This past weekend was the 2008 Calhoun’s 10 miler, the first in the Long Distance Series with the Knoxville Track Club. This was the 16th Running (I think) of the race and the 5th time that I had run it. It coincides nicely with a Spring Marathon since in a couple of weeks, there is the Strawplains Half Marathon.
Since this is a race that I know I am going to do in advance, I do two things. Pre-Register my entry form and sign up to volunteer for pre-race activities. The race is normally $15, but if I pre-register as a Knoxville Track Club member, I can take $3 off and if I go with a “no shirt” option, I can take $5 more off, making this race only $7. A real bargain.
My volunteer duties was with Registration. I would either help with Day of Race or Pre-Registered entries. I actually was a gopher for a while. There was a problem with the numbering. The person who does the preregistration showed up a little late and so the numbers were being issued for the day of race registration. This cause about 15 or so people to have the wrong bib and that had to be adjusted. I was able to help out with resolving this problem. I didn’t do anything fancy but it was nice to help.
Since I wasn’t running this race competitively (against the clock), I opted to stay at the Table until the very last moment. I had even decided that I would just stop off by my car in the first 1/4 mile to get the rest of my racing attire (hat & gloves) then to run out to the car and run back before the gun went off.
We had the national Anthem and the gun went off. I started towards the back knowing that I would be going to my car just moseying along. It was kind of nice. I wandered over to my car, not rushing, I got my hat and gloves and power gels and Clif Bloks. When I made my way back onto the course, I realized that I was the very LAST person. There was no one behind me and only a very slow jogger ahead of me. It was kind of a surreal experience knowing that I was the very last person. I knew that this was going to be short lived, but I kind of took it all in to try to gain perspective.
Once, I got situated I sped up some and started to easily pass the back of the packers. The Calhoun’s course is known for a leg buster of a hill going in the first (and again at the ninth) mile. It’s funny that a mausoleum and a grave yard is at the crest of the hill (I guess so the zombies have a good view). But it’s not that it’s up and then evens out or a slight down hill. It’s UP and the DOWN! So on the way back, it’s UP and DOWN again. And the hill is steep, both ways (up hill without shoes… in the snow… and we liked it!).
Mile 1: 10:40 with the trip to the car and big uphill
Mile 2: 8:52 with the big downhill and starting to find my comfortable pace
Mile 3: 9:17 thats more like it
Mile 4: 9:25
At this point, the non-competitive stance on the race that I had is beginning to wear off. I am starting to think that perhaps, I could speed things up. Of course, I hadn’t run this distance in a while and wasn’t really conditioned for this speed.
Mile 5: 9:06
Mile 6: 9:18
Mile 7: 9:16
I’m hitting a nice groove here. Coinicidentally, it’s the same pace that I was training at for my marathon last fall, so I think my body was recognizing this as “comfortable”
Mile 8: 9:18
Mile 9: 10:05 This has most of the big hill on the return trip
The last 3/4 mile is very flat by East Tennessee standards. Although around mile 6, I was beginning to be plagued with some gastro-intestinal problems (details I’ll omit) and I had my chance to visit a porta-potty at the 1/2 mile mark. I decided to hold it and just make do (and not doo-doo… HAHAHA!). I’ve run this course 4 other times, so I knew how to handle the finish line. Once I was near the 1/3 mile to go mark, I started to pick up speed and then at the end just let everything go Full Throttle.
Mile 10: 8:21
I finished in 1:33:50 which was less than the 1:35:00 time I told My Lovely and Talented Wife was the time I was shooting for.
Funny thing was about this race is that I was fine on Saturday, a little sore on Sunday and Monday before the whole stomach virus thing, I was REALLY sore. When I ran the Chickamauga Marathon last November, I was a little stiff but never sore at all. I took no pain medication after the marathon. Very strange, but a good example on how conditioning can really make a difference both in performance AND recovery.