Workout – Bayou City Classic 10K/5K Fun Run
Stats – 3.2 miles / 29:13 (I forgot to stop the timer while walking it off at the end)
9.07 min/mile average
7:44 fastest mile (personal best)
4:31 fastest 1K (personal best)
25:22 fastest 5K (personal best)
Conditions – 56 degrees, almost raining, gusting winds
Comments – Race Day finally arrived, and I felt lost as a babe in the woods! I woke up at my normal early time, and sat around trying to distract myself from being nervous. I had done most of the prep the night before: charging my headphones and checking my playlist; finding safety pins for my bib; deciding what to wear; planning breakfast; so there wasn’t much left to do. I finally just sat there quietly, listening to myself breathe and trying to believe this was really happening…I was actually going to do the thing I had been training towards for two months – run my first race. (Does anyone else out there have a fond memory of their first event? Or am I just an overly nostalgic fool?) It got to be time to leave, so I jumped in my truck and headed off. I had hoped that Karen might go with me, but radiation is beginning to take its toll, and she was sleeping in, so I went alone.
I got a nice parking space, fairly close to check-in, about 45 minutes before start – enough time to wander through the vendors trying to get set up, and find the coffee stand; I had purposely held myself to only one cup at home, so I could have one more just before lining up, to get the full jolt effect. (I am a hard-core coffee addict, 20-30 cups a day, so I am exquisitely attuned to how my body reacts to it, and how to time it) I was very pleasantly surprised to bump into a co-worker, my friend Eric, who was running his first 10K; I did not know he ran at all, so it was nice to see one familiar face! It was his first time in this event also, so we explored together a bit, before separating to line up for the start.
BCC starts the 10K in the first heat, and the 5K in a second. Normally, this works well, I am told, but there is an extreme amount of road construction in downtown Houston lately, with a massive expansion of our commuter rail system underway. This has caused a re-structuring of the course, so now the first mile forms a loop, before heading out; someone in the race organizers got overanxious, and they allowed the 5K heat to start too soon; we nearly ran right into the 10K! Officials had to physically close off the street, and force a re-start on our heat, after holding us about 15 minutes to allow the centipede teams and slower runners for the first heat to clear the path. Then, we were off!
I held myself back from the urge to burst ahead and clear the pack – I just kind of let it sort itself out around me, while I got into my rhythm; I found myself naturally passing some people, and not being bothered when others passed me…this felt like a huge accomplishment, because the gut-level competitor in me cannot stand to be passed, and will fight it at every instance. I kept my mind on a steady pace, getting warmed up, and getting comfortable – and the first mile was gone before I even knew it! The sign surprised me when I passed it, I didn’t even feel like I had gotten started! So I stepped it up a little, and soon the second mile was behind me.
About this time I started seeing the 10K runners who had already made the turn-around headed back in; I started watching for the 5K’s, to see how much lead they had, and gauge my relative position (I told you I’m competitive!) I gotta admit, it felt good to only see a dozen or so as I made the turn! That little boost got me through the next challenge: the last thee-quarter-mile was a slight but steady uphill; Houston is basically flat as a pancake, but Allen Parkway rises along the banks of Buffalo Bayou headed back into the business district, and I could see it and feel it as it climbed…I was pretty relieved when it leveled off right at the third mile!
So how did that last tenth of a mile get so much longer than all the rest of them?!? It didn’t help that the finish line was hidden around a turn…I saved a little sprint for the end, and barely got the chance to use it! (Probably a good thing – it would be embarrassing to start a sprint, and have to stop before I crossed the line, wouldn’t it?)
I toured the vendors, picked up all the
promotional items and food samples swag there were to be had, especially my free cup of Saint Arnold Santo (there are some certain perks to having a hand-craft brewery in your city, right?) The weather was turning nasty, a cold front and rain headed our way; and with the demands of reality – slide shows to finish for church; laundry and shopping to get done; a vehicle inspection overdue by a week, with every cop in the city looking at my windshield! – it was time to head on home…and start again on Monday, headed to the next level: I have already upgraded to the Active 5K-to-10K training app, first run tomorrow! I’m signed up for another 5K in June (not planning to do a lot of traveling for running, and most events locally are this month or April, too soon for my budget). I should be ready for the longer run about the time I enter the lottery for the Chevron Houston Marathon 2014…something about that timing tickles my sense of synchronicity…I told you my running career is meant to be! See you next week, as we set off on the next adventure: 10K or Not 10K – Is that a question?