|Getting ready. Enjoy the bed-head.|
We picked up our neighbor Joseph and headed to the start. I parked in the Tulane parking garage, and we jogged less than a mile to the start - then I wandered around trying to get into my corral. There were ten corrals, and I finally discovered that the three seeded corrals were entered from the other side of the street, and I had to loop all the way around the back to get there. We'd arrived at 7:30, but by the time I got to my corral, it was 7:50, and I barely had time to say hello to runners I knew before the starting announcements began. Right before then, the volunteers dropped the barricades, and the front (seeded) corrals merged into one group: we all started with the gun, then each following corral started with an air horn at two minute intervals. This was new for the CCC, but it really smoothed the start out.
I didn't have much of a race plan, just wanting to run a strong effort, but avoid pain and avoid anything strenuous. It's too early to stress this hip. At the gun, the speedy runners next to me bolted, but I moved to the side and controlled my pace. I let everyone pass me, and before long, the colors of the bibs around me changed - from pink, to gray, and eventually to orange and green. No big deal. I relaxed. Or relaxed as much as I could: there was a cold headwind to fight. I hit mile one at 7:30 exactly (race clock) and, since that had felt slow, decided to bump it up a touch each mile. Garmin: 7:23.
But mile two wasn't the time for speeding up. The wind hit us strong in this section! It was tough going, and I could hear runners around me give a collective "Oof!" as we hit the wind. 7:22.
I noticed several young boys were running this race, and I talked to one of them at mile three. He was nine years old and told me that his goal was 46 minutes. Seriously cute. He told me, "I don't want to race too much, because I need to save some for high school. I think I'll be a beast in high school" - oh my gosh. Hilarious. Mile three: 7:18.
Mile four was the last mile along Esplanade Avenue. There was some wind cover on Esplanade as long as you ran by large houses; every cross street or a smaller home let the gusts hit you. But I still felt fine. I grabbed a beer from some firemen handing them out at mile four; it wasn't very easy to drink, though. 7:15.
I noticed now that I was indeed taking two or three seconds off per mile, and still felt like this was a very easy pace. We turned onto City Park avenue, and I struck up a conversation with a runner friend of mine taking it easy. He actually biked 100 miles the day before! So he didn't have a lot of juice in his legs - we chatted, and I felt like we slowed way down to talk, but actually this was the one small section with a slight tailwind, and I ran 7:13.
Then I hit mile 6 and decided I might as well kick a little. Just a little. I passed a few people at the last minute, even though it felt silly to do so, for a 6:30 final 0.2. Time: 45:16, but fun all the way.
|Also fun: freezing to death in a garbage bag after the race.|