Huge sigh of relief: Virginia voters have picked the state's new
governor. Virginia Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine earlier tonight gave his
victory speech over rival Jerry Kilgore, who ran an incredibly
ugly campaign. All right. On to the real news.
Veteran's Day 10K: Two friends and E. joined me in the race. He
ran faster than me last year, so I wanted to keep within sight
of him this year. By the way, the Vet's Day 10k in 2004 was my
first 10k, and I ran it hung-over and sleep-deprived. It got
pretty ugly at the end. It took me about 55:20 to finish then.
The beginning: This year, I almost missed the start of the race,
which was on an out-and-back loop on Haines Point (also part of
the Marine Corps Marathon) because it was nigh to impossible to
find a parking place near the monuments. So I didn't get a chance
to warm up.
At the start, I tried to keep from being knocked over by much
larger runners, and ran near the left edge of the road. I ran
mile 1 in about 8:13. Within a few minutes, I could feel my chip
digging into the top of my foot. It stabbed me every time my right
foot hit pavement.
But I didn't stop to adjust it. E. was about 30 feet in front of
me. And I was gaining. At mile 1.75, I passed him.
The middle miles: I counted the spectators on one hand. It was
lonely out there. Battling a headwind, I started accelerating a
bit before mile 3. As we rounded the corner on the turnaround,
I got stuck between two guys as a bunch of us (all men except
for me) hugged the inside of the curve. The guy on my left was
20-something and preppy. Could work on the Hill. The guy on my
right was white, middle-aged, wearing a red headband, and was
listening to his iPod.
a.k.a. Flat Stanley: All of us were too close to each other. We
went around that corner as a unit, one wall of sweaty human flesh.
I had to thrust my right shoulder forward and my left shoulder back
- my body was now almost diagonal - to prevent them from knocking
their elbows into my jugular or body-slamming me.
I also desperately tried to avoid inadvertently swinging my right
arm into the kidneys of iPod dude: I held up my arm in a right
angle, and for just a second accidentally lightly touched his
back. I had no other place to put it. It was that, or full body
That did not sit well with him. He kept close to me for about 20
seconds, breathing hard, his face grim. Alarmed (I hate heavy
breathers - they make me feel exhausted), I pulled away from him.
The later miles: By mile 4, I was doing an average 8:03 pace.
Several times, I saw a shadow looming over me, and I thought it
was E. sneaking up on me. I glanced over my shoulder. It wasn't
him, thank god.(He'd been joking before the race that he was
going to leave me in the dust.) If it was, I would have
probably (and irrationally) started surging way too soon.
Not that I'm competitive or anything.
At mile 5, I wanted to speed up, but then I remembered bonking
last year at this stage. I remembered trying (and barely
succeeding) to keep down the two pomegranate margaritas I
drank the night before. So I held off and kept the pace steady.
The end: I finally surged at the last .2 mile marker. I vaguely
remember the crowd cheering and Jeanne, who was nice enough to get
up early on a Sunday morning and watch us race,calling my name as
I crossed the finish line. Then I heard the announcer over the PA
system congratulate me as well. That's a first.
PR: Earlier, I had said that I would be happy if I finished in
under 52:00, and ecstatic if I did so between 51:00 and 51:30. Well,
I surprised myself: I finished in 50:11 (8:04/mile avg), a personal
record (tiny hop of glee). That's fast for me. I even had a tiny bit of
gas left in the tank.
Afterwards, I looked down and saw that my chip had made a small
cut at the top of my right foot and that the cut had bled through
my sock. Huh. I don't remember it hurting after mile 2.
E. finished in about 51:20 (8:16/mile avg), and my friend, A.,
and blogger friend Noames finished, respectively, in about 53:30
(8:37/mile avg) and 55:44 (8:59/mile avg). Everyone PR'ed here.
More to come ...