Another Charlottesville 10-Miler is in the books. This one was #12 for me, or maybe #13. The only way I can keep track these days is by my race t-shirts, and the shirts from the first few years have long since been turned into dustrags.
My training had been sporadic enough that I knew a PR was unlikely unless I was willing to push myself to the point of injury, and in light of another adventure that I have planned for 3 weeks hence (more on that later), I didn’t want to do that. I just wanted to have an enjoyable race; one that wouldn’t leave me out of commission for several days afterward.
The only complicating factor was The Monster that I had created after last year’s race. He had been gunning for me for a solid year – training hard and talking untold amounts of smack. I had barely beaten him the year before, and I knew that he had both the motivation and the training on his side for this year’s race. I didn’t see a happy ending for either of us if we ran together – we’d probably push so hard that we’d both crash before seeing the finish line. My best chance was to hold back for the first half, then pick it up for the second half and see if I could catch and pass him with no gas left in his tank. That was the plan, anyway.
My daughter and I arrived at the start, and after giving her a quick hug (it had to be quick; her friends were watching), we parted ways to take our respective places in the growing throng of runners lining up at the start. I squeezed my way into the crowd a bit closer to the starting line than I typically do. I wasn’t planning on a kamikaze pace, but I didn’t want to have to waste too much time zig-zagging past slower runners. I looked around for The Monster, but didn’t spot him.
A couple of minutes later, and we were off. I’ve run this course so many times that it’s really almost routine, but it remains my favorite road race. I felt good through mile 6 – going somewhat faster than planned, but nothing too worrisome. Mile 7 was a bit of a challenge, as it often is for me on this course, but I was able to push through and even speed up a bit for the last couple of miles. I wound up finishing a couple of minutes off of last year’s time, but I was satisfied nonetheless.
Still no sign of The Monster. Where was he?
I found out via text message an hour or so later. He smoked me – big time – by 7 minutes.
I was happy for him.* He had put in the work; he deserved to win. Besides, there’s always next year.
In the meantime, other challenges await.
*I was also happy for my daughter. She cut 9 minutes off of her PR! It won’t be long before I’m going to be racing The Daughter as well as The Monster….