Quick report: ran the Wheet 'n' Beet 10K in Garland. It was only $5, and I got free breakfast. Jon, Cody, and Walter were also there representing the blog. In fact, we all carpooled together. My goal was to break 35 minutes, and also win the race. Only one of the two was possible today.
The course is an out-and-back, slight uphill on the first half, and slight downhill on the second half. The route started in the middle of Garland and quickly goes to rural farmland. I thought it was quite nice. We had a noticeable headwind on the first half as well, so combined with the uphill, it was safe to expect a negative split. There was a 5K with the event as well, and the 5K runners simply turn around earlier.
The race started fast (as all po-dunk races do). Two younger guys ran out in the lead after the first mile, with Walter a few seconds behind them, and Jon and I a few seconds behind Walter. Fortunately, the two leaders turned around for the 5K, which guaranteed a 1-4 Blog sweep for the 10K. Walter continued to lead through the 10K turnaround, with Jon and I working about 10 seconds behind him (mostly Jon working...I drafted as much as I could). Pace felt comfortable, good enough for conversation here and there. That said, I was counting down for the turnaround, so that I would get a little downhill and out of the headwind. When you lack fitness as I do, those little gradients and breezes hurt more. 5K split was 17:45.
A little after the half point, Jon took off, and I let him go. I was feeling fairly good, but not that good. Jon slowly reeled Walter in, and took over the lead with about 2 to go. It was well-executed and fun to watch. I tried to stay steady from behind, run hard and even, and pick up any road kill if there was any. On the last uphill with one mile to go, Jon and Walter slowed a little, and I pulled a bit closer, but then they took off again. Jon ended up about 12 seconds ahead of me, and Walter was 5 seconds ahead of me. Mostly I was focusing on my goal to break 35:00, and knew with a mile left that I needed at least a 5:35 to finish off the race. I manged to hold sub-5:30 for this stretch, and my final time was 34:55. Mile splits were 5:20, 5:53, 5:49, 5:32, 5:38, 5:29, and 1:10 (5:13 pace). 2nd 5K split was 17:10. Jon ran a sub-17 to win. My garmin measured 6.22 miles. (the course was not certified)
This was my first race since the Moab 5-miler in March, and my first real "race effort" since Trials last November. I'd like to say I was just doing a tempo run to run this time, but I ran hard. It's hard to push through the hurt on your first 10K in a year (it takes practice), but I gave it a solid effort and had fun racing. I will get my revenge on Jon and Walter the next time we race.