Swim: 0 m/112,725 m
Bike: 13.8/1,337.6 miles
Run: 6.2/612.4 miles
Yesterday morning I officially closed my 2011 racing season the way it began – with a PR. It’s the perfect ending to a season that has been, without question, the most rewarding and productive I’ve had since I started running almost 7 years ago. I participated in eight events this year – three triathlons and five running races – and set a PR in each of the four races that was an event or distance I had run previously (obviously, this was my first year for some of the races, so the PRs were guaranteed).
Yesterday’s event – the annual RRRC Turkey Trot – is a different kind of race. It’s a 10k that’s run mostly on paved roads with a few trails thrown in, but the course is so hilly and challenging that I’ve never compared it to other 10ks. This was my fifth year running this race, and almost every year I’ve run it several minutes slower than my spring 10k, even though it comes after a full season of training when, ostensibly, I should be at a higher level of fitness. People always say this course is not a place to set a PR.
Yesterday I set a PR, and not just for this particular race (by more than 4 minutes) – I set a new PR for the distance by finishing almost a minute faster than I did at the pancake-flat Monument Avenue 10k in April. Of course, the issue here is that my 10k PR was terribly outdated, even though it was set earlier this year. I’ve improved so much in the past six months that there really isn’t a question that I would be able to beat it. I just haven’t run any more 10k races since then. And I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it on this course because of its leg-draining topography.
I’ll avoid a blow-by-blow description of yesterday’s race. In a nutshell, I ran hard and was happy with my pace. The hills were, um, challenging but I held steady. I tried to take advantage of the downhills to help my overall time. I passed lots of people, even late in the race, and got passed some, too. I finished in 42:21 for an overall pace of 6:49. Here are my splits (I missed the Mile 5 marker so miles 5 and 6 are combined):
6:49, 6:41, 7:02, 7:01, 13:34 (6:47 pace), 1:13 (5:47 pace)
I placed 43 out of 1,343 finishers, and 5 out of 90 in my age group.
This race is a runner’s race. Every year it sells out early, and it attracts people who “know.” Many people are from training teams who have recently finished their fall marathons or other goal races. Everyone there seems to have a shirt from another event. And, despite it being a late-season race that takes place on a holiday, there is usually a big contingent of very fast runners. It’s always a lot of fun and I usually run into some running friends that I don’t otherwise see during the year.
Another thing that made yesterday’s race special was the fact that my dad and brother participated, too. My brother finished shortly after I did (a fact which I won’t soon let him forget) and we then backtracked to find my dad a little after the 5-mile mark. He had taken a spill earlier in the race and had blood streaming from both knees but still kept his head in the game and finished strong. I enjoyed helping to bring him in the last mile (although he didn’t need my help!).
I can’t think of a better way to end this season – scoring a PR on a tough course and sharing the day with my family. And, as they say, when one door closes, another opens. This was also a great way to kick off my new training cycle, which begins in just a few more days.