I ran the St. Patricks Day 10k this weekend in the blustery mess of weather that San Diego rarely sees. It wasn’t raining particularly hard when I showed up and I was thankful for that. It seems like it’ll pour right until the race starts. But since this race was around Fiesta Island I wasn’t as worried about the rain as I was about the wind. For good reason too. The tempos I’ve run out there when it’s windy have been miserable. MISERABLE. So while I was warming up for the race, I knew what was coming.
I ran into a few friends before the race. It’s always nice to have some company. The race plan was run sub-35, stay in the 5:35ish range. I very quickly noticed that my flats weren’t getting much traction due to the rain. Every push off I was slipping. I can’t really formulate how much it was slowing me down, but it had to have been a noticeable amount. In the first mile I was sitting just behind the lead pack (it wasn’t fast this year) trying to get into my groove. I just couldn’t seem to get it under 5:35 and with every foot slip I was getting more and more frustrated. At some point I just gave into it, I knew it wasn’t a PR anyways. So I switched to a quicker turnover where I wasn’t pushing off as hard. It’s not faster, but I wasn’t wasting as much energy. First mile 5:39. Second mile 5:38. We were about to round the curve on Fiesta Island and I knew what was coming. Unfortunately I had created a little bit of separation from the small pack Matt and I had been leading. Coming around the turn was like hitting a wall. Immediately I slowed down. There was nothing I could do. I looked down at my watch, noticing my time slipping from 5:35 to 5:55… 6:05… 6:15. I tried to rally and push, but it felt like 100% effort and I wasn’t going much faster than 6 minute pace. Third mile 5:42, Fourth mile, 6:05. Not pretty. I looked back, but the pack was too far behind to catch up so I was left to break the wind alone. Then the rain started up, pelting me in the face. I kept thinking “This sucks, but what can I do? If I stop this crap will only last longer” so I kept pushing. When I finally hit the bridge to get off Fiesta Island, the pack had just caught up to me and it took me a little bit to get the turnover again as the wind was no longer an issue. A guy from the pack bolted out ahead and I tried to keep pace. He had the correct strategy, sit in the pack and wait, then use the energy you saved to crush the last mile (with the wind). Fifth mile: 5:54. I had some legs for the last mile, but not as much as the guy who passed me. I quickly gapped the pack that had caught me for a 5:32 sixth mile.
I crossed the finish line in 7th place, with a disappointing 35:45 finish. But on days like that, you can’t worry about the time. I did the best I could under the conditions. I wasn’t expecting a PR as I haven’t run a tempo in 2 months outside of the half marathons I’ve run. If it had been a still day, I certainly would have covered my goal time. Now it’s time to start sharpening my fitness a little bit so I can run a fast 5k at Carlsbad in two weeks. I was hoping to break 16, but there’s no way that’ll happen. I’ll be happy with a 16:30. At least I’m not in the whippersnapper division anymore. There won’t be any 13 year olds defeating me on April 1st.