I haven’t raced since last July. I’ve DNS’d like 5 or 6 straight races due to injury. I enjoy racing.. I’m an overachiever and my results are validation for all of the effort I put into running. It felt good knowing I was going to be racing this morning. But at the same time.. the pre-race nerves come. The reminder than what you’re going to do is going to hurt.
I was signed up for the Super Run 10k. The plan was to go out at 5:45 pace and see where I’m at 4 miles in. The recent mile repeats I’ve been running have been at 5:41-5:43 but my endurance is crappy right now. I was hoping for the best but expecting something less. When the gun went off it felt like going through the motions. I quickly realized I needed to get my head into the game and to steel up for what was to come. We went through the first mile in a comfortable 5:40. I hung with the lead pack unexpectedly and was hanging around 3rd/4th. I thought we’d have a few guys in the 32-33 range but it didn’t happen that way. The bridges to Pacific Beach took a lot out of me. I was hanging and felt good at the 5k point.
At Crown Point my run club had assembled for their Saturday run. Somebody recognized me and I soon received an awesomely loud “Go Wayne!” from the 300 voices of my run club. It was unworldly cool. I was good until about 4.5 miles. I was hanging off 3rd place’s shoulder and on a downhill said, “Let’s destroy these last 2 miles” and so he did. Unfortunately it also destroyed me in the process. He opened up a small gap.. and I just couldn’t close. My legs felt great but I couldn’t breathe enough air. (That’s my lack of miles and aerobic endurance) I tried to hang tough through the Sea World parking lot but as soon as we got to Sea World Drive I was in full on survival mode. I can’t remember the last time I suffered so much in a race. It was all I could do to not slow down. Then I got a terrible side stitch. Miraculously I only dropped a few seconds off the pace. I HTFU’d as much as I could (getting passed out of nowhere in the last turn) and ran it in for a 36:16. My splits were (5:40, 5:48, 5:49, 5:49, 5:49, 5:48) and 5:53/mi for the last bit.
It’s a personal worst, but I averaged out to about 5:47 and that’s not bad considering where I’m at. I’ll get my weekly mileage up and time will melt away. I just can’t believe I was running tempos faster than this last summer.
On the bright side, I finished 5th overall (4th according to the race results, the guy in front of me was carrying his bib and probably didn’t have his D-tag on) and won my age group. That feels good. After the race I chatted it up with friends and drove home feeling a runner’s high I haven’t felt in a while. It’s good to be back!