Each year, on the first Sunday in September, the Bloomsday Roadrunners Club puts on the Sunday Sundae 10 Mile Run. This is a race that has been going on for over 20 years and is the only local race that actually goes right by my front door. I always look forward to it.
This year, in conjunction with my preparation for the upcoming October 5 Portland Marathon, I needed to run a bit farther than 10 miles. My coach’s plan called for me to run 10 miles prior to the race and then run the race so that I could achieve the requisite pre-marathon 20 mile run.
My day started at just after 4:30 am when the alarm went off. I am a putterer and as a result do not do well with jumping out of bed and racing out the door. So before any morning activities, I get up, visit the bathroom, wander around the house for a bit, eat a breakfast or a Power Bar, visit the bathroom, check my email, go through my stretching routine, visit the bathroom, check the headlines of the morning paper, perhaps visit the bathroom one last time, and slowly meander towards the door. I usually need a couple of hours to perform these vital morning tasks.
I drove the two miles to the start of the race and took off, running the race loop in the opposite direction. The only reason I took a left turn instead of a right turn was to provide some variety. Both directions provide equally challenging roads and each offers a brutal hill.
I ran easy and, per my coach, maintained a Zone 2 heart rate pace. It felt good to be running in the cool of the morning and as I got caught up on some podcasts I enjoyed myself. By the time I made the final turn for the finish the Motor City Madman was recounting a live version of his legendary fable of the Great White Buffalo and I was rocking.
I arrived back at the start with a bit less than 10 minutes to spare until the start of the race. I quickly changed shirts and hats, scarfed down a gel, headed for the start, and moments later we were off.
My race goal was to push things a bit and see how I held up. I took off at an 8:30 and change pace and managed to maintain that speed as we traveled down and through the local state park and followed the beautiful Spokane River. The first eight miles of the course has rolling hills, a severe down hill, and a couple of short but a bit tough up hills.
At the eight mile point the course takes a sharp right turn onto my street and begins a brutal hill that lasts well over one mile. I have a friend who was also running and we were talking a couple of days ago about this hill. He was concerned and I told him that the hill was not as bad as it appeared and the biggest challenge would be mental.
As I struggled up the hill I reevaluated my thoughts I had passed onto my friend. By the time I reached the top I had gone from an overall average speed of 8:35 per minute to 8:55 per minute.
Of course I had to remind myself that while this was mile nine in the race, it was mile 19 in my run this morning. And I also told myself that there would definitely be no hills of this magnitude facing me in Portland.
After reaching the top I pushed with what I had left to the finish and wound up with a time of 1:29.
The race offers ice cream to all finishers and I accepted my share of the rewards.
It was a good race and a solid 20 mile run. And while I am not at the speed I would like to be, I definitely feel better about my upcoming marathon.