I had a hunch I'd run well. Part of me thought I'd PR, but my gut said I'd run 31:10-31:20, which would have been adequate given my current fitness. Secretly, however, I wanted to threaten my personal best of 30:56, which I ran on this same course back in 2010. That season, I had already run 14:46, 14:48 (road), 24:46 and 50:56, so running a PR todayt certainly would have been a solid feat since I am nowhere near any of those marks. In fact, the more I thought about it the more I realized how hard it would be. Regardless, I was confident and sometimes confidence is key. The goal was to run 10:00 for the first two miles and then see how I felt. I shared my race plan with Joe Wiegner, who is in the midst of a track season, and Jerry Greenlaw, who has been with me every step of the way this season.
The race started just a couple minutes late and soon 2,500 runners began making their way towards Rockville Pike. I got a terrible start, but I soon found my stride. I checked my GPS ad nauseum during the first half mile, because, having run this race countless times, I knew that going out too hard would impair me later on. After a quarter mile, I found myself in 50th place, behind a handful of women and some teammates. I kept calm as Wiggy and Outlaw moved away from me. Despite every best effort to go out slow, I still hit the half mile in 2:25. I rolled my eyes, lifted my head and snaked through the crowd in an effort to find some open road.
The Outlaw was going for it. I shook my head and drove my arms forward. Wiggy was running like a stallion on quaaludes between us. I hit the mile in 4:55 - a tad fast - but quite comfortable. Dusty Meeker, from Falls Road, was alongside me by now, as was someone named Graham who was donning a Virginia Tech singlet. We worked together to shake the massive chase pack and go after Wiggy, Outlaw et al. I ran mile 2 in 4:54 (9:49) and mile 3 in 4:54 (14:43) and hit 5k in about 15:13, which is the fastest I've run 3.1 miles since 2010. I was certainly *feeling it*, but I knew my endurance was strong and, better yet, that I'd have a great day...IF I could keep it going. Dusty, Virginia Tech and I continued our tempo, but after 4 miles (19:41) I started to tire. I glanced at my GPS and it said I was running 4:56 pace. I backed off just a tad, because I knew I, now, I had a chance to PR, if only I could just keep it going, I did not want to implode. I cruised through 5-miles in 24:46, which matches my PR, but I was losing ground. Wilson Komen, an Ethiopian and a North African came back to me over the last mile or so, but Outlaw was still hanging on ahead. Wiggy, by now, had surged ahead and was running stride for stride with Chris Sloan. They past their old townhouse on the right and I wondered what the former roommates were thinking. "Wake up," I screamed to myself, "stop thinking about stupid shit and get after it." My eyes opened wide and I did my best to try to run down the runners ahead of me. By now, I was in some serious pain. My legs were still working, but my cardio was suffering. It was brilliant.
Once I hit mile 6, I just drove like hell for the finish line; it was the clock I was after. I ended up running a personal best of 30:52 - 4:58 pace - for 10k, which is without doubt my best race since April 2010 - three years ago. I had done a poor job of racing people during the last two miles, as is evident in my splits - 5:05 and 5:06 AND the fact I couldn't keep up with Dusty and others - but to say I was happy with my result is an understatement. For the first time, in a long time, I am in PR shape again. If the weather cooperates, I should have a good race in store at Broad Street. More importantly most, if not all, of my teammates ran incredible today, the result of a fast course, competitive race (I was 24th) and a slight tail/cross wind.
|Pike's Peek Race History:|
2007 - 31:29
2009 - 31:22
2010 - 30:56
2012 - 31:32
2013 - 30:52