I've delayed writing this report because I'm not all that proud of my accomplishment. I know the standard lines - any run is a good run and the like. But there is a difference in knowing and feeling. Also, I enjoyed this race - up until I saw my result. That's the part that really bothers me. This was a good strong race. I should be proud.
Last week I got paired with an "I run 4 - siblings" so this was my first race to dedicate to my buddy Parker. He had mentioned that the midnight start was past his bedtime, and, even for a Saturday, it was well past mine! After a good hearty Saturday afternoon nap, and a light supper I felt ready to do this race.
A couple of teammates and I did a nice, easy 1 mile warm-up then headed to the starting line. I ran into my cousin in the registration room, and she found me at the start line. We chatted for a bit while waiting for the wheel chair and hand cycle racers to take off, then we were on our way. We went out a bit fast, but I was able to dial it back and hit my goal for the first mile right on the nose.
Mile 1 - 8:45
A slight drizzle started just before the race, and it was a refreshing for the first 3 miles. I was careful of my footing (near the paint lines especially) so as not to trip and fall - as I had in warm-ups last year.
Mile 2 - 8:43
There are 2 Ferris wheels in the Pigeon Forge skyline - one smaller (pictured) and one ginormo. I knew that the larger was near the 2nd turn and used it judge how far I still had to go. The course travels south for approximately 1.5 miles, turns and travels north for approximately 2.5 miles, turns again for the final mile (ish). With this in mind, I knew when I passed the Wheel I had about 1.25 to go.
Mile 3 - 8:48
During the first miles, I felt comfortable. I questioned if I was holding back too much. I tried to run as conservatively as possible, not wanting to blow my chances at a PR. I'm on track to PR at every distance this year, and this race is the only 8K on my schedule.
In the 4th mile, however, I began to work to maintain my pace. The rain stopped and the air became very humid. Fortunately for me, my parents were stationed just past the 3 mile marker to surprise me with a "Go Super Boo" sign.
Mile 4 - 8:51
While the race is as flat as Tennessee gets, the final turn puts runners on an incline leading to the finish. I always slow down at this point in the race. Conditioning? Starting too fast? I really had to press to keep the feet going quickly enough to not lose PR pace. Still this 0.9 section was much slower than the first 4 miles.
Mile 4ish - 8:59
Because I was interested in seeing my final "kick," I hit lap on my watch to clock the speed of my last tenth. Looking at it, I'm glad I did.
Final 0.1 @ 8:00 pace
According to my watch, I had my PR - by 5 seconds. A little too close for comfort, if you ask me. Chip time was a little more gracious, but still I was disappointed with the result.
Chip Time: 43:57
Age Group: 9/38
My report reads much like last year - an easy start, wheezing in the middle, and a struggle at the end. Those few seconds don't reflect the progress I feel I've made this past year. And given different race conditions, it could have easily been 8 seconds the other direction.
I need a shift in my thinking. PRs can't be the be-all end-all for me when it comes to racing. I had a good strong race. I should be proud. How many times do I have to say those phrases until it clicks in my brain?