A.M. Provo City Half, 1:15:29, 5th place.
Warmed up 3.3 to the race, some of it with Seth Wold. He was running the 5 K, but that did not make things much easier in the half.
Coming into the race I expected to have very minimal chances for prize money. On one hand I am still not 100% recovered from the ear infection. On the other hand the economic decline is pushing more runners to race for money, so the races are more competitive.
Some race directors use the phrase "a chance to win" in reference to prize money. I just have to take a jab at that, too tempting to pass it by. Read my lips, there is no chance unless you are very very fit. And once you are, it is not a chance, it is a certainty. The race is 95% decided before it starts. This should be obvious, but many people still do not quite get it.
When a runner is perpetually out of shape, he once in a while experiences "miraculous" breakthroughs, gets 10-20 minute PRs, and beats people that he could never beat. Because of those experiences he thinks he might have a chance. But a consistent runner knows better, or at least should know better. If you've seen no signs of better fitness in training, it is very unlikely that they will magically appear in a race. If they do, usually no miracle happened. The runner or his coach just do not quite know how to read the training.
I say "usually" because I believe Moroni 7:35 "...has the day of miracles ceased?" Miracles do happen today. I have seen a few. But they do not happen on a whim. God has to have a purpose to make it happen. We have to have the faith to back up the purpose. We have to understand the purpose and be sufficiently humble in asking for it. When it comes to running, it would serve us well to understand the natural laws behind running fast and follow them first before asking for a miracle that will allow us to run faster than what we have currently earned through training. Even when the result fits with His plan, God rarely intervenes with His powers until we have exhausted our abilities.
So at the start we had Jeff, Nick, and Shin, plus there was a rumor of Mike Vick, so I was not wrong in my expectations. They say there is more than one way to skin a cat. Today I was going to be the cat to be skinned, and I had a choice on the method. I could run evenly paced, run 1:14, and get nothing. Or I could go out hard until failure, then coast in, run 1:15, and still get nothing. I chose the latter because I wanted a better view of the leaders.
The weather was not great, but could have been worse. My slowest mile was 6:02 into a headwind. Not sure how this compares with last year. Headwind is very deceptive. Hard gusts are fairly harmless compared to a fairly mild but steady blowing. Direct headwind is much worse than cross-wind, but it is hard to tell which one you are getting and when. The only way to judge the conditions is empirically by comparing performances, but we do have a curve ball there. Jeff is in better shape and ran tactically, Nick has not run a long race in a while, Shin ran a marathon 2 weeks ago, Mike has not run a long race in a while, and started late in this race, who knows what kind of shape I am in, and Mary Ann is in better shape. The only thing I can say that the conditions did not make the race faster.
Iain Hunter came to be a volunteer rabbit for the first few miles. The first mile marker came in 5:00, and the consensus was that it was short. Iain's GPS said 5:09, Mary Ann's GPS said the mile marker was 7 seconds too short. I can believe 5:07-5:09 based on the effort. 2 miles came in 10:22, and the marker was painted on the road, so I believe it. At that point, we had Iain pacing, then Nick, Jeff, and Shin. I thought the finish order would be Jeff, Nick, Shin, and me. I was not aware that Mike was actually in the race.
12:00 into the race my legs started getting tired even though my breathing was fine, the realization of the misery of running hard 10 miles after racing a 5 K began to enter my mind, and I decided 10:22 for 2 miles was good for today. So I backed off. So did Iain. I asked him to pace me, and he did. 3 miles in 15:59, 15:53 for the leaders. They backed off as well as the headwind began to pick up.
At this point I was done with the speed portion of my workout and now I had three purposes of running further: a) flash the blog shirt at the finish b) get in a long tempo and c) retrieve my clothes that were in Seth's car.
Iain bailed out at 4 miles (22:41), then I coasted through a mile in 5:59 into a headwind, 27:40 at 4. Then 5.5 the rumor of Mike materialized. Turned out he had started late. I decided one more interval would be good to do my legs in. So I followed him. He was going about 5:20 into a headwind. I made it with him to 6 miles in 33:21 and my legs said, no, time for a break. So I slowed down to 6:00. Mike just kept going. At this point I knew the correct finish order: Jeff, Nick, Mike, Shin, then me. Poor Shin, I thought, hard race, no money. But he is OK, he owns a company in Orem, he can handle that.
The rest of the race was rather uneventful. I did a 6:02 mile into a strong headwind, and after that ran slightly sub-6:00. Tried to pick up at the end, but the legs were tired from the "intervals" earlier.
Jeff gave Nick a surprise in the last mile. Surprise for Nick, that is, but we already knew that Jeff had that surprise in him from his training. 5:03 turning it on only about a quarter into it. 20 second gap in less than one mile. Jeff, as humble as he is, asked me if that mile was maybe short. I told him, no, the marks were painted, I ran it in 5:51, Nick ran it around 5:20, it was correct.
1:10:38 for Jeff, new course record, $350 cash plus a watch of supposedly high value, but in practice difficult to sell, maybe that is why it is being given as a prize, the jewelry store gets some advertising in exchange for unwanted merchandise. Plus a dinner for two for the course record, an impromptu bonus from the race director. Not bad for running the race tactically as proven in the last mile. Then Nick 1:10:58 ($100), Mike 1:12:04($50) gun time, who knows what would have happened had he started on time, but starting on time is part of the race rules. Then Shin 1:13:00 ($0), and me 1:15:29 ($0).
1:19:51 for Mary Ann, new course record by almost 2 minutes, she lived up to her last name again pouring a shower of hammers on her competition and winning the race by almost 12 minutes.
Both Jeff and Mary Ann PR'ed in the cash department winning more than they ever have in one race, and both needed that PR in this economy.
Even though I got outclassed from the money, I feel happy because Jeff and Mary Ann did so well. This year I am learning how to be equally happy about the success of my training partners as if it were my own.
We hurried to get Jeff's award, then found Seth, got my clothes out of his car, then cooled down 1.3 to my house barely in time for the General Conference.
P.M. Busy afternoon and evening, went to the Conference Center to do the backup for the Russian translation. Then Priesthood session in the evening. So kids ran around the block, Benjamin 2.1 in 15:42, Jenny ran 2 miles with Sarah, Julia 1.05 miles.