This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Run for the Oaks 2008

First off: I started this blog approximately one year ago, my first post about my run at Run for the Oaks last year. About one year ago is when I met Dori and enjoyed her birthday cake and made my PR at this race. Can you believe it?

This year I ran the 5K again. This is a great race which seems to attract a lot of people ready to enjoy a race season.

The route was new and for me, I enjoyed it to some degree. There is a comfort in the old race: I knew exactly where I was going and what to expect. But the other cool thing about not knowing is being surprised and NOT knowing what was ahead.

This race was a blur for me. I can't even describe the course. I felt bad that my cohorts were talking about the challenge of this race. I didn't see it since, well, I was in a fog running it.

It's not a good thing, mind you, to be in a fog. I was hoping to do at least 27 mn, but according to the gun time, I was at 27:30 (chip time was 26:55 -- not sure why this wouldn't be the official time...).

I arrived at the race, to pick up my packet and chip, approximately four minutes before the race started (it actually started a bit later, but not much...these races usually start a few minutes behind).

I didn't see $Bill, who I always look for when I know he's running. I wanted to give him big props for running this 5K, as he was shooting for a PR. I never saw him until I finished...

The race started s-l-o-w. As you can see from my chip time to the gun time, there was quite a lag between the two. I didn't think I was that far back!

I decided to follow a similar notion that "Mark" did for me last year, which was to spot someone to pace and to follow them. I found someone: a cute girl who appeared to be a "runner". She had great form and seemed to be confident about her pace (whatever that means...).

I tried to make myself not look obvious in my picking her as my pacer. But by mile one, when I heard we were at a 9:30 pace, then I thought: um, she's not as fast as I would want to pace.

Frankly, she was, as she sped up through the race -- I think she beat me because I don't recall ever passing her. I kept an eye on her for most of the race but lost interest in her bing my pacer at some point...mainly because she was going faster than a pace I wanted to run.

At close to two miles, I found a brisk pace that was faster than the first mile, but I started balking at the pace as it was making me feel uncomfortable. But lo and behold, someone ran up to me and said "Hey, don't you work at 'company foo'?' A fellow company foo employee. Great.

I thought he was starting to chat with me. He said something about what a great day for the race. I replied nicely but in my head I thought, please leave me alone. Don't you realize I'm running at an uncomfortable pace?????

He didn't talk any further and he seemed to be doing very well at the pace that seemed a bit brisk for me.

But, if you can believe it, I sped up even more. I was trapped in one of those border patrols where people are on all sides at a slower pace than one wants. So I picked up speed to get around them. When I did that, I noticed my fellow foo employee keeping up with me and at that point, I resolved myself to being his pace setter and felt pretty darn good about it. I felt good at the pace -- challenging but more than do-able -- and at this point, he was breathing pretty hard. YAY FOR ME!

So I decided to hang in there with him and we ran together for a good half mile or more. For those who don't run regularly, or maybe it's just me, this is a very intimate moment for a runner/me: allowing myself to run side-by-side with someone, with my patterned breathing and total concentration on keeping my pace. It's not something I am normally comfortable with and the fact that I allowed this guy to join me either shows I'm letting my guard down, or that I am maturing...

At some point, even though I let my pace slide back down, I lost him...he was really breathing hard and I knew this wasn't his normal pace. So, if you don't get what I'm saying, I lost him because I was going too fast for him :-).

After mile two, which apparently ended up being close to an 8:13 pace according to my foo co-worker's GPS watch (which I believe was really more an 8:30 pace), everything kind of blurred for me. I was looking for mile three, which I don't recall seing, and suddenly, I was at the end.

I wasn't totally disappointed with my time -- I just thought about the year before and how easy it felt to make my PR and this time, even though I didn't push myself, how hard I ran to get the time I got.

My 'easy' runs are done. I'm ready to challenge myself for another race. I'm eyeing another half for the end of the year and I'm sure I'll thrown in a few 5Ks for 'fun'.

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