I registered for the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run a little over a week ago in a "why the hell not?" kind of way. I'm in between training regimens so these days I have an "anything goes" philosophy toward my running. I didn't really have any aim or goal for this race. Sure, it would be great if I set a new 10K PR, which I thought might be doable considering I've only done one previous 10K. Even greater would be to break 50:00, but I wasn't counting on it. I haven't been pushing myself in the speed department lately and my runs since the half marathon have been rather leisurely. I mainly just wanted to have fun, because that's what it's all about in the end, right? RIGHT? FUN, DAMMIT!
I was determined yesterday to forgo any consumption of booze to see how and if it would affect my performance today, but after I picked up my race packet at Ypsilanti High School and was waiting at the stop sign to get out of the parking lot onto Packard Rd...turn left, go home. Turn right, and a mere 2 miles away was the Corner Brewery, having a second anniversary bash with $2.00 pints of some of the best damn beer around.
Well, which do you think I ended up doing?
Anyway, unsurprisingly, several hours and beers later I got home. I did go to bed at a sensible hour because I was going to get up at 6:00 am, which I did. I was on the road around 6:50 and pulled into a conveniently located parking spot in the residential area near the races' base of operations at shortly after 7:00. I saw Tina while I was wandering around and we did a few warm-up laps on the as-yet-unfinished track at the new high school. Pretty soon it was time to head to the starting line, and the race was underway at 8:00.
There had been talk of some monster hill on Maple Rd. as part of this new course, and the bulk of the first mile of the race was all downhill on this hill. I was going to have to run this thing from mile 5 to 6. Oh, great. Well, we'll endure it when we get there, I told myself as I came off the final, steepest part onto the flatness of Huron River Drive.
I felt decent, and I wasn't looking at my Garmin because doing so always gives me an oh my gosh I'm going too fast I can't sustain this I have to slow down complex. The timer at the first mile read 8:30 as I passed and I thought, Well, that sounds about right, that's a good pace. I didn't take into account the time it had taken me to cross the starting line after the gun. It turns out I had just run a 7:59 mile though I didn't know it at the time.
I knew something was up when I ran the second mile in 7:51 and the third in 7:44 and I wasn't feeling overly stressed. I was managing to keep my breathing deep and even, resisting the impulse to pant uncontrollably. Arms were relaxed and doing their job, legs felt good and quick, and heart rate wasn't disturbingly high. Mile 4 passed in 8:01 and mile 5 in 8:05...and then the monster hill hit. It was killer. I don't know how to run hills so I just try to grind along as best I can without any strategy whatsoever. I had been trailing this older woman for a long time, determined not to lose her, but when we got to the hill she just took off and left me in the dust. I plodded along and finally gave in to the temptation to pant and it felt really good. Interestingly, my heart rate only reached 167 during this ascent, which was only 2 bpm faster than my max HR for the previous 2 miles. I don't know what this means in terms of my physiology but I find it curious. I felt like I was working really hard, almost at the limit of my capability, but my HR says otherwise.
Once I reached mile 6 I knew it was almost over; a mere 0.2 to go. I checked my Garmin: 48:32! I had a chance to break 50:00! Could I do it? I threw everything I had left into the last 0.2. I stopped my watch at 49:58. I was filled with unease. I knew I was going to be right on the edge between 50:00 and 49:50-something according to my chip time. The fact that I had just PRed by over a minute suddenly became less important. Oh please please please let me break 50:00!
Well, people my official time was:
OK, let me tell ya'll that YES I was frustrated, because if I had run ONE SECOND FASTER at any point on the course I would have broken 50:00. I'm not going to dwell on it too much (any more than I already have, anyway) because those are the thoughts that will drive a person crazy.
(ONE LOUSY SECOND! ARRRRRRRRRGH!)
There is a bright side to this story, which is that I hung around the finish area with Tina for a while and scored two pieces of Zingerman's Bakehouse Chocolate Cherry bread, which is like crack in the shape of a loaf of bread. Seriously.
Eventually, though, I needed to get going because opera rehearsal started at 1:00 and I really had to go home and shower off the crusties. But first, my other vital task of the weekend was to procure a new pair of running shoes because my Saucony Omni 6es have run their last mile *sniff*. I not only scored a new pair of Brooks Adrenaline shoes on sale but also some more summer clothing including two tank tops for 50% off due to some makeup smudges but I didn't care; hey, I'm not fussy and that's what washing machines are for. Someone's foundation and mascara rubbed off on these things when they were tried on and as a result I got 50% off! I used the rest of my anniversary bonus money from work and came away with a big heavy bag of goodies. Thanks, Place of Employment, for subsidizing my obsession!
Mile 1: 7:59
Mile 2: 7:51
Mile 3: 7:44
Mile 4: 8:01
Mile 5: 8:05
Mile 6: 8:53
8:03 avg pace
Time: 50:00 (ARRRRRGH...OK I'll stop now), a new PR by 1:22!
9/125 W 30-34
Post-race rehydration: Magic Hat No. 9 "Not Quite Pale" Ale and Flying Dog Woody Creek White Belgian-Style Ale. And water, too, of course. I'm not a complete idiot/lush!
For a race that was a "I don't have anything better to do today" thing, I think it turned out all right. At least now I have a goal for my next 10K, which is to break 50:00.
(ONE LOUSY STINKIN' SECOND FASTER....GRRRRRR!)