LEESBURG, Virginia, January 1 2013
Ambitious goal – 50:00
Fallback goal – Not to PW
The weather was tolerable. I only felt cold while waiting for The Boss and her friends to finish. The race does not publish a course map, but the course had been advertised to us by those who’d run it previously as “hilly”. It lived up to this billing.
Given the expected nature of the course and the fact that my training had been lax to non-existent over the past month, I decided that 50 minutes was a reasonable goal. As usual starting out, I lost seconds trying to get around lumbering morons who had situated themselves in the front of the pack before the gun and then proceeded to spread out across the course and slowly jog along. The first few hundred yards was downhill through a grassy, open field, so it didn’t take too long to clear around the jam and settle into a reasonable pace.
I felt pretty good for the first three miles. The hills didn’t seem that bad. According to my watch I was at about 23:50 at the halfway point – a cushion of about 1:10. Things changed rapidly after that, though. The real hills started making their appearance near the end of the fourth mile. They were not super-steep, but they were steep enough, and long. My pace dropped to the high eights, and even the high nines on one particularly tough rise. Each time I’d start wheezing up a hill I’d resolve to abandon the sub-50:00 goal. “Fifty and change is good enough; at least there’s no real danger of a PW [54:07+].” Then of course I’d get my wind back pounding the downslope and resolve to run it in hard.
With about half a mile to go I was at around 45:30. Just a 9:00 pace needed to break 50. I admit I eased up a little at this point – no possibility of a PR, almost certain to beat my stated goal, why kill yourself? I did try to sprint in the last hundred yards or so, though, and finished in 49:30.
It’s always a good race when you surpass your goals, even if the goals are a little unambitious. There were two additional bonuses this time around:
–The Boss beat her PR by some 20 seconds. Given that her PR was set on a dead flat course, this was a big achievement.
–Just after I finished and grabbed a water bottle I turned around to see who was coming in behind me. A young, tall, slender woman, all kitted out in running gear, crossed the line and wobbled over to the side of the finishing area. She started to double over and raise her hand to her mouth.
Me: “Wait for it, wait for it. . .”
I may be old, fat and bald but I finished ahead of you. And you puked.
Miles this race – 6.2
Miles raced in 2013 – 6.2