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Linfield College Track 10K

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Linfield College Track 10K

Post by EugeneRunner on Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:28 pm

Every year I try to run this 10K race at a college track meet.  In 2011, it was my last race before my heart attack.  I ran great in 2012, but then missed 2013 and 2014 with a pair of major foot surgeries.

I wasn't going to try it this year, as my other foot has been really bad, causing my training to be horrible.  At 47 years old, you really need to be on your "A" game to run a track meet against a bunch of college runners.  But then I scheduled a foot surgery for March 23rd, and decided I wanted one last race before taking the rest of the year off to recover.  But I was very nervous, and certainly concerned about embarrassing myself.  I had run a 34:21 road 10K on January 1st, but my fitness has gone seriously backwards since then.  Something in the 35-36 minute range seemed like a good target, but if I overestimated my fitness or my achilles was bad, it could be a lot slower than that.  My only hope was that I was well rested (ultra-tapered) from my lack of recent training.

The weather was nearly perfect, with a slight headwind on the backstretch.  This being a night race under the stadium lights added to the intense atmosphere.  34 runners lined up at the start, and I clearly stood out as most were 19-23 years old and on college track scholarships.  As the gun went off, I quickly settled in behind a tight pack of a half dozen stragglers as the main pack quickly pulled away. I looked behind to see where I was in the field, and was surprised to see nothing but empty track.  I was dead last.

The small group in front of me was jostling back and forth, causing me to constantly have to slow down and speed up to maintain position.  I always train alone, and was having a hard time settling into a rhythm.  Although the pace was plenty fast enough, I surged to the front of our little pack just to get some clear track.  I hit the first 1600m with 5:25 showing on the big scoreboard clock.  That was well under goal pace, but I figured I would soon start to slow.  I didn't.

This was one of those magical runs where you feel light, fast, and effortless.  My left foot and achilles were hurting rather severely, but I didn't care.  I think because I look even older than I am, I have a very awkward running style, and I always look like I'm dying while running, coaches were yelling at their runners to pass me and move ahead, thinking their runners had to be going too slow if they were behind me.  But I was on a roll and picking up the pace myself.  One by one I dropped the trailing pack, and now runners were starting to crack and fall off the lead pack well ahead of me.  As runners came back I would pick them off, making a point of aggressively going by and heading after the next one.

The 5K mark came in 16:43.  "Whoa... that is super fast."  But I was still feeling strong and moving up through the field, running as fast as I dared.  My goal in a track 10K is to stay as relaxed as possible until the laps to go are down to single digits.  But as the leaders came up to lap me I found myself picking up the pace again.  With 4 miles down and 9 laps to go (single digits) the real grind started.  I still felt good, but I tried to ease back a bit to make sure I didn't crash and burn and give away a fast time.  But also, I never run a race anymore without thinking of my heart, so I took my foot off the pedal just a bit to play it safe.  

I was still passing people, and with a lap to go I started a final drive to pick off one last guy.  After the race I would find out my last lap was a remarkable 73.9 seconds.

The official result was stunning - 15th overall in 33:13.  Some of the guys I ran with early on I ended up lapping, but last place was still 34:58.  Definitely not the same as running a road race!

Mile 1600m splits were really good - 5:25.1, 5:19.5, 5:18.6, 5:17.2, 5:18.6, 5:19.9, plus 1:13.9 for the final lap.  After my very fast 16:43 first 5K, I actually sped up and ran the second 5K in 16:30.

Now the next day I'm extremely sore, especially my left foot.  So in spite of running such a great race, I'm still having surgery in 2 weeks.  That will have me various combinations of a cast, boot, and crutches for 4 months, with hopefully some light jogging in the fall.  But I'm already excited about 2016!

Last edited by EugeneRunner on Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:41 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Linfield College Track 10K

Post by LMRun on Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:24 am

You had a great run! Sorry to read you are having surgery on your foot, it's been a tough road for you. I hope this surgery is the last and that there are many good, pain free miles ahead for you.

AVR November 14, 2007
Aortic Root dacron graft

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Re: Linfield College Track 10K

Post by RoadKillBill on Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:25 am

An almost superhuman and mind-boggling performance! Very well done.

Best wishes for success and recovery from the upcoming surgery.

Mitral valve repair 2002
Cleveland Clinic

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Re: Linfield College Track 10K

Post by Dave Tuttle on Sun Mar 08, 2015 2:38 pm

Fantastic race EugeneRunner!!! And what a great way to wrap up your racing year prior to your surgery.

Good luck with the operation and let us know how you're getting on.

4X CABG Feb 17, 1999 at 46 years.
Dave Tuttle

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Re: Linfield College Track 10K

Post by Rachel August on Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:15 pm

Simply amazing - but very sorry to hear about your surgery - although you have an incredible attitude!!! Best wishes to you for a smooth easy and quick recovery.

OHS - July 15, 2011
Aortic Valve Replacement (Edwards 3300TFX) and Ascending Aortic Aneurysm Repair
Rachel August

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