Monday, November 13, 2006

Running in the rain

Is the weekend really over? I found myself longing to be anywhere but work today; after a great though different weekend it is hard to sit through another day staring at a computer screen doing cell auditing and formula building. The weekend itself was a bit different then the usual since I stayed in on Friday and Saturday nights and woke up on Saturday and Sunday around 6 am (not the most exciting thing to do on a weekend. But I took the GRE’s on Saturday and ran the Veteran’s Day 10K with about 850 other brave souls on Sunday morning. The organizers called us "hardy".

The race itself was a ton of fun and being the first road race I have run in since I was in elementary school I ran nice and easy and enjoyed the company of the other runners. When we first got to the starting area however it was only about 7:30 and it was raining and about 40 degrees so it wasn’t the most pleasant waiting experience. To make this worse there were only about three or four tents set up which were essentially taken up by the announcer and equipment, organizers and registration tables and the food and drink so there was not a lot of room to huddle outside of the rain. The worst thing however was that the bag check area was simply a long line of tables and the open grass behind them for the bag storage with absolutely no cover whatsoever. I’m just glad my big old Timbuk2 bag is waterproof (though water still managed to come in along the sides…)

Once the race got going everything was back to good as we quickly warmed up running along with the wind and actually beginning to enjoy splashing through the puddles along the road. There were a couple of brave supporters out to cheer on the runners and some even more wonderful volunteers along the route to do the same and direct us the right way. The course was nice although a bit boring for me since I cycle at Hains Point once or twice a week and while I was worried before hand about the wind it actually seemed to help me out during the race. I knew when it was at my back of course and tried to take full advantage of when I could but then when I was running into it I was able to really use it as a strong motivator to get me moving faster. The entire race I was basically moving up on and running through people, especially since I began the race at a much slower pace for the first 1 ½ miles then I ended up running the rest of it at. Then when I got into the strong headwinds I was able to motivate myself to run harder through them while I could see other people letting up a bit, passing those people and setting my sights on the next people.

While I am typically not one to be terribly competitive, or at least I attempt not to be I could feel the competitive drive taking over throughout the race. Like when I was actively picking people in front of me off as I ran both headwind and tailwind, and especially for about a mile or so towards the end of the race. Through the final stretch beginning a little after the 4 mile mark as I ran around a group on their left I noticed a smaller women speed up along the right of the group as I began to pass and then she ended up sticking with me through the next few groups I passed. After a little bit I decided I’d start using this as a little bit of fuel and try to loose her and so I started to pick it up a little only to see her pull up a tiny bit ahead of me. We got to a bridge with about as much of an incline as we’d get in the race and I made my move and accelerated up and over the bridge. Then I kept my pace up under the next two over passes and began to pick it up for the final half mile or so. I think I lost her on the bridge but I never thought to look back at the finish to see if she finished near me or anything.

As for my time, eh not terribly great but I got a great feeling for a 10K and the type of pace I can expect to run them at. For the Jingle all the Way 10K my goal will be below 45 minutes; oh and my strategy? Making sure my shoes are well tied before the race and starting out at a better pace and then gradually increasing from there on. I’m entirely addicted to road racing now and while I never win a race, I will always enjoy running them.

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