As Deb Hall told all of you, Brian's Run was the 800th of my career. Since this was a milestone race, I was hoping it would be memorable for other reasons also.
The afternoon was sunny, mild (for December), and a little breezy. From the direction and strength of the wind I didn't think it would be a factor during the race. I was hoping for a time under 48:00, even though I hadn't done any real quality speed workouts since the next to last one with the Wednesday night group at Conestoga HS.
I positioned myself a little further towards the front at the start than I normally would, so I didn't get caught in a large, slow pack. Surprisingly there weren't that many runners passing me anyway. I found out why when I passed the mile at 7:15. That's a little faster than I intended, but it's hard to keep the first mile slow with the downhill start. The second mile was more in line with my intended goal as I ran 7:35. The third mile was where everything went crazy. The clock and my watch agreed that the split time was 20:35, which meant I just ran a 5:45 mile. Something was drastically wrong. I thought the 3-mile marker may have been misplaced when it took over a minute to get to the 5K halfway point, and the 4th mile was 7:51, but the time still didn't seem right. Besides you all know I don't make that kind of pacing error. Mile 5 is mostly downhill, so I wasn't surprised by the 7:08 time for that, nor the 7:53 time for mile 6 as I trudged up the Tighe Rd hill and the slope up New St. to the stadium. By this time my legs were feeling about as leaden and tired as would be expected, so there I didn't have much of a kick as we finished around the track. Nonetheless my clock time of 45:13 (chip time 45:07) was much too fast to be believable. My second 5K was around 23:15, which seemed reasonable, so the problem had to be back in that third mile. I asked a few people I know who are long-time runners and have raced at Brian's Run before. The general consensus was that the course was short. Apparently the lead car turned a block too soon off Union St. effectively cutting short the course by two blocks. For me that could be about 80 seconds given the length of those blocks. Still the adjusted, estimated time of 46:27 was much faster than I had hoped even in my most optimistic dreams. Finishing in the top 250 (228th) was yet another indication of how well I had run.
All in all my 800th race was a memorable one any way you look at it. It's time now for a change of pace as I hope to run some of the indoor track meets this winter.