America, April 30, 2006
My best time ever - a blazing 43:54!!
It's 7:30am when I finally leave the house. I am running a little late, but I'm not worried. Its Sunday morning and I am on my bicycle - I can make it to Ohio Drive SW in 10 minutes tops. Still, I am a nervous.
Not about flying down 16th Street, running red lights with abandon, not about tiring out before I make my destination, and definitely not about working up a sweat in the process. No, I'm happy to get warmed up this way, for today is a big day.
Today is the 23 Annual Sallie Mae Fund 10K and the official start of my summer triathlon racing season. Yes, I know a 10K is only a running race, not the swim, bike, run of a triathlon, but like the St. Patrick's Day 10K, it is my annual fitness check.
This run is my marker, my litmus test to see how far I've slacked in the off season and how hard I'm training now. Each year for the past three, I've checked my run in this race. If I do well, I know I can focus on the bike and the swim, confident the run is already ready. If I do poorly, I know I am in trouble.
Arriving at the Start Line without bike trouble, I grab my race number and get in the bathroom line. Long it is, slow it moves, the Port-a-Potty dance is another annual tradition, one I could live without.
This year, I exit just as I hear the announcer start the race and I dash across the race course to get past the pack and into the start gate. As always, I wait for all the runners to start before I do. With electronic chips on our ankles, it doesn't matter when we start, the computer will time us each, individually, to the second, and I hate starting in a crowd.
After a full two minutes, I make my start. Feeling good, I click on my Garmin Forerunner 205 to track my speed and distance to the meter as I cross the start line. I pass the walkers and the slackers as I hit my stride.
Soon I am up with the pack and the fun begins. Passing on the left, right, and right in between, I speed through the congestion with ease and joy. One of the best benefits of starting last is the joy of passing everyone else. And pass everyone I do. The entire race.
As I pass, I enjoy the view. Hotties, beauties, babes of all backgrounds are in this race, and my only regret is my competitive streak doesn't let me stop to talk. I do see a couple, he obviously chilling to run at her pace, and I am envious. I wish I had a hottie to run with, and more to the point, wish that if I did, I could restrain myself like he. Me, I would be passing her in a flourish.
Pass more I did until a overly tattooed runner tried to pass me. Pacing him, I ran on his heels until at 8KM, he couldn't keep up his pace. There I saw my good friend Scott, and laughed with joy as we ran for the next kilometer, neck and neck.
Then it was the bridge, and the finish line called. Heat I put on and Scott I left to run with overly tattooed. Heat then fire, I crossed the finish is my trademark all-anaerobic full sprint, 43:58 after I crossed the Start line.
43:54, or just seconds over a 7 minute mile pace, and my best 10K yet! The 2006 triathlon season is looking up and now I'm hungry. What would be my post race breakfast?
A Krispy Kreme or two for me thanks. Before you judge, I was not alone. Donuts went long before fruit or power bars. Also, after a roof deck tanning session recovery, it's off on a 30K triathlon training bike ride. Donuts are the reason I tri - so I can eat whatever I want, guilt free!
Now if I can only find my stuff in the crazy, chaotic, and completely unorganized bag check. Every year it's the same headache, all our stuff in clear bags randomly strewn in a pile. Still, it's free and better than running with it. Once I'm reunited with my gear, its off to a real breakfast and that welcomed roof top tanning nap.
Till next year...