In my past life, I was a landscaper - really enjoyed transforming landscapes from barren to beautiful. I was not afraid of the tough physical labor that it involved - and as a result, I hurt, still do. Doing that for 7 years beat me up physically and I am still affected by it today - 9 years since I "retired". It's not that I regret it, but I do wish for a few less aches and pains.
Fortunately, running makes me work hard also - in a different kind of way than landscaping did. I enjoy the work that it requires of me - it also results in some aches and pains, along with being often pleased with the achievements. I guess what I am saying is that I enjoy - and always have - achieving things. Plus - I don't mind commiting to working hard to achieve a favorable result. It is nice to set a goal, work hard and meet it.
Enter: Sailin Shoes 10k fun run this past Saturday morning. Tuesday last week I remembered that it was happening, thought about entering - but held off. Wanted to see how I felt later in the week. Thursday came and amongst a decent flare up of arthritis (more swelling than hurting) in the knee - I ran Waldo Canyon, pushing the pace going up, really taking it easy on the way down. Was leaning to doing the race, but not committed.
Friday morning, the knee wasn't right - but I knew enough that by Saturday it would be better - not fully okay, but runnable / bearable. So, I signed up for the race Friday afternoon. My goal - use it as a last tempo run before next Saturday's Slacker Half Marathon.
The Slacker is named such because of the 2300 foot elevation drop from start to finish. Tis therefore potentially a speedy course, one would think that a faster pace can be achieved on that course than on most other (flatter? / rolling / uphill) courses.
For the Slacker - I have trained and set myself up to believe that I should be able to run at a 7 minute pace average throughout - and possibly faster. It certainly won't be easy, admittedly I have not been able to run that far at that pace ever before - but training has given me glimpses that it is achievable. I am going to make a go at it for sure. So, for Sailin shoes I wanted to run the 6.2 miles at a 7 minute average per mile.
The race was downtown Colorado Springs and has a total of just over 150' elevation gain - enough to keep runners focused, if not honest. A noticeable Northerly breeze at race time, plus a doozy (thankfully short) of a hill climb a 1/2 mile from the end - kept my pace for the first 6 miles at 7:03 average. (Bounced around the mile splits from 6:55 to 7:12). But a surge over the last 1/5th of a mile got my average down to 7 minutes.
My time was 43:35 = official time was a few seconds slower. In doing that I achieved my goal, plus set a 10K PR by almost 2 minutes - a nice bonus. (29th place out of 313 finishers).
So - a couple more easy runs this week - then time to start Slacking - in a way that is, if not speedy, is sure to hurt a little - with hopefully a result I will be pleased with.