2008 Resolution Run Recap
Happy New Year!
Mine started much as it has the past several years – with the dogs barking at fireworks 10 minutes before the stroke of midnight. Fortunately they calmed down (the dogs and the fireworks) by 12:10 am and I went back to sleep.
At noon today, I gathered with roughly 1000 fellow, dedicated runners to kick off the new year with a 1 mile, 5k, or 10k run. This is an Atlanta Track Club no-frills race. You show up, pay $5, get a t-shirt, and run. The location moves around the city every few years based on who is running the race. This was the 2nd year in a row that it was out off Barrett Pkwy, very close to I-75. The 10k course is a 2 loop affair, with roughly half of each lap containing an out-and-back portion in the middle.
It was a mostly sunny day. A cold day (39 degrees fahrenheit). A windy day (gusts to 20 mph). A day on which I would try to turn in my first sub 50 minute 10k. The first 5k was a quick 23:40. I did the math in my head and figured I could run as slow as 8:40 per mile and still be under 50 minutes. Not that I wanted to slow down, but I just needed to know what my target was.
This is where things started to go downhill. Turning left 1/4 mile into the second lap I was greeted with a stiff headwind. The wind was here when I came through earlier, but I was in a pack and mostly protected from it. With the 5k runners finishing I sort of ended up in no-man’s land. I looked at my HRM and checked in with my body and just tried to keep a consistent amount of effort and not be too concerned about pace, much like on the bike you’d look at a power meter rather than miles per hour.
When I hit the 5 mile mark, the time keeper there yelled out “40 even”. I said a choice four-letter word under my breath. I had given away time out there. I was 1 minute behind where I wanted to be and I had to run an even 8 minute pace with a 1/4 mile uphill at the finish. So I picked my lines carefully, staying on the proper side of the cones but running through the apex of the turns so as not to run any further than I had to.
I hit the final hill and got really cold. This stretch was in the shade and the wind was removing sweat from me VERY EFFICIENTLY. I turned left and saw the 6 mile mark. 48 minutes and some change. Can’t slow now. Need to dig deep and motor. I told myself “DO NOT GIVE THIS AWAY”. As I crested the hill, I could see the finish line. The clock read 49:42. Another gear kicked in from somewhere. Maybe it was a tail-wind. I don’t know, all I know is I felt like I was in a sprint.
As I crossed the line, the clock ticked to 49:59 and a second later the time guy said “50 flat”. But that was for the guy behind me. I was in. 49:59. I had joked with friends over the last couple of weeks about my goal time. They all knew I wanted to go sub 50 to get in time group 1A for the Peacthree, but kept prodding me for one of my famous time predictions. I told them “All I know is that if I hit 49:59 I’d be ecstatic.”
I am ecstatic.
Next year I’m going to predict 35 minutes and see how that works out for me.
Happy New Year! May all your dreams for this year come true. My first one just did!