Last Sunday I ran in the 10-miler for the 4th time. I think. I can’t keep track, but I know I’ve run the full 10 miles twice, and participated in the relay at least twice now. Hmm, it may have actually been my 5th.
(Hooray for blog archives. It was my 5th. I ran all 10 miles in 2004 and 2007. I ran the relay in 2006, 2008 and 2009. I must have skipped 2005.)
Now that that’s settled…
A cold front came through last Friday which thankfully lowered the temperature (if not the humidity) for the race. The weather conditions were some of the nicest I can remember for this particular race, since October weather can be so variable down here. I caught a ride over to UHCL with John, Kelly and Melissa who were all running as well. As soon as we got to the start area, I quickly found my triathlete buddy Steve. Together, we were Team BAM BAM!
I ran the second half of the race, so after the start, Kelly and I drove over to the relay exchange at the 5-mile mark. It had been comfortable at the start, but over on Kirby where there was more wind, it was actually pretty chilly. We spent a few minutes sitting in the car and saw the race leaders fly by. It always amazes me to watch the fastest runners. Their strides are so smooth and efficient that they look deceptively SLOW. Their breathing isn’t labored, their faces aren’t red, they’re not sweating profusely. They look like they’re just out for an afternoon jog. Yet they come at you, rush by, and recede in the distance in what seems like a split second. I don’t think I could maintain their pace for more than a half mile, tops. Maybe not even that long. Amazing.
See? I just look awful when I run. No danger of confusing me with an elite runner anytime soon! Or ever!
Anyway, before I knew it, Steve had arrived about 51 minutes into the race, aka about 4 minutes before I’d expected him. The volunteer called out “1340? 1340!” and I went “hmm, I wonder where 1340 is…OH WAIT, IT’S ME!!” I’m pretty sure Kelly laughed at that one. I scooted up to meet Steve, strapped the timing chip to my ankle, handed him his car key so he could drive back to the finish, and started running.
I did a consistent 4/1 run/walk that has been working well for me lately as I ease back into running consistently. As the weather gets cooler and I regain fitness, I certainly intend to get back to running constantly with only the occasional water stop walk break, but the run/walk has treated me well throughout this crazy year.
Kelly passed me between mile 6 and 7 (or mile 1 and 2 of the second leg), as I expected that she would. She looked really great, on her way to her fastest 5-mile time ever. (46:43!) There was no way I could have kept up with her, so I watched her pull ahead until I couldn’t see her anymore. Melissa ran the first half of their relay in 53:18, so Kelly had only started a couple minutes behind me.
At mile 7 I passed the BAM water stop and laughed at Todd, our club president, who was standing in the road in a robe and long wig complete with curlers. After that, things were pretty boring as I ran along the rather unscenic Space Center Boulevard. I spent the next couple miles counting telephone poles and listening to the occasional conversation going on around me between other runners. During each 4-minute run segment, I’d pick someone just ahead of me and made it my goal to gain on or pass them. Playing that mental game with myself helped me keep my run segments just a little uncomfortable (but in a good way), instead of just slacking off.
I crossed the finish line in 55:55 by my watch, just after Bill snapped the above photo of me with Jon’s camera. The timing company didn’t post Team BAM BAM’s results until I emailed them, and it looks like the chip must not have registered when Steve started the race, or when he crossed the timing mat at the relay handoff. They only listed our overall gun time of 1:47:17 but that’s better than nothing.