There wasn’t a whole lot of fanfare at the Run for the Deaf this year. There was some worry that the weather would dump on us, as it was the weather was perfect, but rain would dampen the race.
I got to race early enough so that I could get a nice pre-race warm up in before reporting to race start. At race start, I saw that quite a bit of the fast runners were there in the front, so that I knew getting an age group award was out of the window for this race. And that was actually a stress that I didn’t have to carry the burden over the race.
The race started and it’s a nice downhill start. Although this is tough on the legs, it’s easier on the psyche and lungs as you pick up speed for the race. As I mentioned before, parts of Island Home is “Level Flat” not “Knoxville Flat”. Apart from the Start/Finish, the race is a combination of “Level-Flat” and “Knoxville Flat”.
So with a down hill start and the rest of the mile is flat. It’s really easy to go out fast. This is great if you are going for a PR time. However, if you are unexperienced, you’ll be out like at the 1/2 mile mark like the kid that was running ahead of me, then his friends caught up and he said “I’m Done” and proceeded to walk.
Mile 1 in 6:58
That, by the way, is a big forecasted PR pace for me. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to hold on to that pace, but my in situ race plans changed to hold on to that pace. In Marathons, the common Rule of Thumb is don’t go out to fast… which is on the money because it’s a long race and going out to fast is costly. However in shorter races, if you want to get a PR, you have to go out fast! The trick is finding that threshold which you can go out fast yet still maintain your endurance to carry you. If you go out fast, your body “feels” that speed, so when you “slow down” your body relaxes but that new speed may be faster than what you would have been running had you tried to start the race at a conservative pace and tried to get faster over the course. It’s easier to slow down at the end of the race, then it is to speed up. A consequence is that if you go out to fast, you exhaust your Kick at the end of the race.
I tried to hit a rhythm with my strides and breathing. I was far enough ahead in the mass of runners that I had little traffic in front of me, and I tried, as we rounded corners or curvy streets to take the shortest distance from point to point, even if it meant I was running on the other side of the street.
I could feel that I was starting to slow just a little and I wasn’t sure what the last little hill of the Second mile would do to me.
Mile 2 in 7:33
I remained steady up the hill, but it was tough to maintain that speed afterwards. Once back on the Level Flat Street, I could nothing more than try to keep my pace going. I was fading. With 1/2 mile to go, I was praying for a shoelace to come untied so that I could take a break. A quick look at my watch and I knew that I would finish somewhere under 24 minutes, even with a teeny-tiny stop. I moved along.
The finish is a 2 tier up hill with the first tier being shorter/steeper than the second teir. Neither of them are monster hills but you do have to work at them. Before the race, I had practiced my Race Finish, looking at landmarks that I would use to begin my final approach into the Finishing Chute. There was the Speed Limit 25 sign that I would use to start to accelerate. Then there was the rug that Duct Taped to the Road to cover a pot hole that would be the final kick. I had no energy left for either. I had gone out too fast and I had no Kick left at the end.
I was actually relying on people to shout out to friends and family running that they could “catch” the guy in blue for motivation to encourage me to run faster. For the last 15 steps, I did sprint, or do my best sprint imitation. After finishing, I had to lie down in the grass with a bottle of water to catch my breath.
23:27 Official Time
52 Out of 204 Finishers
10 Out of 14 Age Groupers (35-39)
I was fairly pleased with my result. My personal goal time was 23:30, which I was pretty close at getting, although, I wasn’t exactly happy at HOW I got it with the fast first mile. I was hoping for a little more evenly paced race. But What Can You Do?
I did win a Door Prize – Papa John’s Large One Topping Pizza… so with a decent Race Shirt and a Free Pizza Coupon, I didn’t walk away empty handed.