I have a boat load of excuses again. Weather isn't one of them! The conditions today were perfect. Most of the excuses I detailed in yesterday's post. But the bottom line is that I just didn't feel well this morning and haven't all week. I'm lethargic and my digestive system seems to be just a bit out of whack. I'm sure I can run 10 miles faster than I did today. (I think I say that after every race! One day, I'm going to have to just leave it all out there.) Still, I believe I gave a good effort today.
Brief Results Summary
Results will be posted on the HTC website when they're available. Carl Smith always does a great job scoring those races. David Riddle, as usual, won todays race in 54 something. The master's winner was George Dewitt in 56 and change, a state 10 mile age record! George is simply amazing. Talk about overcoming adversity! Impressive! It's really good to see him running so strong again. Congratulations to my friend, Heather Day, on being the overall female winner. The female masters winner was another good friend, Whitney Hollingsworth.
I ran a 1:05:18 which was good enough for 14th overall and 2nd in the 35-39 age group. I'll have to find races that Shane O'Neill doesn't run to get any more age group wins. I'd like to think that one day I can compete with him, but that day is a very long time in the future if it's ever even possible.
The First Half
After a nice two mile warm up with Jon Elmore, I came back to the starting area and did a couple of strides at race pace. I still felt yucky and not sure about this race.
In my typical fashion, I started too conservatively. My stomach just wasn't right to start this race and I didn't know what I was capable of. I know that Jon Elmore is ahead of me in fitness, but not by a ton. I thought I'd just get close to him and try to hang on. That lasted for about a half mile. He ran a 6:15 first mile!
After the turn around just past the 1 mile marker, I saw several friends heading out and we were cheering each other on. I don't really know why, but that helps a TON!
I ran the first 3 miles in 6:35, 6:37, and 6:38, and it felt surprisingly good. I'm a bit behind where I need to be, but 1:05 is on! Just make it up one mile at a time. I may be able to do this!
I was hearing footsteps behind me. They weren't getting closer or farther. At about 2.5 miles, I let him pass and tucked in close behind him. I learned it was Larry Dickerson whom I had met at the Black Warrior 50k. We were both just strolling along at a dead even 6:30 pace. At the aid station (Thanks to Troy Connealy for volunteering today. Thanks for the water and encouragement, Troy!) I grabbed water and passed him again. We would battle it out taking turns leading and holding nearly dead even 6:30 splits until about mile 7.
The Last Half
I walked at the second aid station near the 6 mile marker to take some Gatorade without getting sticky. Larry took advantage of this and put some space between us. I couldn't just let him go, so I picked up the pace to catch him and stayed right behind him, until just before mile 7.
I could tell by his breathing that he was working a little harder than I was, so I decided to make my move now instead of later. I passed by and held a 6:10 or so pace for a few hundred yards. When I no longer heard his footsteps, I dropped back to 6:30.
Up ahead, I could see Jon Elmore. He had told me that he wasn't ready to go all out today, so I was surprised by his fast start. I was even more surprised to see him now. I was watching him from behind, thinking that the guy who measures courses surely knows the shortest route! I passed by, running closer to a 6:25 pace now. We encouraged one another, and I saw another runner ahead that I had a chance to catch.
I caught him just after the 9 mile marker and we encouraged one another. For a few steps, he entertained the idea of not letting me go, but I was running about a 6:10 pace at that time. I was running that pace because when I hit the 9 mile mark, I knew that I had to run a near 6:00 mile to break 1:05. I was going to give it a go. Ultimately, I just didn't have that fast of a mile left in me, but I did run hard.
That last mile took me from comfortably hard to just hard. I did have just a bit too much left in the tank. However, I'm happy with the race. It's my first 10 mile, so some would say it's a PR. I didn't feel great and ran near my goal. I overcame the temptation to sit this one out and sleep in.
Big thanks to Fleet Feet Huntsville for sponsoring this race, and big thanks to all the volunteers who made it possible. It was a great run in great weather with great friends.
Splits for those who are still reading... They don't add up because they were auto-lapped on my watch. But it does give the general idea of how the race went: conservative start, even pace, and a fast finish for a negative split race.