It’s been a rough month.  After finally getting my BQ in January, a couple weeks after that I was in bed for days with a confirmed case of flu.  That was followed up with bronchitis.  Needless to say my running took a major hit.  Almost 4 weeks after and my HR and pace were still super high.  I say all that to say I had zero expectation for a good result at the Charlotte 10-miler on Saturday.  The only thing I knew going in was that the course is awesome, mile 9 hurts like hell, mile 10 is super fast and the weather was perfect.

I ran this race in 2013 and absolutely loved the course and the distance.  That year I ran a 1:10:23 as part of a 20m training run.  It’s very unique for sure.  Not as lung busting as a 5k but not as aerobic as a marathon.  On my way down I wondered if 700 pace was a reasonable goal.  I honestly had no idea.  My legs were good because they’ve done practically nothing meaningful in almost  a month.  I just didn’t know if my lungs would be up for it.  I decided to go out with 700 pace in mind, see how my body responded and go from there.

The gun sounds and although I’d tucked back a few rows from the front with Derek and Barrie I found myself running a bit too quick for comfort.  Coming through about a half mile the hill helped me dial my 630 pace back to 700.  As I assessed the situation at mile 1 (706) I was pleased.  Mile 2 was right on track at 700 exactly.  Mile 3 back on the Greenway was hard packed surface and in good shape.  Came up on a group strung out across the Greenway when I found myself off the left shoulder of Théoden.  As we rounded a corner, he glanced back and said, “Sorry” as he thought he had cut me off, but he really hadn’t.  I said, “No problem, I’m just running like there is a bassett hound biscuit at the finish line.” He smirked, but I couldn’t tell if he was able to sense the sarcasm or just thought I was being an $#%hole. If you have no idea why I made the comment I made, see his article.

After hitting (655, 656, 659) I came through halfway at 34:31 and I was feeling quite good.  I decided to push a little more the second half.  I knew 9 was coming but wanted to focus on 6, 7, 8 and 10.  I continued to push (644, 648, 648) heading into mile 9.  It’s a good thing it had been a few years since I ran this race because I forgot just how bad it was.  I did recall it wasn’t the whole mile that sucked just about the last half.  So, I am feeling good but bracing myself as I see the beginning of the hill.  I think, stay loose, keep your butt under you and keep your cadence high but don’t try to push too hard here.  I was doing well and felt like I was almost done with Elm Ln as we made the final turn.  WHAT?! There’s more and it’s WAY steeper than what I just finished running.  Yeah, I forgot about that part.  Legs were definitely burning but I was able to salvage a 708 pace for the mile.

Finally back on to FLAT Endhaven Ln.  The best news is that there were two guys possibly in my age group within distance.  What would I do?  Would I let them go or try to dig deep and pick them off one at a time?  It was time for some ‘Sustain the Pain’ Reckless Running on the streets of Charlotte.  I set my sites on victim #1 and picked him off fairly easily running just about a 600 pace.  The next guy was going to be more work.  I was reeling him in but wasn’t sure if there was enough road left.  I dug deep and went under the 600 mark for a bit and got victim #2 with about .25 to go.  I could improve position no more but I felt great with a 613 last mile.  As far as I’m concerned this race was a great success with 2+ minute PR for the distance at 1:07:57 and a good negative split.  It gave me confidence I might still have a chance next month to try to improve my BQ time.  Great race that I’ll definitely run again.

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Finishing Strong, 1:07:57 chip time.  PR!

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Great crew from DART and this was only a portion of us!

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