My first race today in over 6 months. Man, was it good to be out there.
The weather was absolutely perfect. Like usual I got there 2 minutes before the start. The officials were actually going to let me in to the red section, up near the front. (Usually, if you're not there 15 minutes early you have to head to the back.) I told them I was way out of shape and needed to go to the back anyway. I ended up joining in a few sections back. It seemed to work out well as I had plenty of space to run.
Not to bore you with details, but basically I ran without music, and just paid attention to my breathing. I was able to keep things controlled the entire race. (Actually interesting to hear people huffing it out right from the first mile.) I've been running about 9:30 pace lately, and I just tried to stay comfortable out there.
I hit the first mile marker at 8:52 and was somewhat surprised. I still felt pretty good. The second mile didn't have the hill that the first did, and I hit the mile marker at 8:33. Wow. The third mile had some slow elevations, and I started to feel a little tired. I could see my HR heading into the 170's. (First time I've worn my HR monitor in who knows how long.) I think I slowed down just a touch to make sure I'd have enough left to finish strong. Third mile went by in 8:50. As I headed into the last mile I felt ready to take it on. I started pushing a bit, but not too much. At about 3.5 miles I was really feeling it, but was determined to finish strong. I held on until I turned the last corner and really poured it on for the finish. Final mile went by in 8:17.
Final time was 34:34 for an 8:38 pace. Not close to my PR (not even in the same ballpark), but much faster than I've been running in training. It's just incredible how a race can help you do that.
Anyway, here's the pictorial representation:
Comfortable start, fast second mile, slowed a touch for the third, strong finish to the end.
HR controlled until mile 3, somewhat steady in the low 170's and then a climb in that last push. I was back to 140 within a few minutes of the race, but above 100 for at least an hour. Will need to keep an eye on that.
In the end, it was a great day. Nothing triumphant, but a good reminder of what it's like. I probably won't do a lot of races in the next few months, until I get in better shape. But here and there I'll do a few. In the meantime I need to get back into better shape.