Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blacksburg Classic 10-miler

I think I have finally recovered from an all-out effort at the Blacksburg Classic 10-miler. It was such a busy week for me with a conference + teaching + family duties, so I didn't feel rested or as prepared as I could be mentally or physically. Nevertheless, as I toed the line at 1:15 pm, I told myself to give it all I had and how disappointed I would be if I finished without doing my absolute best. That was not the last conversation I had with myself on that course. It was a constant battle of wills out there and by the time I finished, I was tired of listening to myself!

I finished right around 1:15, with an average pace of 7:30. It was an improvement in pace over the last half-marathon, and although this race was shorter, it was definitely hillier than anything else I have run competitively. I managed a nice kick for the last 150 m and finished strong.

We couldn't have asked for a better day - it was in the upper 40's/low 50's and sunny! The promise of spring was palpable.

The icing on the cake was to receive the overall master's win for the women (40-49). I enjoy the training process as well as the pre-and post-race festivities, but the actual race itself can leave me bereft, wiped out. Not until the next morning do I feel OK again.

The running community is a great one - welcoming and mutually supportive. I've run into old friends, made some new ones, and it's just enjoyable to get together for what my friend Steve calls not a race, but "an organized run." We are ultimately running against the course and against our own doubts and self-imposed limits. Sometimes I can just feed off my own positive energy and those are the best races. Other times, like yesterday, it's a battle of wills and pure stubbornness that gets me through. That was a tough one.