What a great sport this is! Where else can you gloat over a record of 1 win and 146 losses? It was inevitable that my winning streak would end at 1 today, but I wasn’t deterred. Win or lose, I’m addicted to getting up on Saturday morning and heading to a race. This was only the 3rd time I’d ever laced ’em up for the 15k distance. My first was this same race in 2009, when I finished in a time of 1:08:16 for 3rd place in my age group, then back in March of this year I ran the Gate River Run 15k down in Florida and was disappointed with my time of 1:10:04.
My goal for today was to beat my time from two years ago and hopefully finish under 1:08. A little more lofty goal in the back of my mind was that it would be nice to finish in under 1:06, which would be 22 minutes for each of the three 5k segments of the race.
It was great to see and talk to a lot of Charlotte area runners at the starting line. This was the final race in the Run For Your Life Grand Prix series so most of the Charlotte speedsters were in attendance. I’m not running that series and it’s only the second one of the GP races I’ve run this year but a lot of our speedy friends are involved.
As usual, I took off at a pace that’s probably too fast and always a faster pace than I’m able to maintain during the race. For me that’s normal and something I expect to do. I take a different approach than most runners in racing. Most decide what pace they want to run then try to stick with that pace throughout the race. With me, I try to run with even EFFORT throughout the race. I just monitor my heart rate, build up to a cruising speed, then try to keep my heart rate at that level throughout. That means I go faster down hills and go slower up hills, and as a race progresses and I get tired, my effort doesn’t produce quite as much speed so I slow down. It’s just a normal progression that I’m used to. One of the results is that I get passed by a lot of people who are running those even paces, and I pass very few people along the way since I start out fast and end up slow. Some very good runners have questioned my technique and said I’d do better if I would take a more standard approach to running, but it works for me, and best of all I really don’t get totally exhausted like I used to. Since my effort remains the same I feel pretty good the whole time. Of course my muscles get tired so there are limits, but up to a half marathon distance it seems to work well.
I got off to a good start for me, hitting the 1- and 2-mile marks at a little under 6:40 each and crossing the 3-mile mark at 20:02. This was actually one of my most consistent long races as far as pace, with my slowest mile being 7:07. I thought about looking at my time in the last three-tenths of a mile after spotting the 9-mile marker, but decided I’d just find out when I got to the end. As we rounded the last corner I could see the clock ahead, and it was great to see I’d finish the race in under 1:05, even better than I had hoped for and a new Personal Record by more than 3 minutes. All in all, it was a fantastic day. The PR’s are few and far between when you’re 59 years old.
9 – 1-10 Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
8 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10) (Great Medals!!)
6 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
6 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
6 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
0 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
7 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
10 – 0-10 Age Groups (10 if 5-year groups; 0 if 10-year groups)
0 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
6 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
TOTAL – 88
1st Overall Male: John Compton (48:25)
1st Overall Female: Carolyn Maye (59:05)
Total Finishers: 504
Time: 1:04:47 (chip time)
Age Group: 2 of 11
Overall: 72 of 504