Those of you who read my training log know that it's been a rough last 4 weeks. I only topped 30 miles one time and that was last week. That low mileage just won't do and the longer the distance, the uglier it gets. Simply put, the body would not allow for more because less than half my days were symptom free. 3 weeks ago, I had a nasty reaction if I took even one chromium pill. Now, I need 2 or else I will be extremely sore and mildly depressed as well. This massive shift in my chemistry still baffles my doctor and I. It's taken a toll emotionally as well. I thought I had a clear path to freedom from chemical imbalances if I could quit the chromium. Not so and this is a real let down. I had to skip my Labor Day weekend race in Tupelo and really wanted to race this Saturday. I woke up symptom free and it was a go. My choices were an 8K in B'ham or the BBBS 10K in Monty. If I ran the 8K, I was hoping that Preston and I could push each other to good times but I already had a strong PR at that distance. My 10K PR was almost a year old and it was the only major distance that I had not PR'd in 2009. The weather showed an 80% chance of rain in B'ham vs. only 10% in Monty. I opted for Monty and it was the right decision (sorry Johnny, I'll run your race next year, Lord willing). I left in plenty of time and the rain stopped when I got past Prattville. Warming up, I felt loose but a little jittery. Still, I predicted a good time and a possible PR of 42:43 or better.
Course: Well organized event despite the fact that it was the inaugeral year. The start and finish were in a shopping center while the remainder was largely residential. It was not pancake flat like I had hoped. Nothing was terribly steep but some were quite long. Overall, probably about a 4 out of 10 in terms of difficulty.
Good clean start. I was out with the lead pack and feeling smooth and relaxed. My early pace was in the low 6s, a little faster than I wanted but it felt easy enough. I knew that I would slow down naturally so my effort was pretty even. I managed to pass a few runners who had started too fast and I believe that I got as high as fifth place overall. For the rest of the way, I think, I passed one or two but two or three passed me. I'll edit this when the overall results are posted. The first mile was slightly fast but my average pace over the next 2 miles would be right on target despite slowing. I came through 3 miles in almost exactly 20 minutes so I estimate that I hit the halfway point around 20:45. That's about a 30 second cushion on PR pace and it looked like I had a shot at a sub-42 If I had run the 5K course instead, I think I would have won.
All I had to do was maintain a 7 minute pace for the 2nd half and I would PR with time to spare. However, from that point on, it was a struggle. The combination of the hills and the fact that I was in "no mans land" hurt me quite a bit. Nobody was coming up from behind and the guy that I was chasing was barely within my sight. Finally, I took a downhill hard near the end of Mile 4 and estimated that the man I was chasing was 20 seconds ahead. For a short time, I managed to increase my pace in hopes of catching him but gained little-no ground until it was too late. As it turned out, he would be the eventual winner of the 30-39 age division. With a mile to go, I knew that I needed to finish in 7:15 for a PR and thought I could do it. Just before 5.5, we hit a long steady incline and I looked at my Garmin to see a current pace of 7:35. Oh no! At this new pace, I would fall short. Fortunately, there was a downhill that followed. By the 6 Mile mark, I knew that a PR was mine barring a long course. My Garmin measured it almost perfectly. I really didn't care too much about breaking 42:30 but still produced a solid finish and hit it on the nose.
1:17 (42:30)- 6:04 pace for last .21
A PR by 13 seconds. Yes! I have now set either post-HS PRs or all time PRs at every distance from 400 m up to the marathon in 2009.
My legs were not too sore but my body simply felt "beat up." I got dragged into a 3.77 Mile warm down but enjoyed hanging with one of my favorite running bloggers, LA runner. She ran a fantastic race and won it outright (yes, she beat the male winner). Way to Go Rebecca! Oh yeah, I was 1st in the male 20-29 division and got a nice gold medal.
Any time I run a PR, I am going to be pleased and today was no exception. I graded myself at an A minus today. That said, I think in my current condition, I would have been around 42 flat with a flat course such as Mobile and close competition in the second half. To have a ghost of a chance to qualify for Boston, my 10K needs to be around 40, probably under. I am more than willing to put in the mileage required but will my body cooperate?
Final results: Finished 6th overall (out of 106) with an official time of 42:30 PR. The 5K had 131 participants and a winning time of 20:23 so I certainly would have won if I had raced the 5K. If the 5K guys had raced the 10K, I would have been 6th out of 237 (97th percentile). I can be proud of that even in a weak field.