Outback was a Loop

Pre Race. Most races are first thing in the morning but not Saturday's. The Outback Distance Classic serves up a steak and chicken dinner afterwards which most folks prefer in the afternoon. So I slept in. When I got up I sat down and did a timeline for the day so that I could get all my chores and errands done and not end up arriving at the race late. That turned out to be very useful. Saturday's have a habit of getting away from me.
I drove downtown and parked in Thornton Park an hour before the 300 race. I picked up my packet and looked up Rachel's number so that I might know her if I saw her. I needed to jog out a lot of soreness and stiffness so ran off in different directions to do just that. It was a revitalizing warm up. Then I watched the 3Kers finish their race and scanned the 12K crowd for purple Team in Training singlets. I asked a group of 6 purple topped gals if they knew Rachel ... no they didn't. Onward. Then I saw #437 stretching with a friend. A tentative introduction and Rachel and I had met. We compared goal times for the race and I imagined we'd be close with an edge to the younger and harder running Rachel.
The Race. I did one last warm up down the first 300 yards of the race and came back to the start line where all the fasties strut and stretch. I worked my way through the crowd until I found more "athletes" like me and stood still to relax and anticipate. A jazz trumpeter played the national anthem with a lot of feeling in it and everybody applauded appreciatively. There's the gun and we're off. My first mile started unevenly as I tried to find a proper pace for the 12K which is not easy. It's not a 10K but it should be faster than a 15K. And this race day was about 70 degrees and humid so I expected it would sap me if I went too fast.
Mile 1 - 8:53.4. Oh oh. That was almost 30 seconds faster than my 15K first mile at Gasparilla. Okay I'll slow it down a little.
Mile 2 - 8:48.1. You dope. Now you're screwed. Wait. There's Rachel about 30 yards ahead. I'll try and pace along behind her. Skip the water.
Mile 3 - 8:47.5. Well, you better hope you have some stamina buddy. Rachel's still 30 yards ahead.
Mile 4 - 8:44.1. Gotta pop some Gu and drink some water. The humidity's creeping in. The occasional breeze is great for cooling off when I can find it but there are too many secluded neighborhood streets out here. Rachel's moved ahead and running with a national sports announcer from Fox Sports (she doesn't know that, of course). I'm 50 yards behind.
Mile 5 - 9:02.3. We're weaving through brick street lakes and homes. I'm weaving and looking for more water to wash down the Gu.
Mile 6 - 9:14.3. Well so much for negative splits. So much for catching Rachel. So much for going out fast! Dang.
Mile 7 - 9:38.3. Where's the ambulance? Who put that hill there? This is Florida. Where'd the hill come from?
.4 mile - 4:11.8. I think I left a wheel back there. I thought I was bringing it in fairly well but alas, I rolled over the line in 1:07.20.
On the Bright Side. My time was almost 3 minutes faster than last year. That's remarkable. 24 seconds a mile more remarkable. There were 1122 runners in the race and, after I grabbed a bottle of water, I walked off the knot in my hip down towards the start line and, to my surprise, there was Rachel walking as well, with her fellow professor at the local college who came to run with her. We compared race notes which were much the same: went out too fast; tried to run easily but competitive juices took over, very humid, etc. We shared some get to know you conversation and went our separate ways to indulge in the chow and beer. Mmmm. Never mind that Mrs. Thin Trade had arranged a dinner party later in the evening I was not going to be denied my carbo reload and protein charged Outback Restaurant fiesta. I mean, that's why I signed up! I caught up with Paul Kennedy, the sports announcer that ran alongside Rachel, and his boss next to the beer stand. We coifed several frosties and enjoyed the race day camraderie. Another race day is complete and my 3-race series is over too. It was a 9 week run: 5K,15K and 12K. Now what? After a two-week layoff I'll be ready to go again. Let's see what offerings are in today's race envelope?
Later. I was creaking like nobody's business when I got home. I crashed on the bed for 20 minutes waiting for the dinner guests to arrive. I must say though, I did a masterful job of grilling the salmon for dinner. I certainly ate well today and there was lots of chocolate after dinner to chase down the fresh berries and cream.
Much later. Sunday morning I had my first ever MRI. Quite cool. I think I know where techno rock was born: a bunch of MRI technicians thought it up using the thumping beat of their machinery as starter material. I'm hoping the pictures show I do not have a rotator cuff tear and that basic PT will fix it up.


susie said...

Three great races for you, David. Congratulations. I didn't think you would be able to resist a little competition! Congratulations, also, on cutting your time by three minutes. A job well done. Hope the MRI comes with good news.

Jon (was) in Michigan said...

Great race, David! I love the mile by mile recap. And who the heck puts a hill at the end of a race? I need to go to a race where I know people. Sounds like you had a fun time.

mid-pack mom/kirsten said...

Fun to meet a fellow blogger. Sometime I hope to meet some folks that I've been writing to as well.

Sounds like you did very well in your race.

Rachel said...

Hey David! It was great to meet you, and I'm glad you had a good race. I loved the mile-to-mile recap. I have a hard time keeping track of what's going on mile to mile except whether there's a water stop coming up. In addition to humidity, those brick roads sure seemed jarring... I hope your MRI went well and that you don't have any injuries-- hopefully the back pain will go away soon.

Frolicking filly said...

Awesome Job David, really enjoyed reading about your race!Congrats and Good luck with your MRI

beverly said...

Fantastic race report to read! Congratulations on a job well done.