Wednesday, March 19, 2008

St. Malachi 5 Miler

Ahhh, St. Malachi. I love and hate this race. I ran it 2 years ago and to this day was still tormented by the steep uphills. I had however, signed up for the road race series again and promising a few friends I would be there to run made this year INEVITABLE.
I missed the pre-registration date for this race so getting there about an hour before my race was the plan. I hurried to the church and was pleasantly surprised to find NO LINES! I was in and out in less than 5 minutes. I stopped to use the porta-john quick and then headed to the car to drop off my stuff before my warm-up. I saw Daisy and Solar Squirrel also walking back to their car. I smiled and said a quick "hey."
Now, warming up, I was having trouble deciding what to wear. I was cold, but knew I would probably heat up, just like an iron after the first mile or so and if I dressed too warm I would be sweating my arse off and plus I wanted to be as light as possible.
Aaarrrrgggghhhh!!! I couldn't decide, so I wore all my clothes for the warm-up and figured I'd see how hot I got after 20 minutes. I warmed up by running back and forth across my favorite Detroit Bridge....haha. I finally opted for what you see in the picture and headed to the porta-john AGAIN with less than 10 minutes before start time.
I did my thing with about 2 minutes to spare. I was nervous AGAIN. CS and ML were both here and although we are all friends, the teasing had once again occurred and I was a bit worried that my last race had been a fluke. I was hoping to hold an 8:00 pace.
There were A LOT of people. They were on Main where the race started and on the adjoining side street. I weaved my way to Main and toward the front. I did not want to get trapped in the crowd.
The first mile was downhill, so I knew I would be kind of fast. I was okay with that. My goal was to stay relaxed and run at about a 6-7 on the PE scale. I wanted to avoid getting boxed in and run the course from corner to corner. Just as I thought the first mile was fast. Time: 7:12.
I was feeling just dandy, but I always feel that way after mile 1. It's mile 1.5-2 where I blow up and fade. I have been trying to tune-in to my body, arms at sides nice and relaxed, stride length is even, breathing is even, head is up etc., etc. Mile 2 was pretty flat and I felt okay. The crowd had already started to thin out. Wow, some people really do take off like bats out of hell ;-) I saw e-speed taking pics and I hollered "Why aren't you running" and waved. She yelled something back and said I looked good. Time: 7:44...not too bad. I was talking and waving and still significantly down from my 8:00 pace.
Oh, Oh, OOOUUUCCCHHH....mile 3. It seems like another 2 mile fairly flat and a little turny, but no it's not. There is about .3-.4 miles that begins a little uphill before you make a turn and then WHAM, it is a very steep upgrade. This is 1 of the 2 hills that will make or break your race. I grabbed some H2O and then attacked the hill. Head up nice and relaxed I told myself. People around me seemed to be fading a little. I just stared at the top of the hill knowing the reward that was waiting for me. Time: 8:11.... yuck, where had that come from.
And then there it was...the downhill. YAY! I was excited. I knew this might be a fast mile too, so I relaxed and let my feet do the work. Here is where I saw the people behind me making there way to the hill I had just climbed and surprisingly, there were a lot. I even saw the couch potatos that I used to run with and try to beat. Time: 7:33... okay much better.
The last mile was here to make or break me. I did not want to lose it here. I knew it was flat most of the way back with a big turn and a big hill. I was fading. I could feel my breathing was changing. My focus was shot. I wanted the race over now. I was drifting in and out with my thoughts and I knew every time I did that my form would falter and I was losing time. I had to keep my head in the game. I forced myself to look up and chase people ahead of me. I figured I had about 2-3 minutes to go because I had not run the big corner yet, but to my surprise the Hermes guy was standing at the bottom of the hill yelling "less than a 1/4 mile uphill to the finish." Shit, where had the big corner gone. I picked it up right then and there. I saw ML's wife and the walrus cheering for me at the top of the hill. I pumped my arms and ran for the clock. Time: 7:35.
I was beat, but not only had I broken 40:00 .... I HAD BROKEN 39:00!!! OFFICIAL TIME: 38:18! I had run a 7:40 pace at the 5k a month ago and I did it again today with a 5 miler. I was so happy I quickly changed and rushed down to the local bar to get my Guiness.

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