Sunday, April 02, 2006

A Great Day for a 10K Race!

I woke up this morning at 8 a.m. feeling fresh and still filled from the massive meal that we had at the neighbor’s birthday party the night before. I stuck my head outside and checked out the weather: mild, partly sunny, a slight wind and 9C/48F. Over a small breakfast I pondered what I should wear for my 10K race at 11 a.m. The weather forecast called for mild weather turning to rain my mid-afternoon. I decided to go with running shorts and a long sleeve running shirt. At about 9:45 my wife and I drove to next town, Blankenloch, where the race was held. We had to get there early because the town was closing off the main street at 10 a.m. and we wanted to park near a friend’s house that lived near the Start.

I picked up my race number and promptly started looking for the restrooms. Um, where were the restrooms? I wondered around for a few minutes and didn’t find any! I went back into the building where they were issuing the start numbers and asked. Of course nobody knew anything, but they suggested I could ask some dude standing outside. Ugh! I mean this was the 1st Annual Stutensee Town Run, but let’s be for real people, you have to realize that when a thousand runners show up you have to have a plan. So I went outside and got directions to an elementary school halfway back to our town and I took care of business. When I finally rejoined my wife she promptly told me that the club finally put up a sign for the restrooms, right next door to where I picked up the start number, of course!

Okay, so I ignored this inconvenience and walked around a small market that was set up in the area and waited for the start of the race. About 15 minutes before I made another pit stop at the restroom and then warmed up for the race.

I was feeling surprisingly good considering my hill run on Saturday morning, so pondered what pace I wanted to run. As I said in a couple of my posts this week, it was important for me to not push too hard, as my training for the 50K is rather short and I can’t miss any training runs. So I decided to just run and have fun. By this time the tempeature was up to 12C/54F and the sun was shining. Let's race!

I lined up in the middle of the pack and saw the wife of one of my co-workers. We talked for awhile until the Start pistol went off. The pace quickly picked up and I lost her immediately. I got caught up in the masses and of course started faster than I had planned on. I passed the 1K marker in 5:04 (8:09/M pace), a little fast, I made a note to slow down a bit if I feel winded.

So we wound around the town of Blankenloch, I passed the 2K marker, oops 4:50/K (7:47/M) – too fast, I don’t want to burn myself out. I missed the 3K marker, but passed the 4K marker with a time of 19:35, which was an average pace of 4:51/K (7:49/M) for the first four kilometers. I was getting a little winded (we went over an overpass about this time) so slowed down a bit, I guess. About this time I hear a familiar huffing and puffing and Mr. Friedbert Vetter, the ultramarathon runner that I talked I barely beat at the cross-country race in January slowly came running by me. We exchanged greetings as he passed and soon he was out of sight.

I missed the 5K marker and by the 6K marker I decided to stop looking at my watch and just run. We headed out of town and into the forest, onto the same trail that I ran my long runs all winter. Of course the familiar route caused me to speed up again, or it felt like it at least. I missed the 7K marker and as we approached the town again, we passed over a small bridge and the 8K marker on the other side. From here we turned right and headed out of town again and over dirt field path. I was starting to feel the run from the day before about this time, but focused and put on the cruise control.

I crossed the 9K marker and was really having to push it to keep the pace up. My mind and body were both complaining by this time and I had all I could do to keep it up. Then I see a familiar blue “Phillipsburg Running Club” shirt up ahead and knew right away that Mr. Vetter was just ahead, I had almost caught up to him. I dug down deep and picked up the pace, one more kilometer, I had to pass this dude!

I stretched it out, taking advantage of my longer stride and slowly crept by, again hearing his distinct huffing and puffing as I passed. Five hundred meters to go and the blue wonder was going to make me pay for every meter, he stuck to me like glue, I could hear his breathing with every step.

Finally we round the last corner and I saw the finish ahead. I put everything on the table and moved forward. The legs whined, my lungs felt like they were going to burst – almost there – finished. My wife was there and shouted a greeting, but I huff-puff, couldn’t, huff-puff, say a word at this point so waved and walked it out until I could catch my breath.

I went back to the finish and surrendered my micro-chip arm band and got in line for my T-Shirt. They were out (of course) so I put my name on the list – they will have more next week.

I rejoined my wife, who had in the meantime collected our friends and staked out the best place to eat. We agreed that what the race organizers had to offer was not worth the trouble, so our friends suggested a Chinese restaurant around the corner. I wanted to take a quick shower at the sports club, so told them I would meet them there.

We had a nice lunch, followed by coffee at our friends house, all in all a great day.

I am still waiting on the official results of the race. They were supposed to post them on their website, but I guess it was too much to hope that they would do it the same day of the race – I mean their people didn’t even know where the restrooms were .

My unofficial time based on my watch was 48:16. As my previous best time for a 10K race is 49:07, I hope my watch is right!

Way to go Jack. A new PR just after such a tough training run is a very good sign. I guess you're still in good shaoe from the marathon training, and won't have to worry too much about the 50k trainign being rather short.

Good race, congratulations!
I like the "huff-puff". That's how I feel after sprinting in for a finsih. Good job and a PR.
Yay!!!!! Sounds like you had a BLAST!!! Congrats on the PR!
Awesome job on the race!!! It sounds like a beautiful day for a race. It seems like the first annual of any race is always a little disorganized, but it's also very cool to say you were part of the 1st annual!
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