Sunday, December 03, 2006

2006 Decker 20K

What comes up most come down. That pretty much goes for gravity and for hills, and it's where my story starts. It's Sunday afternoon. This morning I hit the snooze only once to wake up at the crack of dawn, 5:15am. I check the weather... 37 degrees, 10 mile winds, feels like 30 degrees. Great - What to do now? I get my pre-configured wardrobe on, which included running gloves a dry-fit beanie (new purchases!), along with a long sleeve technical t-shirt and vest, with some short shorts to match.

7:07 am:
We make it to the race. I run feverishly to the bathroom, to only discover that I left my race chip at home. Quickly I run back out to the car to find Caitlin and ask her to run back to the house and get my chip... I can't run the race without one. Alas, I did find out they had additional chips, but I'm not sure how that would have registered with my name, ect... Anyway, I bought one for the series and needed it. Without a doubt, Caitlin zips to the house and back in under twenty minutes with my champion chip in tote.

8:00 am:
We're off! It's cold... The first 4 miles we're nothing but wind, cold, brisk, bone-chilling wind. I was glad I had worn the right clothes.

The hills gradually start. My pace slows a bit as I try to adjust for the conditions. Should I push it, should I?? That's what keeps popping in my head as I feverishly check my watch.

Somewhere around mile 5 I realize the wind is now at my side, we've changed directions. I take a GU (new espresso flavor with 2X the caffeine). A smile breaks on my face. I'm past the 5K mark. My body feels good, my pace increases.

Mile 7 - the dirt road. I wish I had a camera. The sight was incredible - the road, dark and muddy brown, looked like something from a war film, but instead of soldiers in combat, I see a mile worth of runners - from the top of the hill approaching the valley where the sun is still rising to the peak nearly 3/4 of a mile away. Again, I smile and think, wow this is what the training is all about.

Miles 8-10. We hit the hill. This is the big one. Not like motive (over a mile), but steep nonetheless and not alone in the otherwise described hilly course that is Decker. I get into crunch mode, laying low using my arms to thrust my body up this pavement giant. We reach the top. I exchange a 'we're almost there' to a fellow runner, and he smiles back. We've made it. I hit another water stop and head for the final push.

To the finish...
2 miles and change to go. I'm almost there. I take another GU and I'm off.
With less than a mile to go I see Shawn, my coach and Jessie, his girlfriend. It's exactly the motivation I need to finish strong. I head to the final stretch only to hit another wall of wind whipping at my head... I snake around the final turn and see the finish line in less than 1/2 mile ahead. I stop thinking and start moving. Fast, very fast. Uncontrollably fast. I finish. Tired, cold, and very happy.

5K time: 24:37.3, pace: 7:56/M
10K time: 49:57.7, pace: 8:14/M
15K time: 1:13:43.3, pace: 8:03/M
20K time (finish): 1:37:53.4, 7:59/M


Hope you enjoyed the report! I wrote a bit more than usual, but it's race's like this that make the Distance Challenge so rewarding. Distance challenge #4 - DONE!!!!!!!!!!!

ARA 20-miler to follow on Jan. 7th. 2007 here I run.