Tuesday, May 27, 2008

University City Memorial Day 10-k

After a co-worker suggested I run in a race on Memorial Day, I thought, sure I need a 10-k prep for the Peachtree in July so why not. So i registered late on Saturday, took home a medium sized t-shirt (for my daughter as that's all the sizes they had left) and hoped for good weather.
Sunday night rolls around and the sky's opened up and dropped buckets upon buckets of water along with severe lighting and hail...so I thought there's no way they're going to have the race on Monday. I woke up at 5:15 after not sleeping well through the storms, and enduring a night with my son crawling into bed due to the thunder. It was still raining...checked the weather channel and local news to see the radar if it looked promising enough to go out. I decided to push on, and drive over to see if anyone else was going to show up for the race. This was the 33rd edition of this race so I assumed that it would take a lot to cancel this one, and I was right. Through the pouring rain in the half-hour before the start, people were waiting in the library by the starting line awaiting the inevitable run through the rain. And as I suspected most of the people waiting looked like "regular" runners, i.e. more fit and trim than myself. But press on I told myself...
My goal for this 10-k was to run initially under 1 hour, which I thought I might be able to do based on some nice 5k runs I've had since the half-marathon in early April. Then I wanted to run sub-9s. Ok, with my new goal was established, I was ready.

Come race time at 7:30 it was still raining, albeit a bit less of a downpour but more than a drizzle. A brief hello from the mayor and we're off. I knew I'd probably start out a bit faster than I'd like to due to the rain (and the idea that the faster I ran the faster I'd be out of it) but I was surprised when at mile 1 I hit it at 8:30. A lot faster than I had expected. But low and behold, the rain stopped! So by now the runners were definitely nicely spaced out (and I'd imagine there were maybe a few hundred at most) and I was trying to fall into a groove. I had left my ipod at home and was jonesing for some tunes to push me through but I remained poised and travelled on. I brushed off the first water stop, and kept on going 'till mile two @ 17:15. I knew I had started too fast and that mile one was going to be my fastest, definitely not how I usually run. Now that the rain was over, the oppressive humidity fell upon us and I was wishing I had taken that water at the first stop. The run was a pleasant one however through some quiet neighborhoods around U-City (a part of St. Louis I hadn't really been through before) but my main focus was moving forward as close to a pace as I could find. Mile 3 was around 26min so I could tell that under and hour would be possible, but not sure about the sub 9s overall. Miles 4 and 5 were the toughest as the humidity really got to me and I was hoping not to cramp up, but took in some fluids and knew I was almost to the end. But somehow I was also running next to a very loud woman who's every steps were loud grunts and groans and moans and god I thought she was either going to have an orgasm or pass out. Thankfully, I assume, neither happened and I let her pass me with a mile to go.
Being a very local 10-k on a rainy holiday morning I knew there wouldn't be much of a crowd, if any, but the few that were there (maybe 10 spectators total besides runners at the finish) were very much appreciated as they always seem to give me the extra push. One bushy bearded gentlemen sitting on a lawn chair in front of his house was great as he was right near the end and was encouraging everyone to hang on as the end was just around the corner. Thankfully he was right and although the finish was a bit uphill and it took all I had left, I finished in 55:41...8:59miles. YEAH sub 9s !!
An energy drink and banana post-race meal left me feeling proud to have gone to the race despite my initial inhibitions and conquered my first sub- 9miles 10-k. Now, bring on the Peachtree and back to my home town, I plan on this one being my best one yet.

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