My first 10k. Now granted I have run much longer in training, and my base training run is around 10k. But still, there are nerves to be had before any race. And, the nerves understandably increase when it is your longest race distance yet.
Now, add on top of that that my evening beforehand wasn't exactly the typical evening before a race. I went to see Rufus Wainwright solo (perhaps a full review of that later). Normally, the night before a race, I make a big pasta dinner, drink tons of water, and am in bed between 10-11. Last night, I had some subpar gnochi at a pizza stand in Tarrytown, hardly any water and listened to Rufus. It made me look forward to the day when Kip Winger Running Team had themed pre-race resturaunts around the country. It's only a matter of time. At any rate, luckily, I was still in bed before midnight.
After waking up at 7, I had coffee, showered, and watched a little of the Presidential debate on DVR. Rudy Guiliani is unbearable. Notre Dame Rudy should sack him and take back his name. But thats for another time. I get to the race check in, as advised at 9am. My bib number is 277. I have 45 minutes still before the race starts. Time for some racing warmup. I run about 3/4 of a mile and am realizing that my right knee feels awful. Twice I pull up lame just looking down at it, thinking, "What the hell?" During my warmup though I am starting to recognize people from previous races, and even cooler they are recognizing me, "Hey, happy new year Indianapolis!" "Alright, Scottie, good to see ya again." That puts me in better spirits, and I try not to think about my knee. I run into that cat that I talked to after the race in Stamford, the one that flew by me about 1/2 mile or mile in. We talk for 5 minutes or so about upcoming races, goals for this race. I tell him I am aiming for 48 (which is 7:43 splits, not 7:30 as I mentioned before) this time around, he says, "Aww, man. You should be able to do that no problem, mate." I'm still unsure.
As we line up for the race, I sort myself about 3-4 rows back and towards the outside. We go off. The course map shows lots of elevation change, including a steady downhill the first mile or so. I feel like I have gone out way too fast. I'm already visualizing that huge uphill around mile 5, and I am thinking to myself don't leave yourself with nothing for that hill. Before I know it, I pass a chalk marker noting 2k done. Not bad, I think to myself, only 4 more of these 2k's to go. It's at this point that runner from last week's Stamford race blows by me again. I know he's aiming for 42, so I don't attempt to keep up.
It's a really good course, and soon enough we are down by the water, by the beaches of Long Island Sound. And there are enough mini hills throughout that it keeps me focused on them, and not too focused on the larger hill at mile 5. But, there are two other problems on my mind. One, why is it that always between 4-5 k in a race I get a horrible side stich? And two, how fuckin long have I been running anyway, why aren't there timers shouting out times? I decide to just try to out run the side stich, which works, and I decide that it's probably good I am not hearing times, just run your own race.
Soon enough, we are at the one water stop. I know this is at 5.8 miles, so I am feeling good at this point, more than halfway though. But, it's also at this point that I am really starting to get passed by quite a few people. The concern is still there with me that I have gone out too fast and that I am fading big time. I try to convince myself that this isn't the case. There is a guy in long blue pants and a red shirt that I have been trading places with all race. And we are still trading, still withing 3-4 seconds of eachother. I use that as encouragement that I haven't screwed up too bad. I have no idea how thats rational. Then almost exactly at 7k, I see bird crap falling out of the corner of my eye. I am sure it's gonna hit my shoulder, but it doesn't. I tell myself I must have been too fast for it, and that I haven't been fading as much as I thought.
I see the 8k chalk marker and soon enough we are on that 1/2 mile or so uphill. Oh, and it has turns. Thanks guys. I think back to when I was looking at the map at the check in, and I said to a guy standing next to me, "nice hill at the end." He shook his head, "Flax Hill Road, those assholes..." and walked away. This made me laugh a bit remembering it as I was running up the hill. But then I realized that laughter isn't good for my breathing rhythm. And then I realize, damn, this hill is really long. I notice blue pants red shirt guy and I are no longer trading places. I think he's behind me. I take comfort that others are breathing as labored as me.
Finally, I see a 9k chalk mark. It's pretty much at the top of the hill, but now I am worried I am gonna throw up. For real. I think to myself, just wait 5 minutes, you only have 1k left. Get to the finish and then throw up. I still have no idea what my time is, but I know I am less than 1k to the finish, so I try to pick up the pace. I get evetually see the high school we started at, and soon after I notice cones leading us back into that lot. Once I hit the cones, I go into my kick, it's probably only .2 miles left at this point. Once I round the corner I am able to see the clock and get an idea of my time for the first time all race. Holy shit. I am gonna finish in under 46?! At this point any thoughts of throwing up and pain go away, and instead, I am just thrilled. My goal was 48. I had no idea whether that was conservative or ambitious. But when I had the knee tightness during warmup, I just was worried about finishing. At the start, I heard two guys talking strategy. One said, "Start slow, taper off, then drop out." They laughed and I did too, but I was afraid that was gonna be me, deep down inside. And here I was, one of over 300 finishers, and I am finishing in around 45:55. I was thrilled. Going by the the 2007 results this woulda put me at 124 outta 280 finishers. I am still waiting to see where this puts me this year. I am hoping they have better luck getting the results up to the webpage than last weeks race.
But here's the really encouraging thing to me. I set my goal at 48:00 cause that would put me in a good seeding position for May's Indianapolis mini, table towards the bottom of this page. And not only have I done that, but I am within striking distance of an even better seeding. Not to shabby for a first 10k.
I will admit, there was a bit of added pressure as this was the first race run under The Kip Winger Running Team name by any of our nationwide members. But, it felt good. And I think it was that pressure that helped me keep down vomit at 9k, and to crush my goal by over 2 minutes. I look forward to another 10k soon, hopefully. It's a pretty great distance for a race as far as strategy (which I certainly haven't figured out yet) and speed. But before that, I gotta decide if I will be doing a 15k on the 20th. We'll see.
Official results will be posted as soon as I find out.
Kip Winger Running Team is go!!!