Sunday, March 05, 2006

30K Today. Hooray.

This was to be my third race at the somewhat obscure 30K distance. The other two were at this same race (NCN Catch a Leprechaun) in 2002 (2:14:30) and 2003 (2:16:30). The course consists of two 15K loops in Avon Lake. A couple of the miles are along Lake Erie along Lake Avenue. Since the race is in early March, it’s often cold and windy.

Today it was very cold again at about 20F for the start, but it was sunny and there was almost no wind. That made a huge difference. My plan was to run the first half conservatively, at about a 7:30 pace, and then to pick it up to a 7:00 pace on the back nine (9.3 miles, that is). This would bring me in near my rather “soft” 2:14 and change PR. I overdressed; I could have used thinner gloves and two, rather than three layers of shirts. But the extra clothes probably didn’t weigh me down or overheat me too much.

Starting conservatively as planned, I did manage to do the first half at about a 7:22 pace, coming in and around in about 1:08:40. That pace didn’t feel quite as easy as I wanted it to, but I did manage to start to pick it up as I hit the nine-mile mark and even more as I started the second half. I had counted about 15 runners ahead of me at that point. Mile 10 was my fastest at about 6:33 or so. I passed about 4 by the 11-mile mark.

Could I keep those sub-7 minute miles going? Mostly. I would’ve liked to do each of the last 9 at that pace, but couldn’t quite make it. Mile 14 or 15 was just over 7 minutes, as were the final 2. After getting to about 12th place (still not sure though) no one passed me, and I passed no one. In fact, I hardly saw anyone other than a few random volunteers from about 11 on.

I finished in 2:13:22; 1st in my age group, and pretty decent placing overall. It’s nice to get the AG trophy right away. That second 15K was 1:04:42 or so, for a 6:57 pace. My pace for the entire distance was about 7:10.

This is all pretty encouraging. A PR at my great old age, albeit a “soft” one. I’ll take it. I think losing those few pounds has helped. Just one mild disappointment: that those last two miles were slower than the previous 7. I’ll still take it.

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