After I had ran a 3 miler on Monday night in 25:20 (9:08, 8:26, 7:46), a little harder than I was planning on, I was a little unsure of what to expect for the 8K. Usually, I am really good at keeping the pace down the day before a run, but some days your legs just want to go and who am I to stop them. I think I needed that last mile to prove to my brain that I can run faster and it really doesn’t hurt as bad as I think it does. So. . .
The 8K takes place through the local Christmas Light Display along a road littered with little parks where on weeknights and weekends you will find lots of people walking, running, and playing. It also happens to be a part of the Martian Marathon route, ran in April. The route is “fairly” flat, with several longer inclines and declines. Thankfully, in the dark you don’t really notice them as much, at least not until you are running up or down them. The weather last night would’ve been perfect, except for the constant rain coming down. It wasn’t the pouring variety, but just steady drizzling. The temperature was 45, but with the wind gusting up to 14 mph, it felt like 35-40. Not exactly my ideal racing weather, especially not for a non chip timed, “fun” run. But, I had a goal to beat my time of 39:41 from last year and a little bit of rain wasn’t going to stop me.
I took off WAY too quickly (like in the 6:xx range) and slowly dialed it back to the 7s. My plan was to aim for 7:45s. The first mile came in at 7:33. Wow! Immediately, the brain says, “You can’t run THAT pace for 4 more miles.” I ignore it, take a deep breath, relax and make a point to ignore “G” for a little while and just run.
I start passing people. I find a person to target and pass them. I passed several of the cross country kids, who flew out of the start about mile 2 and start gaining on the next large group. Mile 2 and Mile 3 were right around 8 mins. My feet are cold and squishy wet.
Mile 4 – 8:10 I hit a rough patch. Bad stomach cramps caused me to ease up a bit, but after a couple deep breaths, I dug in. An encouraging, “Come on! Keep it up! Looking good!” from a fellow runner helped too. I stuck with him for a half mile or so and he says its his first race!
He started to slow down OR I started to speed up and suddenly I could hear the finish times being shouted out. 37. . . 38. . . I dug real deep and tried to run toward the darkness and the voice as fast as I could go. . . 39:24!!! A PR by 17 seconds, 9 days after Marshall. I’ll take it!