Sunday, August 20, 2006

Perfect 10-Miler

Expectations were not extremely high going in. I've had some good races this year, including a solid sub-40 10K last week, but I just wasn't feeling "fast" today. The humidity didn't help. Besides that heavy, thick air, it was breezy, cloudy, and about 70 degrees.

This is the third year of this race, and I'd done the previous two in 66 1/2 and 67 1/2 minutes, respectively. IF I could hold a 6:30 pace, I'd be able to shave some time off those other marks. But that would be a BIG IF.

I started off fairly easily, with 6:33 and 6:01 for the first two miles. I'm certain that that second one was short because, if anything, I slowed a bit during that stretch. Then I got into a rhythm, with 6:20, 6:21 and 6:44 miles to reach the half-way point in 32 flat. This was much better than expected, but a bit worrisome - could I hold this pace?

Having remembered that mile 6 is up a long, gradual hill (Belvoir Blvd), I didn't panic when I saw a split of 6:50. Mile 7 is back down the other side of the Blvd., and I picked it up quite nicely, picking off a few runners in the process. Thinking this split would be something like 6 minutes flat, I was slightly disappointed to see a 6:19. Perhaps it was long. Mile 8 included some more slight downhill running, and I did that in 6:14. I was getting pretty tired, but trying hard to hold my pace. Mile 9 was a 6:38, and the overall time was 58 minutes. Still not bad, but I'd have to run that last mile in 6 flat in order to be able to say I had negative splits. I tried to pick it up, but had reservations about whether I really did.

I crossed the line in 1:03:51. That last mile was a 5:48, the best of the bunch. Of course it was probably short, but I like to think that the overall course was an accurate 10 miles.

Unfortunately, some fast(er) geezer showed up, relegating me to second in my age group. I'm still very encouraged. It was my 3rd best 10-miler ever, although over a minute slower than my best ever. It's still my best in 10 years.

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