We run to undo the damage we’ve done to body and spirit. We run to find some part of ourselves yet undiscovered. ~ John “The Penguin” Bingham
00:39:16, 17th overall, 4th in age group, PR
Cold weather finally came to Denver just in time for the annual Rudolph’s Revenge race. I opted to run the 10K event and hoped to put in a solid effort. My training hasn’t been completely up to snuff these past few weeks with numerous distractions and short days conspiring to keep me from putting in the miles I would normally like but I lined up with 600-odd other runner geeks to give it a whirl.
I made my way to the head of the queue to be sure to get out with the fast guys and targeted a sub-40-minute finish to wrap up what has been a stellar year of running and racing. After wishing a friend good luck (knowing I would be chasing him all day) I bounced around a little before the start, stripped off the garbage bag I was wearing to stay warm and we were off!
The first 100 meters of the run featured a very steep downhill into a tight bridge/right-hand turn and people were a bit all over the place jockeying for position and attempting to keep from getting clipped by the handrail. After this obstacle, however, the race merged with a bike path and headed north along the Platte river. I felt I was in a decent position as things shook out but quickly discovered the group with which I was running was going more slowly than I needed to achieve my sub-40 time, so I bridged up to the next group and settled in. After a minute or so, they slowed as well and so the first couple of miles was filled with little surges. I’d catch a couple people, they’d slow up, I’d bridge up to another group. This, as you might imagine, was a bit frustrating.
After about mile 2, I was stuck in no-man’s land for most of the remainder of the race and so had to rely on my own pacing to get me through. I didn’t feel terrific, by any means, but did manage to keep moving at a fairly steady until my right Achilles tendon started hurting as I crossed a bridge at about mile 3.5. One step it was fine and the next, not so much. Not sure what happened there but I just backed off the pace a smidge and soldiered on.
I must admit, it was pretty exciting to actually be at least within sight of the leaders of the race. I kept trying to haul people in during the last half but my Achilles problems weren’t really letting me move as quickly as I wanted so I just focused on retaining a semblance of good form and finishing strongly. With about 3/4 of a mile to go, I kicked as much as I was able and nearly caught the closest competitor in front of me in the steep uphill in the last 100 meters. I finished up in 39:16 and felt quite happy with that result. I realized after the race that I had run one previous 10K event in college and seem to recall finishing that one in about 45 minutes. So I’ll proudly take the new PR!
I have about 39 miles left to complete my final goal of the year – run 2,500 miles. Honestly, I have probably eclipsed this mark already as my Garmin usually reads a little short but to keep it honest, I am only counting verifiable mileage. So if I have a decent week, this goal could be reached in the next 7 days. If it is a bit thin (which it probably will be given my desire to get some skiing done and the Holidays), the mark may be passed in the last week of the year. In either event, I’ll keep you posted and shoot me a note if you want to join me during my 2,500th-mile run!