Chip Time: 1:01:58 (6:39 min/mile).
Kinda sucked. Didn’t have a race mentality going in, never got into the mindset during the run, and certainly couldn’t stay at my intended 15K pace past the first couple miles. Unfortunately, I probably could’ve done another lap around the lake at my final slower-than-HM pace. 😞
In the end, what I had told myself yesterday night was that I needed a long tempo run this week, and if anything, this was going to be it. I certainly got it.
Interesting features about this race:
* I ran 3.5 miles from home to the lake, to race, for the first time. I’ve always said I’d do it, but I’ve always ended up getting a ride (e.g. to volunteer) instead.
* I only decided last night that I was going to run this morning. So I ended up not volunteering today.
* On the run over, I noticed that some of the construction around the driveway into Fairyland (the small theme park at Lake Merritt) was done. The sidewalk was paved, and some of the concrete barriers were gone. But it looked like the curve was longer.
* As it turns out, the course had to be recalibrated due to progress in construction. So for the first time since I started running these last January, the start lines for 5K/10K/15K were staggered past the finish line. In other words, the perimeter around Lake Meritt is now slightly more than 5K!
* Having the start line staggered meant that it was easier to see who was running which distance. As expected, lots of 5K runners, fewer 10K runners, and maybe some 10 or so 15K runners.
* Amber, Matt and I were among the 15K runners. As we toed the line, Amber turned to me and joked: “I hope you won’t lap me!” “I don’t think that’s possible,” I replied. During this exchange, I noticed Matt (who I hadn’t met yet) taking a quick peek at me. As we took off, I thought I saw the word “Auburn” on his cap. “Western States’ Auburn?” I wondered?
* As we started, Matt, a younger Asian woman, and I took the lead. I knew I didn’t want to start too quickly. I also knew I wanted to hit a 6:22 — supposedly my 15K pace. But I also didn’t want to let Matt out of my sight (more because I didn’t want to race alone). As we took our first turn onto the street, I checked my pace: 6:10. Ughhhh.
* By the time the first mile was over, the woman was long gone. But there was an older guy who was rapidly gaining on me. He was wearing a very distinctive deep blue shirt. I hadn’t seen him in the 15K group, so I reasoned he must be doing the 10K or 5K. He quickly passed me. Then he passed Matt. I saw Matt look over. I wondered if he was thinking the same thing I was.
* By the end of Mile 3, I heard footsteps gaining on me. I wondered who they were. Certainly 5K runners, I thought. First, there was a kid about half my height, maybe 12-13 years old. Then there was pretty athletic-looking woman, in full racing tights, probably in her late 30’s. As I let them pass me, I congratulated the kid: “Good job!”
* I looked at the finish clock after the first 5K: 19:47. Good, I thought. Unfortunately what was not good was the sense that I was going to start fading in the second loop — which of course happened.
* At first, I didn’t realize that I was slowing down because I started gaining on Matt. But when I looked down at my watch, I literally saw my average pace start creeping up. 6:27. 6:28. 6:29. 6:30. Shit!!!! I’m going to run this slower than a half marathon!, I thought.
* Somewhere around mile 4, while approaching the courthouse, I made a wrong turn. In retrospect, I’m not sure what I was thinking; it’s like I lost awareness of that time period. Anyways — I was supposed to take the upper sidewalk. But I took the lower one. I realized my error about 5 seconds in, and climbed up to the upper sidewalk.
* In any case, somewhere around miles 5-6, I got passed by the Blue Shirt guy. I don’t remember passing him. But in any case, he passed me. Then he finished his 10K as Matt and I started our third loop.
* The last loop was hard. While I started to fade, Matt seemed to pick up a second wind. I really wanted to stop for a break. But in reality, I was already taking a break… I was only trotting along at some 6:40-6:50 pace. I picked up my cadence a few times, and found that neither my legs nor cardio complained. But at the same time, I couldn’t keep my head in it. It sucked. The only thing I could tell myself was that the faster I went, the faster it’d all be over.
* Finally, it was over. Matt pulled away for the win. I kicked out of principle but could really only muster some 6:10 pace, I think. I finished in 1:01:58. Sub-1:00:00 another day.