10K Race: 57:55, 9:21/mile
Summary: The schedule clarified last week and I ran two, not one, race this morning, a first for me. Ran the two-miler hard, just to see what I could actually do...I was thrilled to be under 16 and even happier to be well under that mark. I ran the 10K as a comfortable workout and ended up having a nice negative split with no walking. All in a wonderful farm area not far from home.
Pre Race. Last Sunday, I was working over my training plan leading to the Chicago Marathon on October 10. Something seemed out of synch though. Once I laid it all out, I realized the alternating weekends of long runs and speed workouts that the plan called for were off kilter from events in our own schedule. So, I just shoved things a week one way and all fell into a fresh, refreshing alignment.
First on this list was the chance to run a very popular local event, the Hog Jog. It's been around for thirty-seven years now. As the name implies, it's run in and around hog farms around the little town of Flora, Indiana, the center of one of the biggest hog producing areas in the Midwest. If for no other reason, the T-Shirt from this race is a fun possession for most local athletes. I've run it a number of times and was glad at first to see it fall on "speed weekend" for my training.
And, then, when I looked the site, I had a crazy idea. They now have a 2 mile run at 7:30am, followed by the Main Event, the 10K at 8:15. I said to myself, "Self, why not run both races?" I've never run two races on one day before...but why not try? So the idea took quick root and I registered for both. I was pleased to see they allowed one to have a free entry into the 2 mile race if you had a full entry in the 10K. Sweet...2 races for a mere $15.00. Looking at both the weather and my training plan, I decided to run the 2 mile flat out and use the 10K as a nice training run on what was looking to be a very hot day.
Up early, I really enjoyed driving the back country roads allowing the shortest route for the 25 miles from our house to Flora. If you buy and sell grain futures, I can tell you, corn is looking terrific here so far. I got registered, was able to run a couple of miles to warm up well and we were ready for this small "adventure."
2 Mile Race. The gun went off right at the scheduled 7:30am start time. I set up my Garmin to pace me through my objective...a pair of 8 minute miles. Early on, I had to grope a bit to find a rhythm. But in a half mile or so, it seemed to land in an OK spot. I did notice lots of folks around me breathing heavily, while I was still comfortable. But how to pace in a race so short?
I went through the one-mile marker at 7:49. That was encouraging, as I felt pretty good. It was so odd, though, to be a mile into the race AND have only a mile to go...boy, that's an adjustment. So, I shifted into "finish strong" mental mode, just moments after ending the "start comfortably" mental mode. I picked it up and started picking out runners 3-4 places ahead of me and passing them. The pace gradually picked up and, amazingly, we had one more turn and I could see the finish line. I kept pushing and finished the second mile in 7:26, for a race of 15:17.
Sweet...on a warm, humid morning I had satisfied my curiosity as to whether or not I could still get below an 8 minute pace. I got well below it and probably could have been near to 15 flat had I planned accordingly. Yet, how often do you see a 2 mile race??? I've never run that distance before.
One small competitive note occurred to me as I got ready for this race last week. The 2 mile run is one-third of the US Army's Physical Fitness Test, along with pushups and situps done in 2 minutes. With one son just out of the Army and my youngest having just left Friday for four weeks of ROTC summer camp at Fort Lewis, Washington, I just wanted to see how I might compare with how they have done. The PT test is age and gender graded, so there is comparison possible. Thus, when I got home I looked up the standards on line and, being 56 years old, I saw I scored at 96% of maximum. And, even better, if I could do this same time in October, when I turn 57, I would grade out at 100%!! Ha!!! Need to ask the two guys just what their best run score was...just to see if the old man can hang with the young dudes!!
10K Race. I went back to my car, swapped my lighter Brooks Adrenalines for my normal Brooks Beast shoes, got a dry shirt and met up with local running pal Greg. We walked down to the start line and had a wonderful conversation. Good thing...he's so fast, the only time I ever talk to him is before the gun.
Right on time at 8:15am, the gun sounded (and yes, they used a real starter's pistol...a nice touch) and a pack of about 300 took off through the corn fields. My aim in this race was to simply enjoy the run. The temperature was rising, now above 75 and quite humid. The course wound a bit through Flora (including a run, literally, down "Easy Street"...yes they have a street named "Easy" in little Flora, Indiana), then out onto county roads, through more corn and bean fields and past the requisite hog farms. I was a little stiff early but got more comfortable, particularly after each water stop, where I walked and took a full cup of water.
The mile splits indicated the subtle acceleration I was sensing was real:
I hit the finish in 57:55, feeling quite good. Amazingly, the two runs gave me two negative splits for the day...the first 3 miles of this race in 28:42, the second 3 in 27:34. I like negative splits...they are rare.
After the race, the organizers were cooking up pork burgers for all the participants...a yummy way to end a fun morning and it fit, fully.
A nice day in the Midwest summer. And keeps me on track for Chicago.