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Race Report: Carrboro 10k

Last weekend, I wrapped up three weekends in a row of racing.  I hadn’t intended to race three weekends in a row.  It just sort of happened.

This was the race, as part of Le Tour de Carrboro series, that I signed up for way back when I’d assumed I would have the summer to run a lot and not be injured.  But then, oops, I blew it and DNS’d the 4 on the Fourth event.  This event, the Carrboro 10k, is the second of the series and it didn’t care that I picked up a one mile and 5k event in weekends prior.  It remained on October 6th with obdurate obstinance.

Now I’m not the sort to not show up just because I’m not feeling at my speediest.  There’s more pleasure to race participation than just running fast times and winning awards.  There are friends to see and support.  There are new friends to meet.  There are opportunities to pace things more smartly than I’ve been pacing them lately.

And so my goals are set.  Have fun.  Get in a good workout.  Enjoy the chance to participate injuryless (finally).  Pace the first 5k in a way that I don’t regret it on the second 5k.  Honor the others who are out there covering those 6.2 miles with me.  That sort of thing.

So come last Saturday morning, I toed the line, or, rather, about 6 feet behind the line because goodness knows I don’t belong at the front of the pack.  I promised myself to watch my Garmin so I don’t run the first mile too fast.  I figure that means in the 6:30-6:45 range.  In terms of execution, that means mentally telling myself to hold back almost continuously for the first 1/2 mile or so.

In reality, my first mile was 6:25ish, but it felt so, so easy.  Miles 2 and 3 were notable by my continual internal entreaties to relax and wait.  I settled into a position a little ways behind a girl with a light blue shirt.

Once I crossed the halfway point, I tried to dig a little, pulling on the virtual elastic between me and this girl.  Another girl did a superior job of even splitting the event and zipped on by and into the distance.  I just focus on doing what I can do on this day.  At some point, I do pass the girl in the blue shirt.  Perhaps that was during mile 5.  Mile 6 started to hurt in the way that makes us peer longingly into the distance willing the finish line to draw closer to us.

It’s a somewhat painful process, dragging a beckoning finish line towards our being.  I can’t promise that I’m always uninfluenced by the pain involved.  Finally, we turn onto the track on on which the finish line sits.  Yay!  Uh oh, that girl in the light blue shirt is right behind me.  Double uh oh, the finish line is the long way around the track.  I resign myself to being sprinted by.  Girl in light blue shirt does not know of my resignation and still makes a grand effort of the inevitable.

I could blame my advancing years, but she’s actually more than half my age.  Or, more lamely, as I’ve grown more prone to claiming once I become a ‘masters,’ it’s not like she’s in my age group.  Silliness.  It’s not like I had any idea how many 40+ women were ahead of me.  It’s not like I cared terribly, although it turned out that there were zero.

In the end, I had fun, I met new people, I got to be happy for my friends who had great performances, and I paced my first 5k reasonably.  Oddly, after looking back over my Garmin generated splits, I crossed 5 kilometers in about the same amount of time it took me at the XC event the prior weekend.  I credit the far more reasonable racing temps and faster course.  Maybe I’m even slowly getting a little speed back in my legs from all this painful, short racing?  I’m having some good training runs.  We’ll see.

Anyway, many congrats to my teammates Laura and Jennifer who finished 1-2 in less than 38 minutes, Ben who finished 4th in some unreasonably fast time, and Bart who was the RRCA Masters Male champion.  I’m proud to be part of such a stellar group.

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