraging, telling me that I am close to the top. Yes she is right, there is the crest of the hill and I make it across the street and around the flagpole in Memorial Park. Now I get to go downhill.
Mile 5 - Flying down the hill. Getting the pace back to about 7:30. Kimpossible, Maniac Marie and Marci sightings.
Mile 7 - Now the uphill slog. I get passed by a couple of runners, but also pass a few. No talking, just trying to hold on. Thankful for the relatively flat part through the tunnel.
Mile 8 - I have a shot at that PR. Try to keep running hard. Its just tough on the uphills. Sometimes after a race I think back and wonder why I did not run faster/harder at some point. I decide to keep on working hard so that I will have no regrets.
Mile 9 - Look at the watch. I have a chance. Have to run about an 8 minute mile, not sure exactly. Too bad it is all uphill. Well almost. The last 0.15 miles is downhill through the parking lot. I'm not holding back, but I know that when I make that final turn and head downhill I will be sprinting as hard as I can. If the watch still says 1:15 (it does not show the seconds after an hour) then I have a chance.Otherwise I will back off slightly and not go all out at the end. I make the turn and the watch still reads 1:15
Mile 9.85 - A few steps into the parking lot, a quick look at the watch and it reads 1:16. Now I am running as fast as I can and loving the downhill. There is the finish line and the big clock ticking away. So disappointing to see 1:16:19, 1:16:20, 1:16:21 and 1:16:22 as I cross and feel like vomiting. Pull off to the side thinking I may throw up, but recover soon enough. Ginger and Pedro telling me that I did great. Argh that was tough. I should feel fine about my effort and finish time considering the course, and I do. I really do not think that there is anything I could have done (except to not run a marathon the week before) to have gotten a better finish time today. But it would have been so much more satisfying to have been about three seconds faster.
Nice event that I hope to run again.

1:16:22
54th place of 393
****

1 comment:

Ginger said...

If it makes you feel better, I told Merita and Bill as I was walking through the finish chute that I thought I was going to be sick. You would have killed your 10 mile PR if you didn't have week old marathon legs. This was my first at this distance.