2010 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 10K

Finally, a race to write about!  The goal for this year’s Race for the Cure was simply to put up a time from which I can base my training paces over the next 20 or so weeks as I train for the Florida Keys Ragnar Relay and the Gasparilla half marathon.  I went in with the plan to run the first 2 miles at 7 min/mile pace and see how I felt.

The traffic to the race was crowded in the morning and I found a spot in a parking garage about a half mile away.  I decided to jog from the parking garage to the race where I would meet up with Richie, Brett and some of my Ragnar Relay teammates.  Near the starting line, I ran into Richie and Brett running the other direction.

“Hey boys, what are you doing?” I asked.

“Just getting a little warmup in,” Richie replied.

I joined up and we ran along at about 8 min/mile pace out along the course and back for about 2.5 miles.  My legs felt very light and the weather was wonderful.  When we returned to the start, I stopped to stretch while they put in another half mile.  In the corral, I ran into Scott and Meredith who were planning on running between 8-9 min/mile pace.

Eventually, Richie and Brett returned and Drew popped up outside the starting corral.  He wasn’t running this year since he’s running the Portland marathon next weekend.  We chatted for a while and I asked him his goal for Portland.

“2:45”, he replied with the caveat that he’s been training a lot on the treadmill this summer.

Soon, we counted down to the start, the start was delayed, we counted, delayed again, and finally we were off.

I’m cruising behind Richie and Brett out of the starting corral.  The pace feels easy even though we’re moving along at about 6:30 min/mile.  Richie is chatting the whole way referring to himself in the third person as “coach” while Brett argues for a faster pace.  Through the first half mile, we make small surges then fall back trying to find our pace.  We make a left turn and head to the end of the St. Petersburg Pier.  I miss the official 1 mile marker, but my Garmin reads 7:00 exactly as it records the first mile.  I report the time to Richie and Brett and we make a lap around the building.

On the other side, they pick up the pace, Richie obviously excited about something as he gesticulates with his hands while making a point to Brett.  They’re about 5 yards ahead of me as I’m holding the 7:00 min/mile pace.  They look back, I remark that they’ve sped up and they ease up, allowing me to catch them.  Shortly, we run up on a young lady at the base of the Pier.  Through Richie’s banter, we find out her name is Leslie and Richie encourages her to stay with our little pack.

My Garmin reads 13:48 through 2 miles, but the 2 mile mark is nowhere to be seen.  We finally see it as we run through a water station 2 miles up the road.  Brett and Richie surge ahead again, leaving Leslie and me about 5 yards behind.  Brett is clearly feeling good and he’s ready to kick the pace up a notch.  Richie goes with him.

“Hey coach, your shoe’s untied” says Leslie.

“Yeah, I’ll stop here, you guys keep going”.

Richie stops and ties his shoe as we pass him.  Brett is about 10 yards ahead now and I’ve pulled a short distance ahead of Leslie.  Soon, Richie flies past me to catch Brett.  They make a left and head up the incline of 1st avenue south.  It’s a familiar route from last winter’s marathon training.  Brett surges up the “hill” and Richie falls off the pace.  I focus on maintaining my 7 minute miles and come through the 3 mile mark (which is actually in the right place) just under 21 minutes.

Up near Tropicana Field, we make a hair pin turn.  Brett is close to 100 yards ahead of me now and Richie is about 50 yards ahead.  I turn and head back down hill.  I look for other people in the crowd on the other side of the road.  Suddenly, Scott pops out, crosses the cones and gives me a high five before popping back into the crowd of people.  It gives me a little charge of energy and I pick up the pace.  I cross the 4 mile mark in about 27:40.

A half mile later, I pass the sign marking 4 miles.  Thankfully, I’ve got the Garmin.  If I were timing myself with a regular watch, I’d be pretty messed up right now.  After a long time of running pretty much by myself, I’m starting to catch some people and I’m now running in a small group.  At the bottom of the hill, we make a left turn and the course flattens out again.  I surge past the group and toward a woman and man running just ahead of me.  I can see Richie in the distance with 4 or 5 other runners, but Brett has disappeared.  I pass the 5 mile mark (which is in the right spot) in about 34:25.

I’m running with a woman and a man now and the woman surges to pass the man.  I tell myself that I’ve got to go with her and I dig down to accelerate passed.   Once we’re clear of the other guy, she eases off and I settle in just behind her.  After about a quarter mile, I put in a surge and pass her.  I can hear her breathing pick up as she makes an effort to stay with me, but I sustain my surge with the aim to catch the group 100 yards ahead.

I can no longer hear the woman’s breathing as I slowly pull some distance on the group ahead.  I can see that Richie is in this group.  We make a right turn back toward the bay and close in on the 6 mile mark.  I’m about 20 yards behind the group now as Richie stops at the  mile mark, circles around and says,

“Go get em Brian”.

I speed up just a little and catch on the group members as two other surge ahead toward the finish.  I pass the first guy and make a left into the finishing chute when I suddenly acquire the most painful stitch I’ve ever felt.  It’s like I’m being stabbed through my lowest two ribs while a 300 pound man sits on my chest.  I can only take very short breaths.  I think about yelling at Alice not to let anyone pass her in the finishing chutes of her cross country races.  All I can think about is heeding my own advice.  I run the last part of the race nearly holding my breath with the sole mission of getting across the finish line before the guy I’ve just passed.  The pain is excruciating and I keep telling myself it will end as soon as I cross the line.

I beat the guy to the line, finishing in 43:06.  The pain doesn’t end, though.  I slow to a walk and take sharp little gasping breaths as I stumble to the water table and meet up with Brett.  It takes about 2 minutes for the stitch to slowly let up, allowing me to breathe normally again.

The race itself was pretty successful.  I was more than 30 seconds slower than last year, but I averaged 6:52 min/mile so basically stayed with my goal.  Now I’ve got a good baseline from which to start my more serious training.

As for the week, it went like this:

Monday: 6 miles easy

Tuesday: 3 miles easy

Wednesday: 5 miles easy

Thursday: Off

Friday: Off + jogging at cross country meet (maybe 2 miles)

Saturday: 3 miles warmup + 6.2 mile race

Sunday: Off

Total: 25ish miles.

Categorized as Races


  1. richie is kind of annoying… he can hold conversation at a tough pace and he just loops around as if he’s on an easy run! so not fair 🙂

    congrats on your race. didn’t you have another one where you got bad side-stitches?

  2. Nice report and good race Brian. Really cool to run with you on Saturday too. We need to get the group back together for some training runs. Give you something to write about if Richie is there, for sure!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *