Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pumpkin Run 10K -- 36:07

Wow, the years are flying by. I've been running steady for just a little more than 6 years now and today was my 7th consecutive running of this local 10K. And my daughter is now 8 years old and ran her 2nd 5K this morning. Double wow!

I've been focusing more on the longer races in the last few years, so this will be the only 10K I run this year. I wanted to make it count! Since my marathon training has been going very well for the upcoming New York City Marathon on November 7, and since I've been doing some weekly speed work, I thought I would aim for a personal record and try to beat my time from 2006. My plan was to use my GPS watch and to run at an average pace of 5 minutes 52 seconds a mile.

I jogged around the elementary school to warm up and then with just a few minutes to spare, I did a couple of fast "strides" to get my heart rate up. Soon, we were off! A whole bunch of guys sprinted off the starting line but I knew better than to try to keep up with them. There are always a bunch of people who go out way too fast. I glanced down at my watch, and I was one of them. :-) I slowed down a bit after the first tenth of a mile and tried to settle into a comfortably fast pace of just under 6 minutes a mile. At the mile 2 marker, my time was 11 minutes 40 seconds, which was fine. A little while later though, I was finding this pace to be too difficult and I couldn't help slowing down just a bit and my average pace was creeping up and it settled in at 5:55, according to my watch. I knew if I could just hold this effort, that I would at least match my record.

The lead pack consisted of 4 runners followed a couple hundred feet back by a guy whom I'll call "Skinny" and then I was right on Skinny's back. Skinny had asked what the elapsed time was at the mile 2 marker and I told him. A short while later, since I was drafting off of him, I suggested that we help each other out and try to catch up to the pack of 4 and that he could draft off of me next. He said "ok" and I passed him and then expected him to stay with me, but he kept on dropping further behind. I thought I was about the same pace as when I was behind him and I wasn't getting any closer to the lead pack. Oh, well, so much for that plan! So now I'm in 5th place.

Over the next couple of miles I just couldn't gain on that lead pack and I was starting to struggle to maintain my pace. It was nice after the turn-around to see so many friends and familiar faces. Lots of encouragement was offered and I appreciated it and I tried to respond a little bit, but my breathing was quite labored. Then, around mile 4, one of the guys in the lead group started dropping behind. I soon passed him. I was now in 4th place.

Around mile 5, another one of the leaders started slowly falling behind the other two. I saw my daughter and wife in the 5K and they cheered me on. Yay! I came across the last aid station, staffed by my friends from the Coastside Running Club, and they cheered me on boisterously. Yay! Finally, nearing mile 6, I gained on the 3rd place runner and just as I was about to pass him, I kicked up my pace a notch and my heart rate sky-rocketed. I wasn't going to be able to hold on much longer, but I just needed to keep this up for another minute.

I didn't look back and I sprinted around the final corner and down the finishing chute. 3rd place! I looked at my time. Personal record!

I recovered a bit and chatted with the two winners, one of whom was a fellow Coastside Running Club member, David Lara. Congratulations, Dave! He had come in 2nd. Remarkably, the winner was a 50 year old guy from Burlingame. That gives me hope for the future! (Of course he was probably a much better runner when he was my age, but I'll try to ignore that part.) Then I started jogging back along the course to find my friends and Jennifer and Claire.

I soon saw the first place woman in the 10K. Wow, she was hauling! I learned later that she was the daughter of a running club member, Ken Hitchner. Nice! I saw Mor Hirsh finishing strong, followed closely by Robin Miller, who was barely holding on to 2nd place with the 3rd place woman right on her heels. Then I saw running club member Amanda Jurinen, running strong. And Jen Wilcox. Finally, there was Jennifer and Claire! They were running the 5K which starts 5 minutes after the 10K. I turned around and ran in with Claire. Good job, sweetheart!

A little while later, Jennifer's sister Lisa finished the 10K and so did our friend Cathy. It was a lot of fun seeing so many friends and family members at the race today.

I hung around after the race for a while to get my age-group reward of a blanket / poncho combo that was nice and would make an excellent picnic blanket since it was water proof on one side and warm on the other. Afterwards, I had pumpkin pie and coffee at Jen Wilcox's house. Claire had spilled sprite on herself and was cold and wet, so Jennifer headed home first, along with her sister Lisa and our friend Cathy.

Was an excellent morning!

Random data:
  • I weighed 164.6 lbs this morning right after waking up but before going to the bathroom. (Yes, these details are useful to me!)
  • I woke up at 6:15am and ate a small-ish bowl of cereal, half a banana, and some coffee.
  • The race started at 8:15am. I arrived at the school parking lot around 7:30am, which was fine.
  • I need to remember that there's a porta-potty in the field behind the school that doesn't have a line.
These are all the times I've run this race, including today. The columns are 1) overall place. 2) gender place. 3) age group place. 4) my age. 5) time. 6) pace. 7) date.

15 15 6 33 0:41:18 6:39 10/17/2004
6 6 3 34 0:37:35 6:03 10/16/2005
4 4 2 35 0:36:46 5:55 10/15/2006
3 3 2 36 0:37:28 6:02 10/14/2007
5 5 2 37 0:37:09 5:59 10/19/2008
4 4 1 38 0:37:12 6:00 10/18/2009
3 3 2 39 0:36:07 5:49 10/17/2010
Update: The results have been posted. Wow, there were 217 finishers in the 10K and a whopping 358 finishers in the 5K. I didn't realize there were so many runners! And as my friend Bill points out, there were some very fast 50-year old runners including the overall winner, Shawn Gallagher. And 80 year old Camilo Geronimo finished in 45:14 with a pace of 7:17 per mile! Wow!