Race number 8 (6th 2010 marathon-qualifying race) was the Race for the Parks 4-miler.
Goals: to run between water stations and to finish in 38 - 40 minutes, with every mile run in under 10 minutes.
This was my first race since the marathon and I was still getting back into training, so I wanted to take it a little easy today. It’s also taken longer than I expected to adjust my breathing. After the first couple of days at sea, I had no asthma symptoms at all (except during the marathon). I got to the race early enough to warm up, but squandered my time wandering around the festival and not winning anything at the American Airlines booth (I mistakenly thought that if my spin landed on a place name, I’d get a ticket to that place – I was sorely disappointed).
My warm-up was the quick jog from the baggage tent to the start. I lined up, stretched a bit and waited for the gun. We did our usual stop/start/bottleneck thing and I was able to settle into a good, comfortable place shortly after the start. I wanted to keep it to a comfortable, but hard pace. I ran all the way up Cat Hill, saluting as I passed, and started looking for the first water station. Where I expected it to be, there was just a pile of table parts and a stack of garbage cans (the fire-hydrant water is stored in plastic-bag lined garbage cans), but no volunteers and no water. I assumed that the water would be on the 102nd St. Transverse instead and talked myself into running all the way to the Transverse, so I could hit my first goal. It wasn’t until I had crossed the Transverse and was running up and down the rolling downhills of the west side that I started worrying. I usually take a walk break every mile or 2 at the water stations, but now, I hadn’t been able to stop at all. I wasn’t sure there would be a water station until the finish and was feeling breathless and tired, so I gave up and stopped to walk. I used my inhaler and tried to keep up a fast walking pace. Shortly after I started running again, I heard a volunteer say that the water station was around the corner. It was, in the usual place, so my 3rd mile felt much slower, with the 2 walk-breaks. I tried to pick it up for the last mile, but I’d blown it by missing that first walk break. In the end, though I missed the first goal, I beat my low-end goal by nearly a minute without feeling like I was running too hard!
Official stats: my official time was 37:05, for an average pace of 9:16. My splits were 9:23, 8:57, 9:52 and 8:58. I was 3357 out of 5739 total runners, putting me in the 42nd percentile. It was 45°F with 56% humidity.
Celebratory treats: After Charlotte’s 3rd place win in the 2-year-olds’ race, Andrea, Brady, Charlotte and I headed over to Whole Foods for a mini chocolate tasting.
Next up: Run-as-One 4-miler (4/19).
Race pictures are available here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7411850@N04/sets/72157616405900630/.
Mast Chocolate Factory pictures are available here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7411850@N04/sets/72157616265192501/.