Tune up races always make me apprehensive but I needed this race for all of the usual reasons. Confidence, fitness level and pacing by effort. This was my virgin race at the ten mile distance so I knew no matter what the outcome I would have a PR. I predict 1:14
Subconsciously, I go into race mode the night before. My friends and family all know I get really focused right down to the time I have to leave for the race. So avoid me if at all possible two hours before I hit the pillow. I was worried about wind, rain and temps. I left my house about 6AM and I made a quick stop for coffee. It was raining and windy but to my amazement it was much warmer than anticipated at about 48F.
Parking was easy and free as I got one of the spots on Simmonds Drive. I laced up the ST4’s and I warmed up with some light running and strides. No one was in a hurry to get to the start corral. In without a fight with 10 minutes before the start. Speed demons turn out for this race since there are cash prizes. The field is FAST.
Mile 1 – Leaders are already long gone. I never gauge my pacing right into the first mile. I always run faster than I think I am but I’m improving. So as we climbed the first bump, I told myself to relax and slow down a bit. Success at 7:16.
Mile 2 – Talked to myself some more and just tried to relax. Might have relaxed too much 7:27
Mile 3 – Along the lakefront (God, I love this city and it’s views) as we head back south toward the start. Weird how it’s starting to feel like a slight struggle to hold pace. Maybe it’s the wind. 7:23
Mile 4 – A number of twists and turns as we go up some extremely short but steep inclines and past the golf course. I continue to remind myself to stay comfortable in the pace. 7:21
Mile 5 – Typical of my marathon training, it takes me this long to really warm up. This is feeling like the easiest and fastest mile of the course. Two other guys right next to me. One is cursing his iPod as it is obviously malfunctioning. Serves you right for wearing it in a race I thought. 7:16
Mile 6 – We head toward Diversey Harbor. There is some guy in front of my in his annoying Vibrams. They slap the pavement and it’s sounds as if he’s wearing diving flippers. Another guy and me have been trading spots back and forth for the first six miles. He is just in front of me. He swears as he reaches for his shorts pocket and starts to slow. I’m guessing he lost his car key. Rookie mistake I thought to myself. That’s why I tie mine to my shoe laces up a couple of eyelets so it won’t even come off if my shoes magically untie. I lost my key on a training run once. 7:20
Mile 7 – We zip around Diversey Harbor and under Lake Shore Drive. It is magically silent there and I realize I have been nailing my paces and not felt like I had to slow up. Heading north again. 7:20
Mile 8 – Fighting with the wind from my left side. I hate wind. 7:22
Mile 9 – This feels like the hardest mile of all. Almost home but I’ve run a fast race and cannot afford a slack-off. Around the Addison St. totem pole and back along the golf course. I use the slight downhill to my wearying advantage. 7:27 Not as slow as it felt.
Mile 10 – I watch an older run fly by me from the running club I just joined. I’ve yet to meet anyone yet. He is much older than me. Turns out to be in his 60’s. He is my idol in this race as he’ll beat me by 5 seconds. He’ll be the first person I seek out at my first club run. I find an extra gear and there is no one within 30 yards of me front or back. Last mile 7:14. Jacked up to see the gun time clock under 1:14!
Final time 1:13:31. 12th in my age group. Told you this was a fast race. My best age graded time ever at 67.43%. Hell of a way to start 2011. One week from taper time and I couldn’t be happier. Celebrated with the Armand’s pizza and Goose Island 312 beer they had for the runners.
I plug my time into the conservative Maclin calculator and it spits out a 3:30:06 for Green Bay. McMillan tells me 3:25:54.