While it can be wearying, one of the benefits of racing all the time is that it's not long after a disappointing race before having the possibility of bouncing back with a good one. After having a terrible run last week in the Half Ironman, today I had a very good run in the Run for the Water 10-mile road race. The second leg of the Austin Distance Challenge, this event benefits the Gazelle Foundation, which build water wells in Burundi. Thanks to a beautiful clear, cold morning (starting temperature in the 40s), my average pace was actually just a tick quicker than the first Distance Challenge event, the IBM 10K. My time today was 1:19:26, for an average pace (according to the results) of 7:57 (my watch actually said 7:54).
I only got about four hours of sleep last night after staying up to finally finish my report from last week's race. I ate breakfast and got over to the race site around 5:30, before almost everyone else it seemed. After scoping out the start area, I went back to my car and sat for a while. Even though I was wearing warm clothing, it was cool enough out that I didn't want to just be standing around for an hour. Cars started streaming into the area by 6. At 6:15 I took off my warm overclothes and jogged over to the port-o-potties. I stretched and milled about until making my way to the starting corral around 6:50. The air horn sounded just past 7, and we were off.
There were a lot of people in front of me, and most of them were not that fast out of the gate. It kept me from starting too fast, but after a quarter mile at about a 10' pace, I had to get out of the main flow of bodies and break away to some of the faster runners. I still kept myself reined in, doing the first two flattish miles in 8:16 and 8:15. From there, the course turned into a residential area with hilly roads. According to my watch, mile three was uphill, but it was pretty gradual, so I didn't feel it that much. Mile four was relatively flat. I did those two in 8:08 and 8:00, maybe a little faster than I should have, but I was still feeling good. Mile five had a huge downhill, where I used gravity to help me have huge strides. There was a similar uphill shortly after to moderate my average pace. I took some advice I once got, and tried to use a consistent effort uphill, rather than try to maintain a consistent pace. I finished mile 5 in 8:00. Mile six was also quite hilly, ending with a long but not super steep uphill, and a time of 8:05. Other than a few small hills, it was pretty much downhill from that point, and I was able to bring my pace down even further. Miles seven and eight were both 7:49. Other than a blister or two on my left foot, I was feeling good at that point, and wasn't concerned when I realized I was going even faster on mile nine. I finished it in a time of 7:29. I didn't think I could go much faster than that, but it turns out mile ten was probably one of my quickest ever in a race (haven't checked the data), a 7:12. I crossed the line and was super psyched to find that I had blown through my goal of 1:20-1:30 and averaged a sub-8 minute pace.