December 10, 2006

I have a moment of clarity / Kleinerman 10K

Well, what a run this was! I headed out to the park last Sunday morning intent on getting in five miles before the race and eight miles after, to total 19 miles. My pre-race prep was right on and I had a good morning. I took all my junk in a bag that can be locked to a fixed object and that has wire mesh inside to prevent theft. This was a far better alternative than the baggage claim if I was going to do more miles after the race.

In the middle of my five miles of warmup, though, I had a moment of clarity regarding Houston: I can't both run the marathon AND run with my sister. The two distances have separate starting lines and though they share a portion of the route, it would be impossible to meet up with Rachel on the run. I reflected that training has been going OK - better than before November - and that I didn't want to blow it. I need to keep running. But Rachel and I picked Houston together precisely so we COULD run together.

And that became the overriding factor in my decision to just run the half marathon in Houston. As it turns out, that may be all my body allows me to run, but at that moment, when I made that decision, I was well on my way to my 19-miler for the day.

I felt really good and had been running pretty steady when I got to the start line. I took a moment to strip a layer of clothing (it was cold out), and then joined the race. I forgot to hit my watch at the starting line and again at the finish line, so the splits aren't entirely accurate...

You can see where I hit my watch to start the race, about a tenth of a mile late.

Though I FELT good and felt like I was turning in 10:30 miles or better, such is apparently not the case. On the other hand, I know the distance metering is off by a little bit - about six percent I think. Still, I wasn't running nearly as fast as I felt. I turned in a third-best for the 10K distance, though, so I'm obviously not doing too bad, either.

The race ended in a strange way. I'd kept passing this woman in green who'd near-sprint for a hundred yards, then walk a ways. Not the best strategy, but maybe she was having cramps. Well, about two-tenths of a mile from the end, when I had just picked up my pace for a strong finish, she comes blazing by me like her ass is on fire. And for the first time, I got angry. Not challenged, just angry. How DARE she pass me when I'm running so well??

So I picked it up myself and managed to pass her one last time before the finish. It was a little too intense, but I'd decided I wanted to end my run on a high note that day anyway. I'd decided not to do the extra eight miles, since a marathon was no longer on the line.

I did actually talk myself into turning around and starting the extra eight miles, but my calves chose to cramp up before I got to the west side of the park. A message from the body? Or a message from the subconscious mind? Oh, well.

I packed it in for the day and for once, I felt like I'd had a good run. Not great, mind you, since there were only multiple blisters, but no blood... but it was a good run. I could use more of those. Its runs like that that keep me plugging away at it. I realize, of course, that just a few months ago even three miles was all but impossible for me, so I'm not taking my ability to finish 11 feeling well for granted. No, this was good all around and I'm finally not conflicted about Houston. I need more runs like this.

Oh, by the way, first race with the Team Boomer jersey on. I like it.

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