This was my second time running the St Leo’s Roadraces and my first time repeating a race (not counting back to back times I walked the Autism Ribbon Run in Raleigh). I knew what to expect this time, and knew to temper my expectations based on my performance and injuries of late. I just wanted to finish this without issues and make it through.
They made a change to the race this year that I wasn’t totally thrilled about, they started the 10K a full 45 minutes after the 5K (even when it was only 10 minutes after I’ve always contended they should start the 10K first) under the idea that people could run both the 5K and 10K, and as far as I know only 2 or 3 people did it, so was it really worth it? The back of the pack 5K finishers were still coming in when it was time to start the 10K so that delayed the 10K start for a few minutes while they set out cones to funnel the 5K people into the finish while we were getting started, so it was really an impediment to both groups. Also, the guys who finished 1st and 2nd in the 5K also finished first and second in the 10K, which kudos to them, but is that really fair to the other runners? Not that I will EVER sniff first overall, but the guy who was 3rd in the 10K could have been first if those other two were dueling it out for the 5K win and not in the 10K.
The race started out pretty crowded, which was fine with me since I was committed to take it slow and easy. I wasn’t 100% sure how my knee was going to handle this and hurting my quad on Tuesday was just another complication. At least the long wait for the start gave me plenty of time to stretch out and do some warm up jogging.
The group thinned out pretty quickly as we move out onto the course and the faster guys took off. I stayed with the same people most of the time and there was one guy who was with me pretty much step for step. He was doing run walk intervals and it seemed like he would get right up beside me and his watch would beep to walk and then he would drift back as I kept going with my slow pace and then he would catch up to me again and then walk and so on and so forth. He ended up finishing a couple seconds before me as either he was on a run interval or he was dashing to the finish and ignoring the intervals.
The weather was gorgeous, you couldn’t have asked for better. High 40′s to wake up to, mid-50′s by race start. It was a little bit chilly at the start, but warm enough for shorts and short sleeves and warmed up a lot by the time the race was over, but not hot. (Last year was ROASTING). Worked up a good sweat but didn’t feel like I was going to die. Perfect.
The whole time I kept monitoring my knee and was constantly surprised when it felt just fine. I tried not to think about what “could” happen later in the race, and just keep going and deal with that if and when it happened. Around mile 4.5 I started getting a sharp pain in my right foot but it wasn’t muscular so I wasn’t sure what it was. To be honest, I thought I had a rock in my shoe and debated on whether I should stop and dig it out. It was annoying but not excruciating so I decided to keep going. When I got to the finish I found a place to sit down and when I took my shoe I discovered it was not a rock but rather a pretty nasty blister. I’m not sure what caused that since I’ve never gotten a blister from running before. It was pretty gnarly though.
I have to say though, if that’s my only “injury” I’ll take that all day long.
I didn’t have any kind of time or pace goal for this race, really only wanting to “finish”, or as I thought might be the case to “survive”. I ended up with a faster pace than I anticipated and felt good doing it so that’s always great. I finished in 1:13:20 for an overall pace of 11:44 per mile and splits of 12:14, 11:51, 11:37, 11:42, 11:44 and 11:37 plus 0.25 miles at 10:40 pace to the finish. That’s not a PR, but it’s not far off (Rural Hall 10K – 1:08:29). I’m very pleased with this result! And I’m also very very glad that I didn’t get hurt again. That would have been very discouraging. This state of constant injury since about December is really wearing on me. It just seems like it’s one thing after another.
Highlight of the Race: Early on, a little boy, about three years old, gave me a high five so hard it stung my hand. He swung at the shoulders and put his whole body into it. That how ya do it!
Next race will probably be the Susan Komen 5K in May.