Training Widget

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Charlottesville 10 Miler

Day 205 - March 29, 2008

The 33rd annual Charlottesville 10 miler went off without a hitch this chilly morning. I decided to join the 2000+ crowd and put my endurance to the test against a good assortment of Charlottesville's toughest hills. As my regular readers know (yep - both of you) my expectations for the race were pretty low. In fact, 3 days ago I was still not going to run the race. But then I got an email from an out of town friend who was driving 3 plus hours to run the race and wanted to know if I would meet him at the race packet pick-up. I initially told him I wasn't going to run it, but didn't have the heart let him run alone.

The plan was I would just run the race as a training run and try and pace him along to his goal time of 75 minutes. I figured this would go one of three ways: either I would completely die at this pace and he would leave me crumpled on side of Maple St., or we'd run stride for stride and I'd have to cut him off at the finish line, or 7:30 pace would feel too slow, my competitive side would come roaring back and I'd take off and hurt myself. It started off well...slow. We went through the first half mile in 4:12 - that's 8:24 pace - yikes. My initial reaction was to take off, but I forced myself to hang back. Fortunately my friend suggested that we pass a few people and we picked it up a little. We started the back and forth weave to work our way through the crowd and hit the mile mark in 7:50. not bad considering how slow we started, but well below the 7:30's we needed to average to hit 75.

So I asked him how he was feeling and suggested we pick it up a little so we could get back on pace. And that my friends is when it began. At first I justified it as actually helping my friend. pulling ahead little by little to force him to pick it up on the downhills. Then I justified it as maintaining my stride on the uphills and not letting the faders break my rhythm. Next thing I know, we're hitting the 2 mile mark in 15:00 flat. Cool, we're right back on pace and he's just a few strides behind. Problem is, I never back the pace back down.

I cruised down McCormack just letting my stride go and found a comfortable pace. In my own little world, I assumed I was running 7:15-7:30. When I hit the three mile mark in 21:40, I was so confused I forgot to hit my split button. How could I have just run a 6:40 without even knowing it? Oh well, I just kept going and figured I'd enjoy to good pace and be prepared for my pace to come crashing back to reality.

Mile 4 came in 28:20 (another 6:40) and I started seeing runners I knew. Runners I expected to be much faster than me today. One by one I started passing them and my confidence began to soar - 75 minutes was going to be much easier than I expected. But there still were a lot of hills to climb that could crush me at any time.

I pressed on through the downtown mall and more and more runners were coming back to me. I was starting to feed on it. The more I passed, the more I wanted to pass. The 5 mile mark came in another 6:40 and that was mostly uphill. So here I am, halfway done and my time is 35 minutes. Yep, you guessed it, I immediately started thinking about finishing in 70 minutes.

What kind of a fool pushes his goal time up 5 minutes in the middle of a race? See, once I started passing people, I kind of, well, you know, liked it! Yep, all those competitive juices flooded my veins and it was on.

Getting through the next few miles is pretty tough. Miles 5 and 6 are probably the two toughest overall with several short steep climbs. Mile 5 passed in 6:33 (41:33) and mile 6 was 6:42 (48:16). I was now 45 seconds ahead of breaking 70 minutes with only 3 to go. Mile 7 was a little slower due to long boring stretch up Main St. It also was the first point in the race where I started to notice some fatigue. But covering that mile in 6:50 was plenty fast enough for me, especially knowing that he hardest mile of the race was up next. Mile 8 is just brutal due to the nasty hill on the corner - its just really long and takes a steady stride to not fall off pace. The 6:53 it took to make it to mile 9 was probably the fastest I have ever covered that mile. In years past, I would hit the wall hard on that hill - falling back to 7:20 or 7:30 has been quite common for me. But this year, I reached the final mile in less than 7 minutes.

So here I am - one mile to go and at an even 62 minutes - A full minute ahead of 70 minute pace. So of course, I immediately drop my goal time to 69 minutes - what a jackass I am. I just can't be happy with a good race. With two people a few yards ahead I dropped the hammer and tried to pass them. Up and down the hills on Alderman I closed the gap and finally got by them with 400 meters to go. I managed to keep pushing all the way to the finish. Even the race commentator from the radio station commented over the PA at how strong my finish was.

So, did I break 69? Yes in deed. Problem is I forgot to stop my watch until I came out of the shoot - I must have missed the button. Even still, my watch time was 68:50 but I had to be close to 68:30. I'll update later with the official time. Official time was 68:36 (6:35 for the last mile), but my chip time was 68:25.

Today was a huge success for me. I'm really glad that the training everyday is paying off even when I get frustrated with my lack of distance. I'll definitely use this run as a catapult to keep the momentum up for the streak. Hopefully I won't be whining about how sore I am tomorrow. If I do - make sure you comment back with the official suck it up crybaby mantra.

Day: 205 Time/Date: 7:45 AM 3/29/2008 Weather: Cloudy, 43F
Run: Cville Ten Miler Miles: 10.0 Time: 1:08:25 Pace: 6:50 min/mile
Miles to Date: 715.2 Total Running Time: 87:39:15

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