My last race (not counting Ragnar) was July 4th. THREE MONTHS AGO!
it has been too long. But I have finally shaken the injury bug and got
back to normal running. So that means racing about every month. This
week was the Manhattan Beach 10K, an old favorite local race that I have
run 15 times now. Many of my local runner friends were there,
especially from my speedy track group, Club Ed. It's a rolling course
with one nasty hill in mile 5 and several other ups and downs. And the
finish is along the beach, where this kind of stuff was going on.
goals were modest. I knew I wasn't ready to shoot for a PR or course
record yet. Two years ago I ran 43:14 here, but last year was 45:33 on
tired legs the week after the Grand Canyon. This year I figured I could
shoot for 45:00, about 7:15 pace, but I figured I would be happy with
anything under 46. The plan was to try and start out slow, maybe 7:45,
and gradually speed up and try to have an enjoyable race, without all
the suffering and agony of trying to "do my best".
But who was I kidding, right? Once the race is underway I'm always pushing my limits. Well, I would try.
positioned myself a little further back, behind my club mates, and went
out at an easy pace. I was relaxed. I wasn't weaving for no reason.
Just right. First peek at lap pace showed 7:55. Great!
then I began to pass people. I saw a few club mates that I knew I
should be passing. And would be passing. But I cruised along patiently
and tried to relax. Still, by 1/2 a mile my lap pace was down to 7:30's.
As I hit mile one I checked my watch. 7:23.
Well, fine. I still felt good.
course that trend meant I was really going much faster. Early in mile
two I checked lap pace and it was 6:48. Oh, hell no! I dialed it back
and tried to relax. Long way to go. It may be fun to run fast and pass
people, but I had to consider the 5 miles yet to come, and the hills and
my lack of training!
So I tried to stay within myself. A
teammate who is 67 and always wins his age group (M) was just ahead of
me. I knew I would (probably) catch him at some point, but for now I was
happy to keep him in sight and trail him. Made it over a few hills and
wasn't dying yet, so that was good. Mile two was 7:09. Waved hello to
the wife. See, I'm still having fun!
mile 3 I started passing a few teammates who had gone out too fast. But
M hung with me for about two miles before I dropped him, It helped to
have the company. Mile 3 was 7:15 and mile 4 was 7:10. So I figured I
was pretty close to pace. But with the big hill coming in mile 5 I knew I
would give some back. But I also knew that I always do well in the last
mile along the beach. So I was holding out hope to still finish about
Of course the pain was now aboard for the ride.
But, not too bad. I was still running to plan - hard, but not "crazy I
think I'm going to die to get a PR" hard. "In control" was my mantra. So
as the hill approached I tried to just keep running until I was over
the top. It's nasty.
I shuffled over while gasping for air, but as I crested I immediately
felt better and opened up my stride for that big downhill. Mile 5
included the up and down and was 7:33.
Now we were on the
beach bike path with a flat mile to go. Again I tried to save something.
Long way to go. Too soon to "kick". I was accelerating, but I
calculated that sub 45 was not likely. No need to kill myself. But I was
certainly working hard, and eventually I found some people to race and
kicked it in. Mile 6 was 7:08.
The finish is down a little hill to the pier. DW's camera shutter jammed a little, but I think it makes for an artistic shot.
Here's another view.
Last .25 was 6:08 pace for a 45:07. I'll take that as a win. Finished 196th overall and 15th in my tough AG.
Here's a shot of the finish area at the beach - what a great course.
And here is a group shot of my team, many of whom picked up AG medals.
times! And just the beginning of a fun and busy day! After refueling
and a glorious nap, DW and I went out to a party hosted by a chef in
beautiful Palos Verdes, where the food was amazing. Then we also managed
to head over to the Hollywood Bowl to see Idina Menzel in concert. She
was very entertaining and sounded fantastic.
Life is good.
Postscript: Got some official pics that are pretty good. I seem to be levitating over the finish line!