Yesterday I ran a race against a 26-year-old from California. This PhD student was pretty smug about his running
abilities. That was me in 2006, when I ran the Carneros 10K through Napa & Sonoma Valleys. It was beautifully
cool that morning nine Julys ago, and much less humid obviously. I finished the race in Sonoma's old town square
and tasted wine afterward. My time was 59:19. Beautiful thing. It was my first 10K. I haven't been able to top it.
Yesterday, on the
other hand, was humid and cloudy. Not too hot for July, but as we stood at the start line it started to drizzle.
I'd eaten a salad the night before, and I knew I was in good enough shape to beat that California kid if I ran
hard. I kept telling Cara and the girls this, which they found a little silly. I was running the Firecracker 10K,
but Cara was running the 5K with Kanutte & Tor Helge Huse. Tor was just hoping to get under 20 minutes. He'd
biked 40 miles the day before.
The race started out well enough, with me running at the pace I usually run 5Ks. It helped that another one of the
dads from Zara's soccer team was there to pace myself with. We headed out of Maryland Farms (the office park
where the race started) and down Granny White Pike toward the middle school. I felt like I was flying. It appeared
Granny White Pike was all downhill to the middle school, so I'd have to climb up it on the way back. I knew this
would be slower so I ran hard to make up for that future lost time. We ran through the middle school and high
school parking lots, where I dumped a cup of water on my head at the turn around.
The Californian I ran against
Getting back on Granny White Pike, I was ready to start climbing the hill I'd flown down earlier. It started off
downhill though. Weird. As I ran downhill on Granny White Pike someone called out that we were passing the 4
mile mark. I glanced at my watch. 7:44. We'd started a bit late, around 10 after, so I was fairly surprised to
have covered those first 4 miles in 34 minutes. I was also surprised that Granny White Pike kept being downhill.
All the way back to Maryland Farms it was downhill! Logically I know this cannot be the case, but I guess I was
feeling the race so well it seemd to be downhill both ways.
Running that last mile through Maryland Farms it was impossible to slack off, because I knew the next 10 minutes
would set the standard for perhaps the next 10 years of my running career. And that smug kid from
California was going down! Crossing the finish line there was no clock, but I knew I'd bested my prior best.
Tor was there to greet me and smiled when I told him I beaten my goal by a wide enough margin that I didn't
need to look at my time. He had also achieved his goal for the day. Then we went over where Kanutte was standing
at the 5K finish line waiting for Cara to cross. Cara ran the whole way and finished in 35:33. If not her best
time, then it's close (she doesn't really keep track). She swelled with pride that her training had paid such
Our final results:
|Tor Helge||18:07||5K||5th place overall|
As you can see, I beat my PR by about 6 minutes - an insane amount! It blows my mind that I can take that much
time off of a PR after so many years. I ran six 10Ks between that first one in Carneros and yesterday. One of
them through some snafu I never got a time for and another I ran in boots because I'd left my running shoes in
Alpharetta, but in two others I received the 2nd place medal for my age division. I guess all this
training as I prepare for my first marathon
in a little over two months has really paid off.