Wow, it’s been over a month since my last post. I guess I didn’t feel as though I had anything big to post. I still don’t have anything big to report so I’ll throw a bunch of little things into this post.
On March 12th I ran the DINO Series 15k race at Eagle Creek. Conditions were very good this year. It was sunny and not too cold. There were a couple spots with mud, but no shoe sucking muck like last year. I had a pretty good run but finished about a minute slower than last year. Still managed to place 2nd in my age group.
The very next day, March 13th, I ran the Big Ten Hoops 5k. I didn’t expect to run very fast, but would give it my best shot. Fortunately I had a co-worker/friend there to run with me. He asked what I planned to run. I said I hoped to hit mile 1 in about 6:30 and then just try to hold that pace. He said he would try to keep up with me. At the mile 1 marker my watch said 6:15. Holy cow, that’s my PR pace. Can I hold that? The day after a 15k trail run? Just do what you can I told myself. I didn’t see the 2 mile sign. It was hidden under an overpass. I never looked back to see if my friend was still with me but with about a half mile to go he pulled up next to me and asked how I was doing. OK, I said. Now I have to keep pushing. We rounded a corner and could see the finish about a quarter mile away. Time to put the hammer down. He had a little more gas in his tank and finished about 4 seconds ahead of me. We covered the last tenth of a mile at a 5 minute/mile pace. Not bad. His time was 19:47, a PR for him and my time was 19:51, my second fastest 5k ever. Ok, maybe I’m not in as bad shape as I thought.
On Saturday March 26th I ran the Sam Costa Half Marathon. On Wednesday, 3 days before, I ran 12 miles on the Knobstone Trail with 4 friends. We ran from mile 0 to mile 6 and back. The trail is so rugged that it took 3 hours to complete the run. With those 12 miles on Wednesday, I ran 63 miles in that 7 day period, including 17.5 on Saturday and 16 on Sunday. That’s the most I’ve ever run in a 7 day stretch. So to say I went into the Costa with no taper is an understatement. That’s ok, I wasn’t really trying to prove anything this year, just have a good training run and see where I am, hopefully finish under 1:35. My strategy was to run the first mile in about 7 minutes and then see what happens. At mile 1 my watch said 7:02, not bad. Mile 2, 7:02, good. Those would be my fastest miles of the day. From mile 3 to mile 8 I ranged from 7:13 to 7:17. I was simply trying to hang on until I could start to push the pace for the last 5k. Couldn’t wait so I tried to pick up the pace in mile 9. Mile 9 and 10, 7:11, mile 11, 7:07, mile 12 7:10, mile 13, up hill, 7:14. Didn’t pick up the pace as much as I was hoping to, but I’m happy with my effort. My average pace for the first 7 miles was 7:11 and my pace for the whole race was 7:11. Time 1:34:02, about three and a half minutes slower than last year’s PR pace, but my second fastest half ever. I can’t complain.
I’m just thankful I didn’t choke to death during the race. Right after the last water stop, I tried to take an enduralyte capsule. Dumb, dumb, dumb. The capsule got stuck in my throat. I was able to cough it up, but rather than just let it dissolve in my mouth I decided to try to swallow it again. Dumber, dumber, dumber. This time it was really stuck. OK, I’m still breathing, good. Now I’m just praying this thing doesn’t drop into my lung. I think I might make it. Then I could tell the capsule had finally dissolved. Fortunately, I coughed out rather than suck air in. When I coughed a big white puff of electrolytes flew out of my mouth. I don’t think anyone saw this. I can’t imagine what anyone might have thought had they seen it. All that salt and potassium in the lungs probably wouldn’t have been fatal, but probably wouldn’t have been pleasant either.
I like to have a mantra to focus on while running races. During my warm up run for Costa I was praying and said whatever happens I just hope that God is glorified. Then the chorus and bridge for “Glory to God” popped into my head. So those became my mantra.