Thought for the Day

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Desert Classic 30K 2004

t was beautiful cool morning out in the desert east of Scottsdale. No mile markers no splits. I set out thinking anything under 2:30 would be great considering I ran the Tucson Marathon 13 days ago. But I had no idea what my pace was. I knew I wasn't doing too bad because:
a) I didn't feel like I was dying.
b) I didn't get lapped on the loop we did 3 times.
c) I lapped a few people.
Yeah, we didn't really do what you'd really call a loop. We ran back and forth over the same section of canal bank six times, one way, then the other, then back the way we came...
Not the most exciting course. The canal bank is basically a wide dirt road, cotton fields on one side, the canal on the other. Pretty much a straight line, absolutely flat.
We started out at the college, ran down the street to where we could turn onto the canal, out and back and out and back.... I was really glad when we finally got to go back onto the pavement toward the school.
One of the things about a course like this that doubles back over itself is that you see almost everyone in the race, the speedsters in the front, and the people struggling in the back. Today I was proud to be a runner, proud to be in the same competition with some very athletic people, proud to be ahead of a lot of people who were well and truly racing. It was good to be out there.
Great weather, sunny and cool, but the sun was in your eyes at least half the time. I know my pace was really falling off in the last couple of miles. That's the thing about a race this long. It ends at about the point where, when I'm in a marathon, I start to ask myself, "Isn't that long enough? Why's it have to be 26.2? Why not 20? 18?"
Anyway, only three people passed me in those last miles. There were only a little over 200 runners.
My legs were complaining, and I just told myself that this was not my goal race.
I had nothing to prove and I didn't want to do anything that would take a lot of recovery time. So I didn't really try to kick in. I finished knowing I was going slower than I could.
I finished in 2:27:44, which I'm very happy with.
I was 6th in my age group, but I got a very nice finisher's button. Not a medal, button, or maybe you'd call it a pin, a little round piece of tin or aluminum with a pin on the back. I didn't expect a medal, so this was cool.

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