I arrived with just enough time to throw my bag at the nice bag-check man and find the start line – a total of 30 seconds before the start. This year I would sally forth with the Blue wave. This was a good sign. Having started with the last (Purple?) corral the previous two years, I knew that running the 10 miles felt more like running 15. We soon took off; I dressed in my neon green shorts and a bright blue tech T. There were rumors of friends bringing signs to cheer on some of us and I wanted to be visible and appreciative of their efforts.
I did not have my iPod this time to drown the cacophony of sounds from the DJ, the “fans”, and the general conversations between runners all around me. I heard the nice lady around the corner from the start line who shouted at us to keep at it because we were almost there! It made me laugh.
Laughing is good and I indeed laughed all the way up to mile 6. My pace was very slow, just under 9:30, but to my surprise I was still passing people. How can this be? I think I was caught in a bubble of 200 year old folks. I finally broke through as I passed the 6 mile mark. Dev’s advice to me was to attack after the 10K point. I sped up a little, but still not giving it my all. In my head, I could hear him yelling for holding back, but I just didn’t feel like going full speed yet.
Mile 7 crept up and I found myself saying wow I feel great. This phrase kept repeating in my head over and over. Soon the phrase in tune with my feet became a soundtrack of sorts in my head.
Between Mile 7 and 10 nothing much changed. I had sped up as planned but got caught up in jams and got drenched in showers of Gatorade and water more than once. I saw some funny signs; my favorite being, “RUN LIKE YOU STOLE SOMETHING”. Before I knew it, I came upon the hill finish. I leaned forward and ran to the finish line; exactly 3 minutes slower than last year.
It is hard to imagine the Cherry Blossom 10 mile run being anything but fun no matter how much effort I put in. This year was no exception, especially since my two nephews where there to support me. I was disappointed that I didn’t do better than last year. I was disappointed that the hill still got to me after the third time around. But as I said before, I got out what I put in.
Pike’s Peek 10k is April 25th. This is where I’ll attack, not just speed up, and redeem myself.