Soon the race began and we were off. I, as expected, pretty much blew my race strategy early by going 6:40 for mile 4, and then backing way off with a 7:21 for mile 5. At mile ten I wanted to be 1:10:50. I was 1:11:10. And I was happy with that considering over 6 of the first ten miles were into a wind that was steadily gaining momentum. From there on out, I didn’t look at my watch again. I was running on feel and I was feeling good.
Between miles 16-20 the runners headed directly into an even stronger headwind as we ran through the MSU farms. And this part of the race really wiped me out. Several times I was actually blown back or off to the side during this stretch. I could tell I was working hard keep my pace. By the time I got to mile 22, I knew the extra energy expended during those several miles into the wind (reaching over 20mph) were starting to take their toll. The last four miles felt rough. I held on pretty well, but I could tell I was slowing down.
Still, I never stopped and felt I pretty sure I was on pace for a PR. So…how did I do? First, one quick caveat; there are some good things about getting older. Like…your BQ qualification time jumps 5 minutes. Or stays where it was a year ago. And so, I’m happy to say I accomplished two of my three goals, I got a PR and a BQ. A 3:08:xx. I was a little shy of my ‘sneak in under 3:05’ goal. After the race I checked my watch and saw I was on pace through 22 miles, but the last four, including several parts into an even stronger wind plus some natural fatigue were too much to maintain that sub 3:05:00 goal. Who cares, I’m still very very excited.
A few last things. On Saturday, after the expo, Lam, the Redhead, and I did a little motivational chalking on the course. You can check out some of our witty remarks. We even left little love notes just in case this guy decided to cheer on his fellow runners.
(You get what you vote for)
On race day I was very grateful to see several friends cheering me on…including the legendary Nitmos. My sister Gunior and the Redhead were right at mile 26 to give me some final inspiration—which was extremely needed. Check out these awesome signs. Also, a special thanks goes out to Neophyte who ran the half and was there to help stabilize me after the race.
It was also a good day for the Redhead who not only got a PR but was the first female finisher in the 5K! Check out her amazing story.
I was sad to discover that Lam was unable to overcome his foot injury suffered a few days before his travels out here. He made the difficult but smart decision to DNF after courageously toeing the line and setting a great pace. Having had to make a similar decision myself before, I understand how he feels. I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with Lam. He shares a similar outlook on approaches and perspectives to running, and I’m am hopeful he will get his foot better soon and return to Michigan to visit us again!
My left foot has four blisters, one of which is rather large, while my right foot has one huge blister—not to mention a few other running related minimal but somewhat uncomfortable ailments. I used socks I had worn several times before and the same shoes I had used on all of my long runs. Still, by mile 15 I just had to admit to myself that I was going to be the proud owner of some painful blisters after the race. Later Sunday I was reflecting upon the sensation of running and knowing you are forming blisters. I think it goes something like this: Foot uncomfortable. Forget about it for a bit. Foot hurts and you are positive you have blisters. Forget about it. Pain returns and you wonder how you amazingly forget about it just a few moments ago. Forget about it once more. Pain back again and resumption of wondering how you ever managed to forget about it. Repeat until race is finished. Oh the joy of running.