Otherwise known as the annual 10k Suckfest. My third consecutive year running this event (Move to the Beats) today was no exception.
My plan was to run at or around 6:30 for as long as possible, which turned out to be not long at all, as I found myself trying to reign in a much faster pace the first half mile or so. I am not sure what happened there but my legs were really fresh.
My main competitor for this event (who has flipped flopped 1st and 2nd place with me in our age group the past two years) did not, and ran a 6:15 first mile. Thankfully, I had the wherewithal to let him go.
I caught and passed him around the 1.5 mark, and now hold the edge over him 2 years to 1. :)
As for the rest of the race, it was and always is the hardest thing at this event to keep going once you complete the first loop. Seeing all the 5k runners going through the finish chute and stopping is absolutely demoralizing.
Somehow, I managed to continue for the second loop and despite the steady drop in pace, I am happy that I did not quit. I just kept telling myself to keep going at all costs, holding onto the tiniest sliver of purpose for dear life.
After the mile 4 split of 6:52, I did not look at my watch again. At that point I was physically spent, completely drenched and mentally my pace just did not matter anymore. Finishing took precedent.
I had to laugh the last 2 miles as I reeled in walker after 5k walker, thinking how pathetic it was that I been reduced to that to keep going.
Oh well, it is one thing to have a strong race and finish lights out. It is another to have a not so strong race and finish by any means necessary. That is what happened today and in the grand scheme of things, running steady state for 6 miles at race effort was as important as holding pace.
A week or two ago I would have been totally disappointed with my time today. But mentally I am in a different place than I was then, and understand that this shortened season's goal is to not race well now (although that would be great), but on November 7.
And so I press on...