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Wild Rumpus Sports

Slow 10 km

Four months ago when I last blogged, I think I mentioned that my next planned race was the Rotterdam Marathon. My plans did not work out. After a 1:14 half marathon time-trial one afternoon, I was feeling confident. Then I went to Ramsau for February Break and did a ton of nordic skiing, which also felt great. When I came back, I had severe pain in my IT band. For a while I was down to running about five miles every other day. There have been twists and turns dealing with the injury, but I am just now feeling like it might be behind me.
And despite reduced mileage I have had lots of training hours – a huge skiing week in Norway at Easter and lots of biking to fill in the missing running. My track workouts have been solid, I have felt fit, and so I went into Saturday’s 10 km road race thinking a personal best could be in the cards. The plan was to go out around 5:00 pace, maintain as long as I could, and once a PB was out of the question, start racing to win.
I went out in second place in the race behind a runner who didn’t look to serious. Around 3/4 of a mile I was caught by two more serious runners, and we hit the mile in a pack at 4:57. I made a small surge to take the lead and only one runner came with. I race what I knew was not quite five minute pace but was still shocked to see us hit 2 miles in 10:19. But I stuck with my race plan and started racing for the win, letting the runner on my tail take over pace-setting duties. We were even slower in the third mile (I will note here in my defense that it was 77 degrees and 98% humidity, so not optimal for fast running). I pulled a bit in the fourth mile to test my rival, but let him lead again when it was clear I wasn’t going to surge away.
Then, at about 4 and a quarter, he dropped about a 65 second 400. I had no response, and just watched him put an 80+ meter gap on me. I did glance back once, but focused on a consistent finish. I actually pulled back a little of the gap and finished in 33:50, just 10 seconds down to Jon Greene, who ran 13:45 for 5000 m on the track this spring. I also held off Jim Johnson by 23 seconds, ending his perfect record in 40+ running competitions while keeping my own alive.
Compared with last year at this time, I think this is a slight improvement, but it is still disappointing. I will try to blog after Loon Mountain next week.

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