2010 Summer of Love 10-Miler
Date: Saturday, July 17, 2010
TOD: 6 pm
Location: Wilmington, NC
Pace: 6:24 mpm
Place Age Group (45-49): 1
Kelly and Scott
Self-Portrait taken with iPhone 4
Paul, Jeff, and Kelly
Jeff and I traveled to Wilmington to run a race together, although Jeff ran the 5-miler and I, of course, chose the 10-miler. Jeff is a smart man. His childhood friend, Kelly, and her husband, Scott, ran the 10-miler, and this was also an opportunity for us to spend some time with them.
We drove through some torrential thunderstorms on our way to Wilmington. Driving through the storms, the outside temperature would drop to 75, but as soon as the sky cleared the temperature would rise to the low 90s. Ugh. When we arrived at the Wilmington Athletic Center, the location of the race finish and post-race party, it was very hot and very, very humid. I broke into a sweat just stepping outside of the car. I had planned on running a faster pace, but knew better than to attempt to do so in these conditions. It was the smartest thing I’ve done in a long, long time.
The 5- and 10-mile racers all started together at 6 pm. (The 10-mile racers had yellow bibs, but given that we all wore them on the front, it was difficult to know who was running which race. I did glance around me at the start to at least see who some of the 10-mile racers were.) Most of the race was run on Lakeshore Dr. I imagined this to be a paved trail around the lake, but it was a street road. Jeff informed me that the road was shaded, and that I wouldn’t need my sunglasses. It was not shaded, and I spent most of the race squinting.
A group of about 5 runners took off, and for the first mile I was in 6 place of all the runners. At about mile 2, and group of about 7 or 8 younger boys caught and passed me, and it appeared that they were all working together. A local high school XC team, perhaps? Just after they passed me, the eventual 10 place finisher caught and ran with me. He was already breathing hard, and he kept cutting me off. This pissed me off, so at mile 3 I surged and dropped him. He finished almost 4 minutes behind me. Karma.
I ran solo for a while, but could see many of the runners ahead of me. I just wasn’t feeling this race, though, and had a hard time motivating myself to run any harder and/or any faster. I didn’t even pay attention to my splits. I did tell myself to not overdo it since it was so damn hot and humid. I also reminded myself to lift my hamstrings, forward lean, and run the tangents.
As I approached the turnoff for the 5-mile finishers, I saw a man who I thought might be in my age group. He had gone out with the lead pack, but seemed to be fading. To ensure that we ran 10 miles, we ran up Yaupon Dr., took a u-turn, and then ran on Lakeshore Drive once again. It was only then that I could determine how many runners were racing the 10-miler. There were 7 runners in front of me, including the possible master (who I later determined was 32). I saw this as an opportunity to drop him. I caught him right at the u-turn, passed him, and surged down the slight downhill. I was now in 7 place. Just after passing the 6-mile mark, I caught another runner. I once again surged and dropped him. I was now in 6 place. The 2 runners in 4 and 5 place were running and working together, and was slowly catching up with them. My legs started to feel very heaving at mile 7, so I quickly consumed a Gu. This helped. As we approached mile 8, we once again (like mile 3) ran on the sidewalk beside Carolina Beach Rd. The 4 and 5 place runners looked back, saw me approaching, and one of them took off. I caught the 19-year-old, Charlie (we talked after the race) at about mile 8.5. He was struggling, so I said, “Run with me. Let’s work together to catch him.” Charlie picked up his pace, and did run with me for 100 meters or so. He then said, “Go get him, Tiger.” Ha! I was now in 5 place. I slowly reeled in the next guy, and surged as I passed him at mile 9.5. I was getting tired of surging! I was now in 4 place. I had the eventual 3 place finisher in my sights, but just ran out of road. He was 22, and finished just 11 seconds ahead of me.
The 1 place finisher, a 22 y.o. from Wilmington, finished in 1:00:30, a blazing pace considering the conditions. The 2 and 3 place finishers were 23 and 22, young whippersnappers.
While not my best race, I’m nonetheless pleased with my show of endurance. I’m also pleased that I ran smart, and made sure that I had enough in my to surge ahead of anyone I passed. It was also wise to carry my own fluids, even if my arms hurt after that morning’s grueling workout. My goal for any race is to not be passed. I sure do like passing, though!
There was quite a post-party spread, complete with wraps, pizza, veggies, salad, fruit, and cold beer. Keeping with the theme, awards were lava lamps.
Jeff had a good race, although he might disagree. He thought he shouldn’t have walked part of the race, and I think it was a wise decision.
It was very nice spending time with Kelly. Oh, and Scott, too. Ha!