Now We're Talking

Winter Park Road Race Report (10K)
The conditions were perfect this morning for a jog, a run or a race. I chose race. The sun was out and it was 49F with a slight breeze. 2,300 runners came for the 10K and 2M races in downtown Winter Park. I arrived early and found a nice parking place, pulled on my Army warm-ups and jogged proudly to the check-in to pick up my race packet. I visited with a handful of familiar people. I could feel the electricity that permeates a pre-race crowd. I was glad to be back. I crossed paths with a principal from one of our schools. He had his two daughters with him and "a friend" from the gym. He had a heart attack last summer and decided to get his body in better health so took on a fitness program that only an addict could love. He did a triathlon in California earlier this year and preaches exercise to everybody he meets.

I sauntered back to my car to pin on my number and shed the warm-ups. Back near the start I stood in a sunny spot to stay warm and visited with a county commissioner and then two young school age daughters of an old acquaintance who were about to run their first 10K. They asked me a few questions about running and I shared some advice on how to approach the race. While talking I looked down and saw two pennies on the road right in front of our feet. I pointed to them and said to the younger girl that they'd bring good luck. She picked them up and gave me one instead of sharing with her sister.

The start was a little crowded thanks to somebody's Lexus being on the street despite the temporary no parking signs. It wasn't a runner's car, I expect. A short block after the race start the course took a left turn that slowed everybody down. After that, getting around runners was relatively easy, thank goodness. I concentrated on short strides with moderately rapid turnover.
We made it out of the downtown area and into the ritzy residential streets within the first mile. At the marker, I was clocked at 8:24. I could live with that, I thought. I hadn't even bothered to review what my PR was, calculate a target pace or anything else. I just sorta showed up with low expectations. Not low in the sense of slow but more with a mindset that this was a recovery race.
I just stayed in my adopted pace zone through mile 2. I passed a number of rabbits who went out too fast and felt a thorough comfort with course. It happens to include a sizeable portion of my Sunday morning route. At mile 2 my watch said 8:07. Ooh. I had advised the young girls to divide the race into three two mile runs and sprint the last two-tenths; and not to go out too fast. Well, with 8:07 I realized I was about :30 off my 5K PR pace. I knew that number from memory. Was I ready for this kind of pace? I listened to my breathing. I flipped a mental switch to keep it even and below maximum.

The Mile 3 timer came up abruptly as we rounded a blind curve. I was cruising along with good leg turnover, finding that I did better to concentrate on using my left leg more forcefully as compared to dragging it along (as in Miami, miles 20-26). That worked. At Mile 3 the split was 8:04. Well. That was not too difficult. Could I do that again? I am halfway through, I thought. Caution, I remembered: Calm breathing. Rapid leg turnover. Use the left. Short stride.
We had a few short hills along the route. The ups were easier than the downs - after each one. After an up the next flat was a breeze. After a down the stride had to be readjusted and breathing re-regulated. We ran on a lot of brick streets too which I never mind but, in the race, I relished the streets that were asphalt. At Mile 4 the timekeeper yelled out the time and my split said 8:05. Woo hoo. Sweet.

Two miles to go and I fell in with a news anchor and her friend who were bopping along chatting a lot, talking about the hills of the Boston Marathon. I kept up with them through Mile 5 because it's a vulnerable mile in racing a 10K for me. I knew they'd keep me up. At the split I had covered the mile in 7:59.5. Now we're talking!

The news anchor's friend then spotted a turquoise shirt about 40 yards ahead of us and said to Wendy, "There's our target. We need to catch and pass her in the next mile." They gradually pulled away from me but I managed to draft along long enough to hold a decent pace, checking on my breathing, leg turnover and left leg contribution again. With less than a mile to go I let the rates go up a little. At Mile 6 my split read 8:05.

The last .2 down the main drag with music blaring, fans cheering and a few challengers nipping at my heels pushed me to close at an 8:00 pace.

Final time was 50:20 (8:06 pace)

I was very pleased with the effort. I though it might be a PR but couldn't remember. I grabbed a bottle of water, went to my car for a windbreaker and came back for the afterparty. I had a blast in Central Park snacking on bananas and bagels plus seeing my city commissioner neighbor, his associate (who tells me J. is a stalking reader of this blog. Hey J. how ya doing?); various runner pals I've known over the years; and two more principals* in the district who I did not know were runners. It is very heartening to now know four principals (out of 167) who are runners. Judging by the body types that work in my district building I was feeling like a freak of nature in that I am a runner. Finding more and more of them running out there around the county is exciting.
I came home after the race and looked up my PR. Dang. Last November when I was in peak peak condition I ran a 10K and 5K on the same day and the 10K time was a 49:47 PR. Oh well; this was the second best yet. I'm glad for that and for having felt the thrill of racing again. Now I need to get on the internet and find my next race.

* One of the two principals happens to be named Susan and she is very pretty like two RBF Susans I know. She even had her pet pekingese dog with her named Martini. Martini had on a pink sweater and green painted toe nails left over from St. Patrick's Day. Rowdy would have been hitting on her I think.


jeanne said...

Well done, David!

Rowdy said...

Never met a Martini I didn't like - Ruff!

susie said...

Way to go David. I thought of you while I was running today and managed a sub 9 just for you:) So glad you got along with the road so well. Onward.

Joe said...

David, nice race, nice report! It is so fascinating to think/listen as you go along, to figure what will work and what won't.

I like the left-leg analysis in particular. Hope that holds up as useful as you feel it over the next few days.

Fun to run in Army gear...I did the same in my race today and had a nice chat with a girl friend of a Navy pilot-in-training.

Rae said...

Great job on the race!! Welcome back to the racing world!

21st Century Mom said...

Great job! I think I need to learn a thing or two about turnover. I know nothing.

I was thinking about all of you runners as I gritted my teeth through my ride today. Write up is scheduled for Sunday.

strewth said...

Excellent race David - woo hoo. Almost a PB and it sounds like you had a ball!

Running Chick said...

woohooo david!! well executed race, especially since you planned it 'on the fly'!

Jon (was) in Michigan said...

Hey congrats on the race, David. Even if it wasn't a PR it was a damn nice time. Sounds like you were really humming along.

I need to run another 10K to find out what my real 10K PR is. I only did one a long time ago.