Today I got to run a 10K (6.2 miles) race that I ran last year. Last year it was my first 10K race. I have run a few since then. But this was the first time to run a race the second year in a row. I have been running about 14 months, so I am just now starting into my second year.
The start location was changed a bit this year and we left the starting area through a new location. I assumed that this was to make the course a bit longer. It was slated as a 10K, but was actually a 9.2K last year. But as we got close to the turn around spot, I realized they had shortened the course on the other end. Though this year’s race was a bit longer, it was not much longer. Only 9.5 Km.
I am not sure where I got the information for the race, but I had the starting time written down as 7:30. I got there at 6:57 planning to sign up and take a warm up jog. After my warm up jog, I would return to my car to drop off my iPod and drink some Gatorade.
But, to my surprise, people were lined up at the starting line. I ran to the table to register and asked the registration lady when the race started. She told me 7:00. Yikes! No returning to the car. I was still working on getting my number pinned on when they started making the “Get Ready, Set….” announcements. That also meant no warm up time.
I took the start of the race really slow. I figured I could make a nice slow warm up and then run strong at the end. I ran at a pace of 10:26 per mile to the turn around and then 9:43 coming back. I sped up considerably, but I could have done better. I did not turn on my brain until I was 6 Km. into the run.
There was a lady ahead of me the whole race who I used as a pace setter. When I finally got my brain in gear, I started working to overtake her. It took a while, but I was able to do it with about 1/2 Km. left in the run. I passed several other people at the end as well.
I could have run faster had I been thinking about the distance and the fact that it really was a race. Because I did not get a chance to warm up I really treated it as just a regular weekly run. I wanted to really blow away my time from last year. I actually ran 2 seconds slower per mile as my overall pace from last year.
I did learn something this morning though. There was also a walk that coincided with the race. I have been involved with several races like this. The walk is shorter than the run and you have walkers coming back across the finish line at the same time as the runners. There were several walkers that I saw who were spraying water on each other or generally goofing around. In the process they were jumping back and forth causing runners to have to avoid them and throwing runners off their strides. Runners who were pretty worn out by this time. I learned to give them wide berth and try to avoid running near the walkers. Plus they line up 4 or 5 wide and take up the whole lane on the road that is designated for the race causing the runners who want to pass to have to veer out into traffic. Not good. Avoid walkers at all costs.
I am not saying they should not be there. They are at least getting out and getting some exercise. But, I know they won’t be considerate of me, so I must watch out for myself.
Even with the frustration of arriving really late, I had a good run. I just wished I was more in the right mindset to have made it a record run for that course.