Summer is definitely here in Ohio. It was well above 70 and humid as I toed the line at the Eagle Run in Avon. I was feeling pretty revved up to go, but knowing that it was hot, my strategy was to be a little conservative early on and really push the last half of the race. The plan worked well as even after only a few minutes I was picking off people who sprinted out hard at the beginning. I got into a really good rhythm and hit each of my first four miles no faster than 5:50 and no slower than 6:00. There were some twists and turns in the residential neighborhoods where the race took place, but it was flat as a pancake. Absolutely zero shade though. The heat was pretty relentless. I almost never grab cups of water in races, but I did like 3 times today. Not that I stopped or anything, I just grabbed it on the run, tried to get down a sip or two and then would dump the rest on my head. After the first few miles I was pretty much in no man’s land as the top finishers were too far ahead of me other than one guy I reeled in just before the four mile mark. After hitting the 4-mile mark in 23:39, I knew I wasn’t going to destruct, so I dropped the hammer and finished in 29:13, running my last mile in 5:34. Pretty similar to the way I finished in the Northcoast Challenge last fall (also in hot and humid conditions). I ended up 10th overall and 1st in my age group by quite a bit, so I’ll take it. The old course record for 45-49 was 30:48, so it was nice to take it down.
I still have a way to go to get where I want to be this year, but I feel like I’ve crossed a hurdle. Those stomach issues I had for about a month are pretty non-existent and I feel really good heading into the Diemer 5K on June 12. I don’t know if I’m fit enough to beat my 16:58 at Diemer in 2008, but I’d like to top the 17:12 I did last year.
As for the motivational link, Running Times magazine compiles an extensive masters national road race ranking database and the 2010 standards have been published. To be included in the database, one must have to hit the following times. For my age group (45-49), I need to hit 16:55 for 5K, 28:00 for 5-miles and 35:15 for 10K. I think all of those are doable though it’s going to take some solid, consistent training. Right now my best times for 2010 are 17:24, 29:13 and 36:14, so that’s my motivation as I head out the door each morning.