It’s official: I can turn back time.
For the past decade, I’ve watched my race times at all distances decline, just like my memory and metabolism. And until late last year, I resigned myself to curtail pre-race calculations and just focus on finishing “well.” Well, those expectations may be easy to meet, but they don’t always seem satisfying when the decade before you routinely brought home medals and trophies in your age group. And they certainly don’t lead to personal records of the type I now chase.
So, this morning I wanted to do better than my last 10k in December (55:09), which was better than my 10k the time before that (56:03). The thick marine layer in Mission Bay kept things in the high 50s/low 60s with a faint wind, and several Super Run racers (like Run DMZ regular commenter Louise R.) agreed with me that the conditions couldn’t have been better. The course was good too: mostly flat with two bridges and a minor incline here and there.
No chips for this one, so I paid close attention to my watch. The first mile I knocked off in 8:53; the second I hit in 17:00 even. The third was 24:32, and after that I forgot to look. Instead I focused the second half of the race on knocking off people in my path and graciously allowing those behind me with a similar strategy to do the same. I also never stopped at the water stations. It was so cool and cloudy that no extra hydration was needed.
The out-and-back course essentially begins and winds down near SeaWorld. In fact, the trickiest part of the race was avoiding some standing water in the amusement park’s parking lot. I maneuvered around the biggest puddles but still managed to land in the only underwater pothole. Still, I didn’t let a soaked shoe bother me. I will note, however, that on the return, I warned the guy next to me about the pothole -- and he sunk into it just a few seconds later. We both laughed.
I had expected after the fourth or fifth mile to suddenly feel different -- fatigued, thirsty, sore…something. But instead I just kept cruising, even during the last 200 meters that normally seem so freakin’ long. Not this time. The finish came up before I expected. So did two young women I’d beaten who decided to get ahead of me in the chute. Will be interesting to see what my official time is now. I can tell you that I looked down at my own stopwatch and it read 54:05. A full minute faster than in December!
Next stop on the Turn Back the Clock Tour: a 15k in early March. (As a warm-up act, I’m racing next weekend’s Guys and Gals 4-miler with running buddy Mark, who clocked in just ahead of me at 53:46 today.)
I'm celebrating this morning's victory with dinner and a sneak preview of the new Harrison Ford thriller Firewall tonight with my husband. And yesterday I learned that more food is consumed during Super Bowl Sunday than any other American 'holiday' except Thanksgiving. So I see some sinful three-bean dip and Tostados in my near future. Afterall, who am I to not help support such an American tradition?!