Saturday, December 20, 2008

christmas mile 2008: 6:02

my boys and i survived the “christmas mile”. we picked up the griffith runners (scott, brittany, and emily) and made it to kaldi’s coffee close to 7 am. it was at kaldi’s that we picked up our race numbers. the intention of getting there early was to make sure we got our pick of shirt sizes. when we got there, we were informed that we would get our shirts at the finish location: the meyer fitness center. scott was later informed that the event had doubled in size this year and that the limited number of shirts would be given first to out-of-towners and others would be able to pick their shirts up in a couple of weeks (i.e., no shirts yet for us).

during our warm-up time, it became apparent that it was going to be a bit chilly out there on the course and that the first 1200 yards would be into a 21 mph wind (with gusts of 33 mph). i got to the start area ten minutes before the start (the race was scheduled to start at 8 am). i was pretty much the only one out there, most others were hanging out inside waiting for a cue to get lined up. finally, someone informed us that we would start in one minute and then everyone came out from their shelters and lined up.

i opted to line up in the second row. i didn’t want to get boxed in this time. when the race started, i took it out pretty hard, doing a ten count in my head to get the legs going. it was apparent that the lead group would be sub-5. i quickly let them go and attempted to find my own rhythm. at this point i heard some encouragement from a co-worker, richard broughton, who came out to show his support.

my first peek at my watch indicated that i was running a sub-5 pace. i attempt to start edging it back. coming into the half mile marker i was in hold-on mode and was aware that i had blown my strategy of trying to negative split the second half. i resolved to hold-on until we turned the corner and could see the finish, hoping i would be able to pick it back up for the finish.

the turn around really was helpful. the wind move to behind the back and i could see the finish. i was not able to decipher the numbers from that distance, so i took another peek at my watch to get a clue of where i was at. i saw something on my watch like 5:40, and started thinking i really might be able to make it to the finish close to 6 minutes. it really was helpful to finally be able to decipher the numbers on the clock and it motivated me to give it a little extra to get as close to 6 as i possibly could for today. my official finish time was 6:02.9. last year that would have been enough to get third in my age group, but this year that landed me in the 6th position.

i am very pleased with my performance today. today is day 91 of my return to running, and i am hopeful that over the next few months my conditioning will bring me to a place that i will be able to sub-5 again. it never hurts to dream. my next event is the “run for the ranch 10k" on the afternoon of 12.28.2008.

my son caleb had an excellent performance today. prior to today, his personal best was a 9:22. his goal for the day was to sub-9, and he made it with a 8:59.

my son jacob has not been feeling to great lately, and even took a sick day yesterday. he opted for a more recreational approach and just committed to making it to the finish – which he did.

all the griffiths did great. scott was one place behind me in our age group. emily took second in her age group, and brittany ran a lot faster than she thought she could.

it was great to see my beautiful wife at the finish and hear her cheer. she was not able to come to our first race because of her surgery recovery. she is the best! as her recovery continues, she is planning to do the couch to 5k plan.
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