And then it was time for the grown ups. And what a perfect day for a race. The temperature was about 60f at race start, and there was virtually no wind. The sun was out without beating down on the racers.With an estimated run time of 41:30, I received the blue bib for the second preferred start corral. While a sub-42 run warrants a green bib for the first preferred start corral, that is something that must be earned. My previous best of 44:54 fell short of that mark. I positioned myself near the front of the corral and planned on 5 minutes of easier running to get out of the mess at the start of the race. After that, the plan was 5 minutes at lactate threshhold followed by 3 minutes of active recovery. That would be repeated until the end of the race. Done properly, I would be on a final LT run on the final 5 minutes before the 42 minute cutoff. If I fell apart, I would be able to ease up.
I hit the first mile and was a bit concerned. Seven minutes was well over my target pace of 6:50 maximum. Trusting my plan, I fell into a rhythm of 5 minutes hard, 3 minutes active recovery. I missed the second marker, and was pleased when I hit mile three at 19:51. The preliminary results show I crossed the 5K mark at 20:36.
The next two miles were increasingly more challenging as the LT intervals became tougher to maintain and the recovery intervals seemed to do little by way of "recovery."
I hit mile five in 33:24 and knew it was going to be close. Mile six seemed elusive, and I felt it would never arrive, though in all reality, it was a very good mile at 6:46 pace. I crossed that marker at 40:10 and started trying to do math in my head. I had a minute and 45 seconds to cover 0.2 miles. I was sprinting at this point, and never finished the calculations. I stopped looking at my heart rate, and just put out everything my legs had left. Crossing the finish line at 42:01 would be a heart breaker. Note the little kid in the next picture. He dogged me the entire race. I didn't know whether to shake his hand for a great race, or trip him.
Sprinting the final few hundred yards, looking at the clock counting up, doing math in my head was fun. I knew I had a bit of extra time for the difference between clock and chip time, but no idea how much. My goal, get across the finish line before CLOCK time showed 42 minutes. That's the cause of the blur in the pictures. I was moving so fast Mrs. Pol couldn't get me in focus (or, she was in a bad position and barely got the pictures taken).
In the end, the plan paid was a huge success. My final time was 41:22. Eight seconds off my target. Fast enough to qualify for a green bib and the first corral, next year. A PR by more than 3:30 over a 10K course. And a huge boost to the confidence in race plans. I owe a great deal of thanks to Coach Mike, as it was one of his training runs that was used for the race plan. I have had several workouts comprised of the 5' LT/3' AR sets, and doing those showed me that a sub-42 10K was possible. Now, it's on to the High Cliff 70.3 race!
Finally, a "before" shot, just to show off the race jersey I was wearing. Note the cool logo and disregard the bulging belly.