I think it’s time for a reality check. I haven’t made any of the time goals I’ve set for myself for the past year and this year’s Charlottesville 10 Miler was no exception. I wanted to break 80 minutes. I’ve run a half marathon at that pace, so I thought I should be able to run 10 miles at that pace. I guess I need to face the fact that I’m just not as fast as I used to be. I’ve had to take a lot of time off in the last couple of years for injuries, and although I’ve finally been healthy enough to train fairly consistently for a few months, I’m still not back to where I was.
It was cold, wet and DARK when we arrived at the JPJ on race morning. I was happy that we could wait inside, and that we would not have to stand outside in the cold waiting for a port-a-john.
Just as Kurt and I stepped outside to do our warm-up, it started to rain. We did just a half mile warm up then went back inside to wait for the start.
It was still dark and raining even harder as we headed to the starting line.
I was getting wet, but I’ve been much colder waiting for a race to start. Other than the rain, it seemed like pretty good running weather.
There was no singing of the National Anthem and no gun to mark the start of the race. Or, at least, I didn’t hear anything. At some point everybody in front of me started running, so I did too.
My first mile was, by far, my slowest mile of the entire race. At 8:40, it was also pretty far from my 8:00 goal. My next few miles were faster, and I was feeling pretty good. I knew I still wasn’t at my goal pace, but I wasn’t confident enough to run the early miles any faster.
The hardest part of the race for me, was the uphill stretch on Main Street around the beginning of mile 9. Just as I was approaching the steepest part, I heard a guy behind me say “We’ve kept up an 8:20 pace from the start. Not bad for a couple of 36 year-olds.” Hmmmph. 8:20? That’s better than I thought I was doing. I had switched to my “B” goal, which was to set a PR. I’d set the bar very low with my 1:27:42/8:55 pace time back in 2008.
People around me were slowing down as we climbed the steep hill, and I found myself slowing with them. Just before I turned the corner to leave Main Street, I realized what I was doing and that I still had energy. I started to pick up the pace. I had to concentrate really hard to keep myself from slowing down again, but I was able to hold my pace to the finish.
My final time was 1:22:32/8:16 pace. A PR by more than 5 minutes, but almost 2 and a half minutes slower than my goal. It was still good enough to put me in the top quarter of all finishers and the top 10% of my age group.
The Charlottesville 10 Miler is such a huge tradition here in Charlottesville. I’m happy I was finally healthy enough to run it again this year.