Dave and Lindsay pick up me and Ellie at 8am to run the Turkey Trot at 9. It’s about a 5 minute drive to the race start over at Altona Middle School on the west end of town. I’ve been up for several hours already, drinking coffee and reading the WSJ. My race strategy is to line up front and let runners pass me the first mile. After the first mile, I’ll stop letting runners pass me. I’ll start off with a 7:30 pace, give or take. After a mile, I’ll decide to either maintain a 7:30 pace, or speed up to 7:00 and race if I feel some pep in my step. I should be able to run near a 7 minute pace, but that will definitely be considered racing. A 7:30 pace for me is still an aggressive workout. I run 8:00 to 8:30 comfortably.
Dave doesn’t look like a distance runner. He’s built like an NFL QB – tall with massively broad shoulders. Or maybe he looks like a swimmer. He was a seriously competitive swimmer in his youth – a state qualifier. He raced a few triathlons this summer and is in decent shape. I get the sense he’s interested in this 10K because running became a focus event for him as part of his triathlons. If you race triathlons, then you know this. There’s always one of your three events that takes the spotlight for the season. Either because it’s your weakest event or because you’re excelling at it. The swim, the bike, or the run. For whatever reason, you become smitten with one of those three for the season. I think Dave wants to see how well he can run a 10K without all the other noise from swimming and biking. Something to take into the off season. He has a cold but expects to run about a 9 minute pace.
Lindsay is a stellar youth triathlete. She’ll run the 2 mile event today. Ellie doesn’t run much but she longboards regularly. She’s game for the two miler. “Ellie, you want to run a 2 miler next weekend?” “Sure. Are the Sebestas running it?” That’s the perfect fitness attitude. Thinking of a race as something fun to do for the weekend. Ellie is dressed for warmth in a pair of Brooks Infiniti III running tights she acquired recently from Shoes & Brews and the long-sleeve race jersey from the registration. Lindsay sports yoga pants and a Nike hoodie.
The streets are wet from last night’s hard, long rain. The humidity is high for this reason too at over 70%, making the 47° air feel cool. With zero wind, this weather is ideal. The girls sprint south and west on their two miler while we shoot off north toward Nelson. I’m wearing Pearl Izumi shorts and short-sleeved top. I warmed up in the long-sleeved race jersey but toss it to the side right before we start. I think I’m on pace the first mile but feel a tad winded. I clock 7:08 which explains my heavy breathing. Per plan, I pick up my pace a bit and begin to pass others. Still, my second mile is only 4 seconds faster at 7:04. Mile three is 7:02.
I almost always push the fourth mile in 10Ks. This is my favorite race tactic to shake off other runners. I’ve been running along with a younger guy pushing a baby stroller. He’s mostly in front of me but I pass him a couple of times. This is funny to me because of my friend George’s recent blog post about being passed by some hiptser pushing a stroller. There’s something irritating about it. I give this guy some grief, accusing him of drafting. We chat a bit.
I run 6:51 for my fourth mile. Exactly what I was hoping to do. I slow back down to my 7 minute pace though on mile five to recover. 7:08 again. A twenty year old girl passes me at this point. The only runner to pass me since the start besides this stroller dude I’ve been pacing. I stay with her but can’t pass her as this mile on Nelson Road ascends a slight slope west-bound. The rise is almost imperceptible but I feel my heart rate increase. This keeps me from accelerating. The course flattens out as we turn south onto Grandview Meadows Dr., allowing me to surge back ahead of the girl. The stroller dude kicks past me with a strong finish. I find this totally irresponsible and consider calling social services for child endangerment. I let him go but do run strong to the finish and cross the line at 44:30 – a 7:10 pace. My best is a 7:09 pace so this is one of my fastest ever 10Ks. “Ever” meaning since I returned to road racing in 2010 after a 20 year hiatus. I place 2nd in my age group.
I’m certain I did actually PR because this course is easily 100 yards too long. The starting line was moved down the street from previous years. And my Garmin recorded 6.41 miles. Doesn’t matter. This was a super nice run today. I got into race mode and kept myself from falling into oxygen debt. Despite my 7:10 overall pace due to a long course, my slowest mile was 7:08. All other miles were within a few seconds of that except for the faster fourth mile in 6:51. That’s an extremely steady pace which is always one of my goals. Dave PR’d despite his cold in 56:15. The girls ran together and enjoyed their two miler, placing 56 and 57 in their age group. We later brunch at Lucile’s. Next weekend is a cross country race on grass in Boulder.