This morning I awoke to run the Texas Round-Up 10k. I had not been planning on running this race until about a week and half ago when I found that my employer offered free entry to it. Well, who can argue with free?!
The last 10k race I ran was last year's Round-Up and my standing PR, 42:36. Now, I have certainly become a stronger runner over the past year, but with the exception of a 12k leg of a marathon relay last September, I have done no speed events, all triathlons and the Austin Marathon. And most of my training has been geared to more of the endurance events, so I really had no idea what to expect. My pipe dream of a goal was to break 40 minutes, but just bettering my PR would be great too.
I got to the race about an hour early to get a good warm-up in, drop off my clothes bag, and just not be rushed. Well, the warm-up was a little harder than I would have liked. I didn't do anything that I don't typically, I just felt more winded than I would have preferred. Oh well. Off to the portajohn, grab a sip of water, and head to the start line. Apparently I was not the only one that thought of this agenda. I got to the starting gates with about 5 minutes to go, this left me well back in the pack. I was about 10 yards behind the 11:30 pace sign; my goal pace was about 6:30. My work of weaving through the masses was set. The gun went off and a little more than a minute later I finally shuffled across the starting line and punched the button on my watch (my free entry fee was not for a timed bib).
Just as expected, it was a mad house and I was trying to running back my way through everyone without bumping or cutting them off. Things had thinned out a little bit by the time I hit the 1 mile marker at 7:08 according to my watch. Not as bad as it could have been but I definitely had a hard race in front of me if I wanted to pull of anything near 40. Luckily I found my stride and was able to hit mile 2 at about 13:30 and the 5k split at 20:45ish.
OK, breaking 40 was now out of the window, but a good race and a PR were easily in sight as I was still feeling pretty good and maintaining my pace. Miles 4 and 5 came and went without much ado, my pace still seemed fine. As I was making my way around the State Cemetery I came up on two guys wearing Rogue shirts. As I gave them the typical, "Go Rogue!" shout one of them shouted back to "Take it home!". That was the motivation I need to pound up the hill and turn towards downtown. Then there was the hill going up to the Capitol that is a killer. But I made it up that and realized that I was sitting at about 37:30. I wasn't sure how far I was from mile 6, but knew I had to be pretty close so I tried to pick it up a little and give it everything I could. Finally we worked our way around the Capitol and I knew I was close so I tried to pick it up another notch and just kick as hard as I could.
And then there was the final turn onto Congress and the straight away to the finish. As I crossed the line and stopped my watch I looked down to see 41:34 frozen on the display. I PRed by a minute! It wasn't the time that I had hoped for, and my time was certainly hampered by getting stuck at the back of the starting line, but still - I PRed!