|Not sure where this was taken on the course.|
Also, this would be my first race with my Garmin didn't know how it would impact the way I ran either. During my training runs, it had been something of a distraction, so I debated about not wearing it but chose to wear because it would just be silly to pay for a Garmin and not use it on race day! And, I am really glad that I did wear it because I think that it was very helpful during the race, and it kept me from getting complacent at times.
But one of the main reasons that I am happy that I did this race is it really proves to me that I need to move up closer to the starting line for races that don't group the runners by pace at the start. Once again I find myself running around people walking and slowly jogging for nearly the entire first mile. I know that I am not that fast so I try to line up about a quarter of the way back, but I line up early and tons of people just file in after I have already lined up. I am not going to complain about people who aren't running that line up at the front. I personally think that it is bad form, but I understand that for some people this may be their one event a year, and they don't realize where they should start or that someone might want to start the race with a friend that they know they won't see again until the end of the race, and also some people are just oblivious. Therefore, if I don't want to deal with the congestion at the start, I need to change.
As I said the start was really congested, which combined with my own reluctance to push my sore quad, led to my slowest start to a race so far. I think that I lost a lot of time during the first half mile that I never really gained back anywhere in the course. After the race my Garmin confirmed that portion of the race was in fact pretty piss poor. However, after about the first half mile, I could tell that my quad was doing alright. It felt much better than it had at the Autism 5k a couple of months ago. But, I still was reluctant to push it. I knew the course really well because other than the first and last .1of this course is all part of The Old Reliable 10K that I had run just a few weeks ago. The course roughly corresponded with miles 3 and 5 of that race. Unfortunately, I really did like this portion of the course. I wasn't bad for the first mile but I knew that the 2nd mile just wasn't going to be the type place for me to pick up a lot of time.
By the start of the second mile I was running alright, but I could tell I was not running as strong as I had been running over the last few weeks. I was feeling a little frustrated but was able to stay focused. My Garmin was telling me that I was close to the pace that I wanted to be at, and I knew the only thing close to a hill was coming up just before the the turn around. The hill was no real problem and by that point I wasn't having to side step people any longer. Just after the hill, we reached the water. I grabbed a cup but just swished it a round and headed toward the turn. Once I made the turn, I knew that I needed to pick up the pace if I wanted to have any chance at coming near my PR. At the down, I picked it up some, but I still wasn't hitting my stride the way I wanted.
In the end, I was off by 14 seconds, but I was happy with the way I had run this race considering, I felt like I was more managing the course and my body. This was a day that could have gone south in any number of ways, but I was able to keep things afloat and turn in a time and effort that I was satisfied with. It also helped to know that I would only have to wait a week for my next opportunity to do better.