I did it! Lucky number 1376! This morning I completed my first official run of any kind in my life, the Phoenix New Times 10k in Tempe. All said and done, it was a gas, and it feels good to say I ran 6.2 miles without stopping or complaining (unless self-talk counts). The times have yet to be officially posted, but I think I was about 65 minutes, a much better pace than I thought I would manage given my gimpy knee.
I got down to Tempe way to early, around 7:00 AM, and was surprised to find easy parking. There was lots of activity already, and first stop was oicking up a “timing chip”– a little sensor that wraps with velcro around your ankle. It records exactly when you start and finish, and is rather high tech if you ask me.
Next was meeting up with the rest of Team D at our familiar blue tent. There was lots of good energy and enthusiasm, and we were all fueled up sufficiently from the spaghetti dinner we had the night before. I ended up with still an hour to hang out, but that too, looking back went quickly.
Around 8:20 we moved to the lineup behind the start at 3rd and Mill. They ask you to get in groups according to your expected time per mile, so I had a few blocks south to walk I passed all the skinny racer types iin the 6 minute per mile group and made my way to the way back, past the 1o minunte per mile group (who looked like ordinary humans). There is no need to really crush the front as your time is measured exactly my the timing chip.
Things begain to move at 8:30, a bit of false anticipation form the back as we started running but slowing to a walk as they were staging the release. I’m drawing pretty much from memoery how it went, as it is already blurring together.
I very much planned to start extra slow and not get caught up in the race excitement, so I went slow and steady across the Mill Ave bridge across Tempe Lake. It was prety thick with runners, but not too much of a press. At Curry, we turned right, knowing there was a fairly steep hill to climb. About half way up the hill was the 1.0 mile mark, and a woman was yelling out times “14 minutes” as I passed, and my first thought is, “I am going incredably slow 14 minues a mile” before (mentally) slapping my forehead- that was the time since the fron was released and I was at least 3 or 4 minutes behind that.
The hill was almost nothing (I think the runs up Fossil Creek Road helped), and I felt good cresting the hill, and not going to fast down the other side. I was passing a good number of people, and cruised past the first water stop. There were two bands we passed up to here, early morning to be blasting out the heavy metal, but it was encouraging.
Then it was turning south on Scottsdale Road, with a gentle downhill to provide a good clip. I passed mile 2 at about 24 minutes, so I was doing 10 minute miles. Under the freeway, up the slope to the bridge again over Tempe Lake, one more rock band, and wheeee! Another nice downhill to Rio Saladu Parkway, where we turned east. I think I saw another Team D runner, but was pretty much in a focused zone. Out on Rio Salado parkway the sun was coming out in strength, and I could feel myself getting thirsty. I stayed at a good pace, and passed a 3 mile mark (the last mile was another 10 minutes) barely registereing that it was halfway.
At th enext water stop I slowed down to grab a cup of water. The woman in front of me suddenly turned to put her cup back on the table or whatever, and I crashed right into her. I ended up with about 1/2 a cup of water, just sipped it and dumped the rest on my head.
We turned south on McClintock, passed another loud band, and I was cruising pretty good, again passing a number of folks. Then it was a turn west in University, a good sign as we were headed back to the start, and somewhere noticed we had a decent tail wind. I was just telling myself, “No stopping, no stopping, you can do this.” The knee was making tiself known, but it was not severe pain, just a reminder.
This is along stretch, pretty straight, in full sun. Somewhere I slowed it down for maybe half a mile to catch some energy. One band I passed was extremely loud and I was motivated to run a bit faster just to get away from the speakers. Judging from my lack of appreciation of modern metal music, I feel damn old.
But I was running, and went past the 5 mile mark (“57 minutes” which meant about 53 or 54). It was thne up the small rise towards Arizona State University, and the last water stop (most of that went to a head dump). Fortunately, the tall campusd buildings provided some decent shade. I could see ahead the turn at College Avernue (north), and came around it feeling good. It was about less than a mile to go, and I felt a burst of energy, and picked up the pace significantly– there was nothing to save it for, as we turned west on 5th Street for the last burst to Mill Avenue. Then it was a right turn on Mill, and those lovely orange balloons and seeing Michelle and Dave cheers us near the finish line. I crossed the wire at 1:08 and am hoping that translates to about a 1:05 for my start time.
Oh man, did it feel good to say, “I did it!’ Now my knee was really getting stiff, but I did not care. Our team all did well! Go Team D!
The olny down note about the race was a lack of water available! Someone handed me a popsicle that was supposed to be some sort of frozen energy bar, and it was putrid! Like shit on a stick! I finally located some fruit juice.
It’s a couple of hours later, and I still feel a bit gimpy, but still managed to take care of some household projects, so I was not a total wreck after the 10k. Of course, someone in our group who is also doing the half marathon in January duly noted that this run today was half of that run!
But I will think about that another day.
Yep, I might be really liking running…