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Jupiter Classics by the Sea 10k

December 22, 2008

Bib number: 109
Overall placement: 103/305 (34%)
Gender placement: 28/141 (20%)
Age Group placement: 3/22 (14%)
Chip time: 49:07

That’s right, I did it!

Warmed up for a mile with Garmie, about another half mile with a slow jog with Gwynne. Had a Gu, went to the potty, pinned my bib on. I was cold walking around before the gun, but the forecast had the temps going up to 70 by race start and sure enough, it was warm by the time we got running.

I’m not sure if I’m becoming a more intelligent racer or just a more strategic one. Right off the bat, coming off that hilly curve that opens this race, which I hated last year but didn’t mind so much this year, I picked out runners to pace off of right away. There were two men with Ironman tattoos on their ankles, as well as some runners I recognized from my Saturday morning long runs, strong runners who were serious about running this with their heads. I locked in on them.

Mile 1 came in at 8:10, just as I’d strategized. Now I knew I’d have to pick up the pace–I needed the next five miles to come in at exactly eight minutes, and shaving off ten seconds can be harder than you’d think. Our first water stop came in here, and I actually slowed to take fluids, not wanting a lack of fluids to hurt me later. But I found my pacers and got back to work, and mile 2 came in at 8:03. No cause to worry yet.

Mile 3 found us finally free of the 5k traffic, since that race had started just before ours and we had finally passed their turnaround point. Now I was behind a young girl (high school age) who runs with a group of men on Saturday mornings. One of them, probably the one who was running the race with her, is probably her dad. I was having a hard time getting past the group of runners they were with–staying behind them meant falling behind pace, but passing them would have meant going too fast for the midpoint in the race. I had to join their pack. I ended up just behind this young runner, and I could tell by her breathing that she was struggling. I passed her just before the turnaround–mile 3 at 8:03.

Passing the turnaround, I saw a woman in my age group who has a child at my kid’s preschool and with whom I’ve been known to have some good-natured competition. She said, “I’m right behind you,” and I knew she wasn’t kidding. Also right next to me were two training partners who’d been running at my pace the entire race. I felt bad overhearing their ongoing conversation for the duration of the race, but we couldn’t shake each other off as we were running pretty much the same pace. But, the turnaround was my green light. Half the race behind me, and a 5k to go–I felt free to pull out all the stops, and I began to pick up the pace ever so slightly.

Mile 4 came in at 7:59.

The best miles were ahead. Now I began to pick up new runners and pick them up one by one. I coasted at an even pace as much as I could, hitching visual rides when I spotted a runner up ahead that I thought I had a chance at. As I approached them, I tried to make a clean pass–just swoop by on the left without any real struggle, without a chance for response. Mile 5 at 7:45, and a cup of water over my head.

Up ahead, a pack of four female runners that were in my age group or the one above. I tucked in behind them for about a quarter mile, hitching a ride, as they were probably running about 7:45 and I didn’t want to give them a chance to hitch a ride with me. Once I passed them, I wanted to leave them behind. When I was ready, I swung left, passed them all at once, and picked out a male runner ahead of them, picking up my pace. Passed the mile 6 marker feeling fast and smooth–pace was 7:25.

Sure, my heart was about to explode, but, as Glover says, I knew, having done the math before, that the misery would be over in about ninety seconds. I lowered the gun and and dialed it in. One downhill stretch, a turn into the park, and in for the finish–breaking fifty minutes for an overall 7:55 pace and third-place age group award.

And 2008 goals met.

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