Saturday, October 11, 2008

2008 ORRC 15k Champion!

Well... for the 30-34 age group that is.

In an effort to make my marathon training more interesting than just running down empty roads by myself, I decided to sign up for the ORRC 15k Championships out in scenic Blue Lake Park. The last time I was at the park in any capacity was watching my HS cross country career end on bittersweet note as I floundered the last mile and helped my team end up one place short of making state. I returned older, wiser and with a refined competitive streak and a definite desire to avoid "short" races like the 5k on offer. The plan was to run 15k (9.3m) @ something slightly faster than my marathon pace. So "comfortable fast" as it were.

The race was smaller in size so I got to start near the front (I tend to like to start towards the back of the group of people I should be running with so I can pick more people off :)). I took off in what felt like a comfortable pace, only to find myself... with no one in front of me. The following thoughts went through my head:

Good Brian: "Where is everyone?"
Bad Brian: "Behind you stupid."
GB: "But why? I'm not running THAT fast. <check watch> Ok, maybe I'm off to a faster start than I need to be. Time to reel it in a bit."
BB: "Do you feel like crap? No! Just keep going. You'll be fine."
GB: "But this is supposed to be a TRAINING run. You know the kind that DOESN'T kill me?"
BB: "Oi! Someone's about to pass you. Less talk, more running."

Someone did eventually pass me. But not until I had to play "guess the turn" a few times on the less than well marked course. After a quick discussion (where he admitted he signed up as Mike Ditka) made him realize I had no intentions of running with him (I mean really, who's going mano a mano with Ditka? Mini-Ditka maybe...), he was off and eventually won the race by over 2 min. I can safely say though that is the only time in my entire running career that I've led a race at the start.

So Ditka was off to the races, leaving three of us to run together for the next 8 miles. Brief discussions were had, especially since I was the only one with a watch giving us accurate splits. Well that and we were all discussing our ages, scouting out whether we had to compete against anyone else in our age group. Of course, one of the guys in the pack was my age. It really helped to have other people pushing me but I continued to beat down the BB by just staying at one pace the entire time. The two other runners ebbed and flowed, but I just moved along like a metronome. Tick, tock.

With about a mile to go, the survival pack finally broke up and the fun started. I stayed with the guy who made a break for it but just couldn't get my body to move much further. Tick, tock. But with 100m+ left, BB reemerged:

BB: "C'mon, he's hurting. Make him work!"
GB: "This was supposed to be a TRAINING run, remember? Plus who's not to say that I'm not hurting as well?"
BB: "Pain is mental, suck it up. I mean seriously. What are you, French? (apologies to our french readers in advance)"
GB: "Well, I guess he is kind of close..."
BB: "Come to the dark side."

So I did, kind of. I WARNED the guy with "I'm going to have to make you work" and I took off. Despite trying to cut him off on the last turn and pushing it hard, he was up for the task and held me off by a body length. I looked up and the time told me all I needed to know: 58:11. So what started out as a training run turned into a 15k, 10k and 5 mile personal record (PR).

My reward? A sweet blue ribbon which reminded me of Becca's horse ribbons she refuses to get rid of and the knowledge that my training for my marathon must be going better than I thought. Unfortunately Bad Brian's antics will likely have me paying a pretty significant price during my 19 mile long run tomorrow. Guess I'll just have to think about the blue ribbon then :)

(Update: so the picture of me sucked, but the results are up. As it shows, Mike Ditka did win the race)


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