I realize I may have left you hanging, the other day. If you want to catch up with the story, you can find it here.
So, what did I find when I opened the car door?
And I am not talking about your garden variety, tussle your hair breeze, I mean slam the door in your face wind. And cold.
Cold enough that figuring out what to wear was an immediate concern. Luckily, I always bring lots ( some would say too much ) of clothes. But, my dilemma is that I would be freezing to start and way too hot 5 kms in.
As it happens, this course has a unique design where we circle back through the start/finish area after the first 5km. So, emergency averted, I could drop any extra layers after the first 5km.
After picking up our race packets, we had an hour to burn before the race began. So, lot’s of time to second guess yourself. Or if you are a nervous racer, like Owen, to take a trip to the porta-potties.
And the wind would just not relent. I had come to terms that I would be running at least part of this race in a hoodie. I always struggle with how to dress. On one hand I knew that once I started moving that I would be warm enough, but on the other what if I was too cold to begin? Would I strain something?
Surprisingly, the hour went by fast enough. Normally I would be too busy fretting about race strategy and if I have fueled right. Don’t even get me started on second guessing my tapering. But, this race I was different. Calm and cool even. What was the big difference? Well actually there were two big differences.
Firstly, I had a plan. Today I was going out nice and slow and speeding it up so that I could run a nice negative split. I figured a conservative 5:20 per km would be just what the doctor ordered for the first 5km and then I could start to amp things up. Besides, that should allow me to stalk Owen and pick my spot.
Secondly, this is the first race I would be running with music. The fact that I don’t run with music on race days is a little strange to me. Since, most training days include it. But, some races don’t even allow it, and most expect you to keep it to one ear bud. This makes perfect sense on single track trail runs. You see, it is hard to pass on single track. So, it is expected that you can hear people approaching and asking to pass. Anyways for this race, I was going to keep my energy up by using the right music, carefully selected at the right beat to keep my pace where I wanted.
So, without any stress, the last hour before the race flew by. I soon found myself lined up behind the start line with the other half marathoners. We all did the pre-race shuffle, where we try to size up where we belong. Certainly not at the front, but no way do we want to be at the rear. Like most races, it seemed like everyone wanted to be in the middle.
I found a good placing and fiddled with my iPhone. I wore it in an arm sleeve that was under my hoodie. So, I had hoped that I had the right music cued up or I was not going to be sticking to the “Plan”. Luckily, the non-stressed pre-race Rick was prepared and it seemed to be ready.
And then out of nowhere.”3 – 2 – 1” “GO!”. Like a shot the entire field surged forward.
I hit play on my music and fell into my stride. And it was working I felt GREAT! I was passing people all the way up the first little slope.
“Wow” I thought “They must be really pacing themselves”. After all I had practiced my pace. I wouldn’t make that rookie mistake of running too fast too soon.
A quick look down at my watch to confirm my pace.