Spoiler alert: I still didn't break 50 minutes in last weekend's 10K.
But the good news is, I'm getting close! Since I ran my 50:06 PR on Thanksgiving 2011, I've ran a handful of 10Ks all in the 52-56 minute range. Saturday's 50:34 was the closest I've inched back toward PR territory.
Even before the race started, I could tell this one was going to be packed. It was a challenge wading through the crowd to wait by the 8:00/mile pace group and I had a sneaking suspicion that most people up front were there because they wanted to be at the front with all the hoopla, not because they would be throwing down five- or six-minute miles (cough, runners in costume).
Mile 1 included lots of weaving around mid-race texters. (Seriously, how do you not face-plant? My iPhone would be history if I tried that.) The constant weaving led me to run almost 0.2 miles extra by the end. This year's course was different from last year's since they eliminated the Elysian Viaduct hill (which is also disappearing from next year's marathon course) and instead had us run about 3 miles total on Allen Parkway. I don't know why I assumed this meant it would be a flat race course- it definitely was not. Even though my pace slowed down in the second half, the miles definitely flew by once the crowds thinned out.
Holy crowds, this is like Where's Waldo. Can you spot me?
As we neared the end, I thought I saw the finish and began to sprint it out before realizing that it was actually the 5K finish and we hadn't even hit mile 6 yet. Soul. Crushed. I felt briefly defeated, but when I actually hit the mile marker, I started sprinting again, even after looking at my watch and seeing I was already at 49 minutes and change with 0.2 miles to go.
When I crossed the finish line in 50:34, with 6.37 miles recorded on my watch, I did feel a slight twinge of disappointment. I guess that's what I get for picking such a crowded race. At the same time, though, though, this race result shows that this is the best race shape I've been in in about a year and I still feel pretty confident about trying for sub-50 again next weekend. And my finish is a 2014 Houston Marathon qualifying time , huzzah.
The ol' job gave me a set of free tickets for the Rodeo for last night, which included an Alan Jackson concert (awesome) and meeting some unusual (for Texas) friends, like this baby wallaby hanging out amongst the goats and donkeys.
This week also kicked off the beginning of my marathon training plan for Newport , which Celia is helping me out with because she's awesome. First official long run is this weekend's Sugar Land Half! See you on the flip side.
Do you have any races you love doing again and again despite crazy crowds? Along with the Rodeo Run, NYCM and the RnR Country Music Half come to mind for me. On that note, I'm kind of looking forward to the fact that Newport will likely be less than 1,000 people.