No 15k PR this morning, but I'm not really complaining. They delayed the race start by 15 minutes allegedly to make sure the water stops were ready -- but I think it just wasn't hot enough yet. It was 83 when we started and upper 80s when I finished. And of course, not a cloud in the sky. Killer! So from the outset, I had 3 excuses ready for failing to hit my PR this morning:
1.) Schedule said 5 marathon pace, 4 easy.
2.) It was much hotter than last year, which is incidentally my 15k PR (don't ask about the nice cold 15k I attempted in Jan., it wasn't even close to a PR).
3.) The race delay of 15 minutes I figured allowed me to add 30-60 seconds to my time for it to be comparable to last year.
When I actually started running, I knew I wasn't going for a PR -- nothing to gain really. But nonetheless, I started off too fast, hitting my first mile just under 8. Things evened out a bit then, and by mile 2 I'd met up with my friend Alberto and we were running comfortably together, keeping things between 8 and 8:10. I was trying to get him to talk, but he wasn't taking the bait and so it ended up being equal parts each of us talking, and then some just running along next to each other. It was so nice though to stay steady together, and talk through bits here and there. So instead of running 5 miles at marathon pace, I ran 10k at a near 15k pace. At the 10k mark I really wanted to slow down. But I saw someone from my weekend group ahead of me, so he told me to catch her -- and of course he had all kinds of energy in the bank, so we stayed together. Finally we caught up to her and then passed her in a water stop. At that point I was really getting hot and felt like I needed to slow down, so Alberto went on ahead of me, but surprisingly I kept him in sight for quite a while, he finished about 90 seconds in front of me.
My weekday coach David was out there cheering for me (and others of course), so that gave me a boost at about mile 7. But my splits were slowing down a lot and there seemed to be nothing I could do to speed up. After 5 miles all under 8:11, I went 8:16, 8:35, 8:45 for the last 3. YIKES! I ran next to a guy for about the last 1.5 and we kept mentioning how much further it was and stayed pretty close, though we both started running hard the last 200 meters and he pulled ahead of me. But wow, if it had been a half, I think I might have started walking at some point.
No PR, as I said, and sadly using a pace predictor for this race puts me at a marathon finish time of 3:52, which will not get me to Boston unless I get significantly older very quickly. I hung out for a while after the race and got to see Joy get her age group award -- very impressive! But then I was hot and uncomfortable and kind of wanted to clean up before going to a post-race party.
But the day got significantly worse after I left the race. Yesterday I thought my car was driving a little funny. The steering seemed kind of "loose." Well, I noticed it again this morning on the highway going to the race, and when I was on the exit, my traction control light came on, which was a little freaky, but it went right back off when I got through the turn. I got to the race fine, drove around, found a decent spot, and parked. And forgot all about it. But when I walked back to my car, I noticed I had a tire that was completely flat. Ugh. So I got all the stuff out of my trunk, then got out the spare and the jack. And then a kind person pulled up and asked if everything was okay. I asked him if he knew how to change a tire, and he did. He stopped and changed it for me, which was lucky, because even if I stood on the crow bar (? is that what that s-shaped bar is called?), I could not get the lug nuts to budge. But he said his 206 pounds would do it, and sure enough, it worked. I was very worried because the summer of 2008 was the summer of the flat tire for me (about 6 flats that summer, 5 on the same wheel), and several times my car fell off the jack (before it was all the way up), but it worked just fine today.
But naturally, the nail that caused the flat was in at such an angle that it couldn't be patched, and of course, why buy one new tire when you could buy two... But all in all, insanely lucky. Unfortunately, I didn't get the guy's name, just his city and finish time and license plate -- I think with those three bits of data though, I can track him down and send him a gift card or something. The funny thing is, I told my dad about all of this and he said he had just stopped yesterday to help someone. He'd seen a car pull over on the highway when he was on his way to my brother's house to drop something off, and he kept going. But on his way back home, the car was still there and the front driver's side tire was flat and the guy was trying to change it, and sweating a lot and nervous with all the highway traffic. So my dad exited, u-turned and stopped to change it for him. The guy offered to pay my dad, and my dad said no, just do something nice for someone else. Well, the good karma already came back to our family I guess! So now it's my turn to find someone else who needs help and be their knight in shining armour!