There is something I really like about road running that just isn't satisfied by any of my other athletic pursuits. It is the perfect venue to push oneself to the utmost limit while maintain a certain level of safety. Sure, you can hurt yourself running, but going balls to the wall while climbing can be a dangerous endeavor. I leave it all on the asphalt when I run a race.
I left work early and ran home only to beat all my coworkers to the race. We chatted and waited around of a while while the other 9000 or so people poured in from various parts of the city. Kyle (my running partner and cubemate) and I lined up in the "Red" group, which is...um...faster than we run. We humbly inched our way back from the front. After a brief and hilariously non-sequitur techno filled workout routine from a sponsor gym, we were off.
The race started at a blistering pace, but I was far too amped to realize it. I was generally keeping up with the people in my group, with the occasional incredibly fast running blowing by me. Luckily, my knee wasn't bothering me as it was wrapped up in a brace after several weeks of intermittent pain. Thus, the stage was set to burn out hard with the limiting factor squarely on my ability to endure typical running pain, and not tendonitis.
The course looped all over around ATT Park, about as much as my mind jumped from subject to subject as I fought for each mile. After about 17 minutes, the first runners finished in blazingly fast time. Yep, college runners...real runners, and certainly not me. I knew I had roughly 10 minutes left, but my body was starting to succumb and I noticed more people passing me every minute. I kept pushing thinking my pace was lacking, but the 3 mile marker read 23 minutes, which for me, is astonishingly fast and by far my PR.
The last half mile was painful, partially after the fact that I knew I had a great time in the bag. I clenched my teeth, thought about running, thought about thinking about running, thought about painful things, and generally tried to keep running. When I finally saw the finish line, I was lucky that our team captain, Max, saw me and cheered me on. It was the drive I needed, and I crossed the finish line, nauseous and sucking down air. The pain past, and I realized that I had a great time, 26:53, which puts me at around 7:40/mile!
I met up with coworkers, then Kyle, Sharada, and I walked to Source, which is a fun and eclectic vegetarian (almost vegan) place nearby. My knee was hurting,but I was feeling great, and it was exciting to eat great food with two fellow vegetarians. After a great meal, we disbanded and I walked with a slight hobble to MUNI.
I need to do more races!