Once again bright and early on a Saturday morning I found myself tagged with a race number staring down a race that I did not feel 100% ready for. I suppose there is a bit of a rhetorical aspect to being ready for a race, but perhaps skipping my long runs to do group bike rides on Sundays wasn’t the most tactically advantageous strategy.
I was, sad to admit, afraid that this would be the time that I finally managed to run a race so badly as to time out and get yanked off the roads. I did several calculations and kept coming up with a 2:40 completion time. I figured that gave me a 20 minute cushion, not a great deal of time to play with but roughly a min and a half per mile so maybe it would work out.
My plan was simple; keep moving, follow the orange cones, keep the people in front of me in sight, and hope there is at least one person behind me. I’d just assume not come in last. I was shooting to hit the 5 mile mark in an hour and the 10 mile mark in two hours thus giving me a full hour to hobble the last 3.1 miles.
The race started rather unceremoniously, or maybe I just missed the ceremony because I was so far back from the starting line. From my vantage point everyone just suddenly started running so I did too. Of course I started out a tad bit too fast. That always happens, then I was torn between just seeing how long I could maintain and intentionally slowing down a bit. You know what, it actually takes a lot of discipline to stick to a specific say 12 min/mile pace when other people are moving much faster.
At mile 5 I was doing ok though, I was a little ahead of my projected hour. Same with mile 10. I had actually managed to keep running that whole time despite the fact that this course was shockingly hilly. Then things got a bit ugly at the base of a huge slope right at mile 10.5.
Ironically Brian said that this was the exact same spot where he too started walking. Granted this happened half an hour before I was at that point but clearly this was the proper spot to give up and start the run/walk.
I pretty much spent miles 10.5 to mile 12 running where it was downhill or flat and walking up the hills. By then I knew I was well within the time limit so I was going to finish and more importantly if I looked back I could see people behind me so that’s always a relief. I got to mile 12 and the cop directing traffic swore that it was all downhill from there. It turns out he wasn’t lying so I actually ran well “ran” the last 1.1 mile of the thing and at least I crossed the finish line with a bit of dignity.
Brian was waiting for me at the 13 mile mark and ran in with me. He said that he knew I was a bit stressed about the race and when he realized how hilly it was, he was worried about how I was doing. Only 0.1 miles worried I noticed because that’s as far as he went looking for me. This is sort of a no-win for him. If he totally freaks out then I get angry because he should have more faith in my overall general awesomeness but if he doesn’t freak out then clearly I could have been dead of exhaustion back on the course and where was he?!?
I came in at 2:39 exactly a minute faster than I calculated so maybe I’m not the best runner in the city but I am one heck of a mathematician.
The rest of the day was about Texas vs Oklahoma, Clem(p)son trying to lose to BC, Penn State going to oh I don’t know 8 or 9 over times against Michigan, Texas A&M played someone Missouri maybe. You get the idea.