|looking Smurf-tastic at this year's Running of the Bulls|
When I began signing up for spring races this year, the Running of the Bulls 8k was the one race that I knew I wanted to run. Not only did I want to run it, but I wanted to Monster it. In a many ways it became my goal race for the spring. Running it, was more important to me than running any of the Half Marathons for which I had registered. I think that I was among the first 5 people to sign up for the race, and I had literally been checking the website for days in advance waiting for the registration to open up. I ran The half Marathon in Pittsburgh on May 6th, then left the rest of the weekends open to recover an prepare for the Running of the Bulls on June 2. At Pittsburgh, I had a blast on the course interacting with the crowd, which made the experience that much more fun, so despite my desire to crush the Running of the Bulls, I also wanted to have fun with the race. Luckily, I was able to do both.
|Last Year: I'm in orange and half-assing it.|
|This year just past the two mile mark.|
Mile 1: The first mile begins on an up hill (that I didn't remember being steep, but my memory must have been foggy) then turns on to a straight nearly flat stretch of Main St. right through the heart of Downtown Durham before turning into a residential area . I ran up it hard, waved to Hiroko as I passed her, but was having some breathing issues as I made the first turn. I was able to get my breathing under control and even out my pace before we turned into the residential area. Mile 1 in 2011 -- 9:24, Mile 1 in 2012 -- 8:25.
Mile 2: The second mile is in residential areas, it has a nice downhill then an uphill and turn before ending at the first water stop right in the middle of the hill and next to the old Durham Balls Athletic Park where the film Bull Durham was shot and which we run through to the finish line at 3rd base. I was feeling good at this point of the race but was pushing my pace to a point where I wasn't comfortable with my ability to maintain this speed for the duration of the race. The downhill was welcome, but instead of slacking, I forced myself to push the issue and continue running strong into the hill. I passed through the water stop without getting anything. The weather was perfect: cool with a light breeze. I didn't need water and could see both a brightly clad group of supporters and Hiroko just ahead. So, rather than slow down I continued to push my way up the hill. Mile 2 in 2011 -- 8:53, Mile 2 in 2012 -- 8:15.
Mile 4: The fourth mile goes up a long slow gradual incline before snaking its way through a couple of parallel streets along the railroad tracks and leading back to Main St. Last year, I lost my focus during this portion of the course and took this portion of the course way too easy. I was determined not to do the same this year. I kept pushing hard and was beginning to struggle with my pace. Just before the four mile mark I decided to go all in and keep pushing, I didn't feel like I was going to puke or pass out, so there was no reason to back down. I could fell a swell determination fill me up. I could tell that this was the point in most races where I back off and play it safe, but I wasn't going to back down today. Mile 4 in 2011-- 9:30, Mile 4 in 2012 -- 8:31
|Near the 4.6 Mile mark|
|Hiroko and I following the race.|
The Race was awesome! Well organized, perfect weather, and a result that I am very pleased about. I can't wait to run it again next year. I would like thank the Bull City Running Company for putting on yet another great race! The Running of the Bulls 8k will always be a race that I have a great deal of fondness because of the lessons I've learned while running it.