|Won the 10k LLS Friendly Race|
Early this morning, the LLS group gathered on the west side (Rio Vista Park in Peoria, AZ) for our final official training session before the Arizona Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon next weekend. LLS organized a 5k / 10k race for the participants in honor of coach Frank who passed away a couple of years ago.
I reached the starting line at around 7AM. The race was to begin at 7:30AM. I had plenty of time to register and warm up. Of course, this was a friendly race; hence I had not gone through my usual race preparation routine. I knew a lot of people at the starting line. Lexie, Melissa, Denverlee, Emily, Jennifer, Carly, Heyley, Aly, Laura etc. were all there either organizing or running (or both).
It was a chilly morning. I was dressed in shorts. a long-sleeve shirt, a neck protector, my NYC Marathon visor and running gloves. About 10 minutes before the start, I ate a stinger waffle.
After stretching and a mission moment, we all lined up. It was a casual atmosphere. We were to run alongside a flowing stream (I think New River) on a paved trail going in the north and easterly direction. Someone told us that there is a water station at the turnaround point for the 5k and the 10k. These would be our landmarks to turn around. They were apparently at the 1.5 and 3-mile marks.
As we set off, Aly, Denverlee and I started running together for the first 100 meters before I took off. I had no idea where exactly I was supposed to run. My plan was to run at a comfortable sub-8-minute pace. If someone was running faster, I would let them go. Nobody was!
The sun was shining to our right. It was starting to warm up but was still chilly. We went under a couple of bridges with steep downs and back ups. We were running upstream; I concluded that we were running slightly uphill. Right after the 5k turnaround point, I looked back and saw nobody following me. I had a fleeting thought that I may not be running on the right route but there had been no bifurcations. Soon after though, I came to a fork on the road. One went under and the other went over the bridge. I stopped and pondered my options.
|With Melissa after the race|
I vaguely remembered someone saying that you always have to go under bridges. I wasn’t sure. I waited a good 30 seconds before I saw a couple of guys behind me. I waited until they reached me. They both pointed left (under the bridge). I ran on! My pace was good. My rhythm was good. I felt good!
At the 3 mile mark, I turned around. I saw nobody for a couple of hundred yards but started seeing a lot of people soon after. I remained in front by a long margin. I’d be going slightly downhill now. My pace quickened. I exchanged high-fives with a few familiar faces.
The run back was as smooth as the run out. I finished 6 miles at a 7:33 pace. Decent. I won the race by a wide margin but this was not really a race! As a prize, I received a backpack plus a beer growler from Gordon Biersch.
I didn’t stay there too long after. I had a donut or two and drove back home. I napped in the afternoon!
Rahul and Janki came over for dinner. Good times roll on…