As I’ve mentioned a few times, my first running race was the 5k at the 2019 Red Hat Summit. I caught the bug and started thinking about running longer races. Since a lot of races use official USATF-certified times to qualify or to get a corral placement, I wanted to find a race that was USATF-certified. So in July I signed up for the 9th Annual Annapolis Running Classic. I started training and working my Saturday runs up towards a 10k distance. Today, it finally all paid off.
I woke up at 0440 today (my alarm had been set to 0455), did my morning routine, got dressed and headed to Annapolis. I arrived at 0538 to a very windy, cold (around 33F) Navy Stadium to get my bib. (While I’d asked for it to be mailed, it never arrived – but credit to the race organizers – they had contingencies for that and within less than 5 minutes I had a new bib number and was ready to go) Then, like anything else involving lots of people, it was time to wait until it was time to line up at the starting line at 0645.
Huddling around the propane heaters, I made conversation with some of the other folks at the race. One guy was on his 130th half marathon. Another one started 8 years ago when his son challenged him upon completing graduation. The talk turned to running regimens until it was time to line up. I showed up a little early in hopes of getting at the front of the line as I did in Boston, and I was rewarded once again with a spot at the front of the line.
When the organizers gave us a little pep talk, I learned that the youngest participant was 9 years old while the oldest was 77. I don’t think anyone could have convinced me to run 6.2 miles when I was 9. While the sun had risen, the temperature was still hovering around freezing and so I tried to move around a lot without tiring myself out. Eventually I couldn’t feel my toes anymore; a situation that was not rectified until somewhere around the 4 mile mark.
In the end, I ran exactly at the speed I expected to. When one of my employees, a very active runner, asked what I thought my time would be – I guessed 45-50 minutes. That’s about the time I’ve been training at on Saturdays. My official finish time was 47 minutes 15 seconds. My Garmin tells me I ran a 7:30 minute per mile pace with an average heart rate of 138 bpm. If I’d been more familiar with the course, it’s possible I could have pushed myself maybe 1-2 minutes faster because in my indecisive moments, I slowed a bit. (That would have actually pushed me to third place in my age group!)
So how did I do against others? Surprisingly well! I’d told my employee that I expected to come in somewhere around half because this was a real race, not a bunch of Linux geeks as in Boston.
For those who use screen readers or can’t see the image for some reason, that’s 41 out of 1157 for the 10k, 32 out of 428 for men, and 4 out of 67 in my age group. That just blew my mind! Also, I think the gender mix is interesting. If there were 428 men, then there were 729 women! I wonder if other races are always so skewed? Here’s how I stacked up, timewise with the other men:
I was going to use this longer race as a determining factor in whether I went for longer races. Well, after how much fun this is, I’m going to keep going! So in a few weeks I’m going to apply for the lottery for the Cherry Blossom Festival 10 mile race. Wish me luck!