Sunday, February 17, 2013

Race Report: Blacksburg Classic 10-Miler

It was a great day to gather with friends for our biggest local winter race! It was in the low-30s and lightly flurrying. I had not been in a great frame of mind the night before and into the morning (from events unrelated to the run) but I had the choice to crumple or suck it up. I chose the latter. The day was tailor-made for the "Suck it Up Buttercup" shirt.

Coach Jim's race instructions were to go out at 7:20-7:25 for the first two miles then settle into race pace (7:15ish). So I looked at this race as:

a 2 mile warmup
+ a 10k race (no biggie, there was no swim or bike before!)
+ 2 final miles to attack and burn up what was left in the tank before re-entry

I finished in 1:12:42, a PR for me by 29 seconds (7:16 pace). It was enough for the top master's spot (full results). And YES I hit Coach Jim's designated paces for the first two miles and YES I will admit that was a good strategy!

My time was a minute faster than last year. Previous times: 1:15:08 (2009); 1:13:11 (2011); 1:13:37 (2012). When I ran the 1:15 in '09 I thought that was the best I'd ever ever do. Then when I hit the 1:13:11 in 2011, I figured THAT was the best I'd ever do. That's the reminder to just run. You never know what you can do.

Today's race was a physical and mental win. In the midst of the effort (avg heart rate - 168 IS some serious effort for me) I felt very relaxed. This sounds really silly but sometimes when I run, like today, my legs feel like they are ten feet long. I found comfort and happiness in the sensation of covering ground and the rhythm of my footfall and breathing. I let go of everything else. There is just nothing more therapeutic than running.

Racing is like unwrapping a long-anticipated gift. Coach Jim fills the box and race day I get to discover what's in it.

I like where I am right now, 57 days out from Boston.

(Oh...and my "race recovery plan"? Nine boys ages 11-12 here for a sleepover b-day party!)

With my peeps!
James DeMarco, head coach for BHS track and owner of Runabout Sports
is the hub of the running scene. We are lucky to have him in our town!