Friday, January 09, 2009

Hangover Classic, and a few other things

It's definitely time to move on to happier things. Like PRs! There's nothing better to put me in a good mood like a five-minute plus PR.

Mark and I drove down to Clarksville to visit my parents for New Year's. I am not a big partier, and New Year's parties aren't really my thing, so it was no real stretch for me to rest up and go to bed relatively early on New Year's Eve. On New Year's Day, a great 10-miler is held in Louisville on River Road: the Hangover Classic. I had signed up hoping for a PR and an early indicator of my chances at half marathon and marathon PRs in February and April, respectively.


After the whole trail attack thing, I felt sort of afloat in regard to specific running goals. I didn't even take one day off though, and kept running...aggressively, if I were to use one word to describe it. I mean, I went into this cycle thinking I'd follow the framework of the 18/70 plan and cut a few miles here and there, but it's turned into a mindset of "If I miss a day, he wins." I don't think I quite believe that up to the point where I would run myself into the ground, but it's been a great motivator. I'm shameless. I will use anything for motivation. Take that, creepy trail scumbag!

Anyway, so I had been running a LOT of miles (the week previous to the race at 66, a few miles more than the peak for my last marathon), but was not really fixated on any certain time goal. I figured if I could just get under 1:20, that would be great, but in reality, I wasn't expecting much more. A bit of 10-miler history: I have run three previous 10-milers. The first was actually the 2001 edition of the Hangover Classic. No clue what my time was. The second was the 2006 Papa John's 10-Miler. I forgot to wear my chip. No clue what my time was. The third was the 2007 Papa John's 10-Miler. This was early in the running renaissance. I ended up with a 1:26. Yuck. In my PR half marathon last year, I went through 10 miles in 1:20:11, so I've been calling that my 10-mile PR. So under 1:20 would be great.

I missed the first mile marker, but eventually realized I was running 7:30ish. Whoa. I felt like I was in the groove though, so I went with it. I went through five miles just a few seconds slower than my turkey trot time. Whoa. Still feeling awesome. Just cruising. I started out picking out women ahead to catch, but ran out of those, so started concentrated on catching anyone at all. I started getting 7:20s and even one or two below 7:20. Yipes. The last couple of miles I started to feel it, but I kept it together and the split for my last two was 14:46, compared to the first two, which was 15:12. I had a negative split of about a minute. Weeee!

My official time was 1:14:54 and my watch time was 1:14:52. I am ecstatic! That's a ridiculously huge PR. Even better was how great I felt the whole time. I mean, it hurt, but surging during the last half of the race felt effortless in a way. I suspect only other runners will really be able to understand what I'm trying to describe here. I hope to be able to finish as strong at Last Chance and at Illinois.

I was second in my age group, 10th female, and 76th overall. For my age group placing, I won a bottle of sparkling wine (which turned into mimosas soon after). I also received a fleece blanket with the race logo as a door prize. Considering I also got the correct t-shirt size, I would say I had a pretty successful haul.

So, pretty soon, I'm going to post a belated 2008 wrap-up/2009 outlook. As you can probably guess, a lot of things have been put in perspective for me. So, sorry if it's long and contemplative! Every successful race and every PR is more than that now; it's a victory. And every day, every run, seems like a gift.
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