2009 Race for the Cure 10K

After another great quality workout this week, which I apologetically failed to blog, I was feeling a little tenderness in the groin area.  I cut my easy run on Thursday to 4 miles and my 6 mile course preview on Friday morning was cut to 2.5 miles.  I couldn’t really pin point an exact area for the pain.  It seemed to be in my groin when I was just walking around, then it would be in my thigh and finally migrate to my knee.  Based on that, I assumed that nothing major was wrong and that some of my muscles were squeezing the sciatic nerve.

I spent Friday jogging around the course at the flrunners cross country meet watching Alice and her teammates (Alice came in 23rd in the JV race with a time of 24:18).  I felt pretty good there.  When I arrived at the Race for the Cure with Raffi and Alice, we immediately ran into Denise (rundmt) outside the parking garage.  After a quick picture, we headed to the starting line.  I jogged for about a mile and then did some quick stretching as they were making announcements.

After my 5K meltdown in early September, my plan for this race was to go out intentionally slow.  My mantra was “Not a second faster than 7” for the first mile.  So, I found my place next to the “7 min/mile” sign in the starting area.  During the national anthem, I spotted Drew, with whom I had run a long run during June before his bout with shin splints.  It was good to see him at the start.  After the anthem, I wished him luck and we chatted for a few seconds before I retreated to my slower starting area.  As I was walking, a maniac flew out of nowhere, slapped my butt and gave me a hearty pat on the head.  His name is Richie and I run with him every week.

I was surprised to see Richie there.  He’s been burning up the local races lately, no doubt, but he was experiencing some calf pain earlier in the week and I thought he might take it easy this weekend.  I wished him luck too and he took his place near the front with Drew.

The gun goes off and I jog out of the gate.  I let runners pass me, confident I’ll see them again later.  After a quarter mile, I glance at my watch and see a 6:15 pace.  I back off immediately even though it feels like I’m going slow.  We run down bayshore drive along the waterfront and make a left turn onto St. Petersburg’s iconic pier.  The dust is beginning to settle and I cruise comfortably along, my legs light and my breathing easy.  I miss the 1 mile mark, but glance down at my watch shortly after where I think it should have been.  My watch reads 7:09.  Close enough, I think.

We round the end of the pier and start back down the other side.  I’m parched.  As my late grandma Betty would have said, “I’m spittin’ cotton”.  I find a group of about 5 runners and comfortably tuck into the back.  So far, so good.

At the end of the pier, we make a left back onto Bayshore.  A water station lies ahead.  I slow my pace slightly, fall into line behind 3 other guys and carefully plot my water grab.  The one I’m eying is grabbed by someone in front of me, so I shift my gaze a little further down and grab.  I’ve got it.  Now to get it down without choking.  I ring my hand around the back of the cup and pour slowly into my mouth, shifting my breathing temporarily to my nose.  I swish it around a little in my mouth and swallow.  I take another small swig and throw the cup aside.

I’ve reached the 2 mile mark in 14:07.  We take a right turn onto 1st Ave S.  The next mile is entirely uphill – a rarity in Florida.  I’ve run this section of road many times so I’m prepared for the incline.  I passed my previous group of runners at the water station, so I set my sites on the next group.  As we work our way up 1st Ave S toward Tropicana Field, I slowly reel them in.  It takes me about 4 blocks and I tuck into the back of this group of 4.  I’m still feeling great so I glance down at my watch.  7:15 min/mile.  Well, that won’t do.  I pull out to the right of the group and gradually increase my pace as I pass them.

The next group is pretty far ahead so I’m running basically solo for a while.  I pass through an intersection with some enthusiastic cheerleaders and then hit the 3 mile mark in 21:12.  I’m surprised I’ve lost 12 seconds on the 7 minute mile pace, but I feel so good that I’m not really worried about it.  There’s another water station, but I run right through.  I can see other runners coming back the other way now.  It’s not long before I see Richie.  I clap and yell out encouragement to him – so good do I feel.  Drew is about 10 yards behind him.  I do the same for him and he yells back at me.

I pass another runner just before the turn around with a burst of speed.  I tell myself to back off a little once I turn around and I do – but not for long.  We’re on a slight downhill for the next mile now and it’s time to start thinking about loosening the slack on my reigns.  I’m careful about it, only increasing my pace slightly.  I know I’ve still got about 3 miles to go and I don’t want a burnout repeat.  As I’m setting my sights on another group in front, I hear someone yell “Go Brian!”  Somewhat surprised, I look over to the other side of the course to see Denise shooting a picture of me.  I fumble to wave at the camera and yell “Go Denise” at the same time.  I’m sure the photo doesn’t look pretty.

Just before the bottom of the hill, I hit the 4 mile mark in 28:01.  That’s right.  I’m bringing some time back now.  I’m still feeling fabulous.  I let loose a little more on the reigns and focus in on the group ahead.  There are two guys wearing the same jersey, a woman with headphones and two other guys hanging on.  A guy in a white shirt is the first to fall off the back.  He’s toast and I gobble him up quickly.  The woman with the headphones is next.  I catch her and stick with her for a while.  We run side by side for about a half mile.  I finally pick up my pace and pass her just before crossing the 5 mile mark in 34:48.

Now the reigns are off.  It’s time to go get the rest of them.  I slowly pull closer to them as we run up beach drive.  We pass the television cameras and I’m only about 5 yards off the back.  The  course turns right and I go inside, passing one of the stragglers.  I’m running with the two guys in the same jersey now.  We take another right turn and one of them looks back at me.  “He’s done,” I think.  The other encourages him to kick it up, but he tells him to go ahead.

I pass him quickly and set my sights on chasing down the other, but he’s got a pretty good kick himself.  He’s about 10 yards ahead as I pass the 6 mile mark.  He’s chased down a runner ahead and we make a left to the finishing chute.  They both take off in a full sprint and I follow suit.  I pull within 5 yards as they cross the finish line.  I cross immediately after in 42:34.  The sprint induces a few little dry heaves, but nothing comes up and I’m soon feeling quite elated at running the race exactly as planned.

Although I could have run it faster, the time is a 2:21 PR for a 10K.  I’ve now got a much better idea of what pace I needs to go out in next week at Disney World.  After finishing, Alice ran up to me, high fived me and told me I beat Richie.

“Uh oh,” I said, “I didn’t pass Richie and he was well ahead of me at the 3 mile mark”.  I found Drew who finished in 38 minutes and change.  He told me that he saw Richie pull up around 4 miles.  We waited for Denise to finish (and she did so enthusiastically), then went to grab some food.  I eventually ran into Richie who said his calf wasn’t feeling right so he decided not to risk it.  He made his way to the massage tent and had it massaged.  It doesn’t sound like a major problem and he’s still got 4 weeks until New York, so hopefully it won’t derail him there.

For my part, I finished 17th overall.  There were no age group awards, but I did get a colorful plastic medal.

Categorized as Races


  1. nice job! 17th overall is awesome. sounds like you had a great pacing-time yourself this weekend. i love when the effort seems so “easy”. it sure feels like death when i try to do it in a training run alone anyway. congrats on the pr and a solid race!

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