Nothing like knocking down a new Personal Record. That is exactly what I did this morning. My previous PR for the 10k distance was set back in September of 2007. It was 38:23- I thought it wouldn't get any better. WRONG. I have not run a 10k for about 2 years and was really hoping for anything under 40 minutes, and thought that might be a stretch. My training has been focused on longer, slower distances with zero speed work so it was a surprise to me that I was able to come through with a 37:38 in the Ava 10k.
This was the first year for the race, which was a 5k and 10k, and with over 250 entrants it wasn't a shock that they were a bit disorganized. I sensed this when trying to register- nobody wanted to accept my registration form and I ended up mailing it in last minute, missing out on the “good” goodie bag and settling for a plastic bag full of coupons. No big deal but a little frustrating- the good bag had some water bottles and a coffee cup. WHO couldn't use those? Oh well, I still got a nice T-Shirt and really, WHO couldn't use another one of those?
The course was laid out in a weird figure 8 pattern that had us crossing the same intersection so many times that I was dizzy. One loop for the 5k and two loops for the 10k, easy enough, right? Nope. I managed to jump in front of the pack early on the first loop and was following the lead car- a police car- but he didn't really know the course.....see where this is going? He took a wrong turn before the completion of the loop one and I, of course, followed. Luckily, I realized the error and adjusted but many runners didn't and ended up short on the distance. The “organizers” recognized this and made the proper corrections.
I don't think the course change affected the outcome as the lead pack followed me and we got back on track. Again, frustrating but not that big of a deal. As the race pressed on, my lead grew and I found myself pushing but probably not as hard as I would have if the pressure was on. Still I put forth a hard effort and was very pleased with the outcome. Nothing is flat around here so the few small hills actually helped because I run hills EVERYDAY.
So I finished the race in first place with a new PR. Not bad for my training. If I didn't fully believe in the benefit of cross training before, I do now. It has made an unbelievable difference for me and I highly recommend it to anybody that is serious about improving. Now if I could just force myself to get down to the track once in a while and put in some speed training.......yeah, right. I despise that stuff.
The award presentation was disorganized. No big shock there. I think it will be better next time- first year mistakes. It was worth the long wait when they finally got around to my award. No real age groups- just ages 0-39 and 40 and up. Weird. I received a Bulova watch, about $200 worth of gift certificates and a Silver Dollar City pass. Not bad. There was also a trophy, which was nice but I figured that I had won enough stuff. I asked that we bump the trophy back to the 2nd place finisher and that would allow the 4th place finisher to take home some hardware too. I really think this was the fair thing to do. Sure, I would have liked to add a trophy to my collection but I already had a freakin' PR- and all the other stuff that I couldn't carry- and that was good enough.
The watch, certificates, PR and a 1st place finish were cool and nice but the BEST part was a certificate to the local flower shop for a dozen roses. This was a $50 value and great timing. I swung by there on my way out of town and had my kids give them to my wife for an early Mother's Day gift. Nothing like winning twice in one day.
This is how it works-
I love to run but there are times when I would rather not. This is when the voices start. Chants, name calling, guilt and reverse psychology is how they get me up and out the door. I don't really mind the voices and have actually started looking forward to their daily calls. Together we have formed a running club that supports, encourages and competes with each other. I love these peeps. They are much more experienced, talented and tougher than I am. Pushing me out the door, through the hard miles and up the monster hills when I am feeling lazy or want to give up. Some people have "real" training partners, coaches and support crews. My team is ALWAYS with me and helps me to keep my eye on the prize and not veer off the track. Sounds crazy- Yeah, probably is.........