Wednesday, January 10, 2007

ARA 20 Miler

January 7th, 5:00am: Woke up, ate and hit the road with Caitlin snuggled up half asleep in the passenger seat. The race started at 8:00am in San Marcos.

Miles 1-5: This isn't so bad! The weather was perfect, cool (but not too cold) with some light wind. My pace is around 7:30ish... I try to back off, as I know this isn't the race to 'push it'. With 3M only a few weeks away, and AT&T around the corner, I settle back to my slightly sub 8:00 min pace and hit cruise control.

Miles 5 -10: We've got hills. Rolling hills, some ups and downs. All the while, I feel strong, and am taking in fluids and gels routinely on time. I'm feeling good.

Miles 10 -15: We've hit the turnaround... man this racing is going fast. I feel my pace slip a bit, I take a gel and I'm back to business. Bud, a friend from work, cruises by on his bike to offer some crew help. With a smile, I give him two of my 8 oz. water bottles and he shoots up to the next station to fill them up. I've learned any run over 13.1, it's good to carry fluids with you. That way you can stay hydrated on your own schedule.

Miles 15 -18: It's starting to look like a death march. I'm feeling fine. The gels are keeping me up. I'm down to one bottle of fluid left, and I'm passing some of the people I've been running neck to neck with the whole race. It seemed that some runners either bonked after mile 15, or just can't stand to run the last few hills. Really the majority of people I pass are starting a run / walk method. This is crazy to me. How could you be on pace for 18 miles then start walking. I ask a runner how he feels next to me, with a sigh he says 'IT band issues...', I give him a brief smile and word on encouragement then I'm on my way.

Mile 19 - Finish: Strong winds + hills after 19 miles = no fun. I see the final turn, then the finish line. I bolt with a rush of energy. The announcer reads my bib number and name over the loud speaker as I throw my hand in joy while approaching the finish line. He then says, 'Peter Williams must have also been out on the course playing some flag football'. For the life of me, I still can't figure out what he meant, but I imagine it had to do with the funny look on my face, and the way I was waving my arms (like I was shooting two guns in the air). Hell, I was happy, I just ran 20 miles in 2:42. That's the fastest I've ever ran such a distance.

ARA 20 miler DONE!!!! Yippee! 3M's next on 1/28. It's my PR Half Marathon race. Can't wait to hit the road!