I survived my second-ever 10K race Saturday. The weather was perfect. Cool temperatures, a little inspiration, and a high-carb pasta dinner the night before all added up to a perfect storm, if you will, allowing me to shave more than seven minutes off my time from last year.
I've spent the past two days ingesting Tylenol and apologizing to my quads. My new low-impact, low-to-the-ground running style is tough on the thighs. Still, I was nowhere near as sore as I was after last year's race. It's amazing what a little training will do.
Now for you numerologists out there. (You know who you are.) My time of 52:45 was 7 minutes and 14 seconds faster than last year's. What time did I post my blog entry Friday in which I mentioned the race? 7:14. Coincidence? There are no coincidences. Only a carefully planned string of days and events leading to our eventual demise.
Anyway, back to the less important stuff. I finished 104th out of 192 participants this year. And much like last year when I came in 152nd, there are no awards for 104th place, either. No "Most Improved From Last Year" trophy. No "34-Year-Old With The Best Taut Pre-Teen Swedish Boy Body" statuette. No "Top Finishing Bloggers" category. (Although I really think there should be one for that. Maybe I'll mention it.)
As I mentioned Friday, I had loosely set a goal of running a 9 minute mile pace. When I reached the one mile mark Saturday, the timecheck guy called out 9:05. I thought to myself, I've got to pick it up a bit. I also thought, people actually run that in four minutes?!?! Geesh!
Almost to the two-mile mark, I came up on a fellow bandana-wearing runner. I surpassed him while thinking, So long Navy Bandana Guy. White Bandana rules! I reached the two-mile timecheck in 17:53. I had picked up the pace! (And by pace, I don't mean salsa.)
As a race goes on, I begin to look for other runners who seem to be close to my pace. It's sort of like if you're on a long trip, you find a car that seems to be traveling at a good speed to follow on the interstate. Or maybe it's not like that at all.
Nevertheless, between miles two and three, I spotted Green Shirt Hottie. Her ponytail swished back and forth with each stride she took. It was a bit hypnotic. She was probably thirty yards ahead of me, which meant she was running under a 9 minute pace. And she seemed to be passing several people, so I decided to speed up a bit and keep up with her.
I reached the three-mile mark in 26-something and the four-mile mark in 35-something. Still on a sub-nine minute pace. My side started acting like it wanted to cramp, but I pressed on, and it went away.
Shortly after the four-mile mark, I blew by some man who looked to be at least seventy-five. You've had your day, old timer. Harry Truman can't save you now. White Bandana rules! Let's not even get into the fact that he was ahead of me up until this point.
With about half a mile to go, I felt good, all things considered. So I began to pick up my pace and passed several people, including Green Shirt Hottie. Farewell, fair maiden. And shall our paths never cross again, vaya con dios.
The race finishes on an oval track. When I got my first glimpse of the clock, it was at 51-something. I was pleasantly surprised. My time averaged out to an 8:30 pace.
I ran into a friend after the race. This conversation ensued:
"I didn't get here in time to see you finish, but my Dad said he saw you."
"Yeah, he said Bone's got a handkerchief on his head."
See? I told ya. White Bandana rules!
The two-hour 24 season finale is tonight, which I know makes many of you happy, albeit perhaps for different reasons.
"Oh how I hope that you're happy. I hear you're somewhere in the sand. And how I wish I was an ocean. Maybe then, I'd get to see you again..."