Monday, May 22, 2006

Run 'til it hurts. Then run some more.

I ran the Capitol Hill Classic 3K yesterday. It wasn't pretty. I threw a party on Saturday, and I was tired (and a teensy bit hung-over) from planning and preparing it. And then there was all the champagne punch I drank and the chorizo sausages and cream-cheese brownies I ate. Plus, the last guest didn't leave until after midnight.

So I took the race lightly.
I didn't really expect that I was going to finish in my goal time (according to McMillan's running calculator) of 13:28 (7:14/mile pace). So why not carouse until the wee hours?

But I'm not the kind of person to do things half-ass (well, at least not usually). So after the race ... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Here's the race report: The 3K race began at 9:45 am, after the race's signature 10K at 8:30 am. It was in the mid-70's by 9:30 am, and I found my team mates (I ran on a 5-person team) just before we started. The front of the start line was packed with elementary and middle-school kids (the race benefited a local school). The race director saw the kids jostling for position and the dozens of bemused and slightly frustrated adults standing behind them.

Shaking his head, he got on a megaphone and told the kids to move back. Which they did. Slightly. The fast adults and I took our places at the front (well, I can dream, can't I?!). My teammate, P., told me the race route, which I promptly forgot.

Then the gun sounded. A lot of the kids surged ahead, but fell back in the first quarter-mile. P. ran ahead, but I kept him in sight. Teammate A., who is a blonde 6'2" Viking of a woman, was struggling behind me, as she had just finished the 10K portion of the race (48:08).

I felt okay but not 100 percent. My throat was raspy and I didn't know what pace I was running.
There were less than 300 of us in the race, so it felt almost as if I was running by myself, on wide empty streets. There were some spectators, but not many. They cheered on the kids.

Three lanky 12-13 year-old boys (one of whom was bigger than me) who shot out in front kept looking behind them. At me and A. Then one of them fell back in the first mile. As I passed him, I heard him labor for breath. Then A. dug deep and picked up the pace, passing me.

After about a mile and a half, I overtook A. "Come on," I said to her. "Let's run this in." She shook her head and said, "Go ahead, go for it."

I overtook the second kid by just running a steady pace. With about a quarter-mile to go, I should have kicked it in as hard as I could. Especially when I saw the second kid pass me. But I didn't.

Oh, I ran faster. Believe me, my lungs were tight and my throat felt like hell. But I didn't go absolutely all out as I should have.

Finish: I crossed the finishing mats in 13:41, or a 7:21/mile pace. The two kids in front of me finished 10 seconds faster. Damn tweenies. A. finished 4 seconds behind me, and the third kid, who was behind all of us, caught up and kicked like hell at the end, tying with A. Teammate P. finished 25 seconds in front of me, at 13:21 (7:10/mile pace).

Afterwards, I knew that because I didn't take the race seriously, I ran 5-10 seconds slower than I could've. Not that I'm competitive or anything.

Burying the lede: But perhaps the lady doth protest too much. Because despite my iffy race tactics, I placed 3rd overall among women, and 1st in my age group. There were 274 people in the race, and I placed 24th amongst both men and women.

More good news: Also, P. got 1st in his age group, as did A. and another team member, M., placed 2nd in his age group. I'm not sure how our team placed overall, but I think it was towards the top ....


  1. Awsome result. Just imagine what you could have achieved if you hadn't gone into the race with a hangover (to the very least, you would have got the better of those kids)

  2. Whoa! Nice race - and on a hangover. Congratulations.

  3. Great race! thanks for stopping by. And I also hate those high cost big city marathons. Join the dark side of trail ultras - you get more miles (and sometimes many more miles if you get lost) per dollar:)

  4. Holy crap. As I said, it's ONLY A MATTER OF TIME, until you are breaking that tape, girl. No more late nights and not-taking-races seriously for you! Now, let's see who can be the (Big) Dictator.

  5. You are one amazing runner, Bex. Way to go.

  6. Great job on the race!! That's awesome.

  7. Wow! First in age group; that's great! And you had a student in the 50-59 age group run a 10K in under an hour? Will you move to Minneapolis and coach me! :-)

  8. WOW - how fast is that! You are so fast for a girl in a skirt! : )