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Tri-Distance Run, 10K, Gainesville, FL, April 29th, 2001.

It was a nice 60 deg. F Sunday morning in Gainesville. Driving 2.5 hours from Tallahassee to Gainesville was worth it. This race has a sentimental value as it was my very first running race. I did a 5K there in 1999 and 24:47 was all I could do at the time. This year I crossed the 5K line in 21:22 and had another 5K to go that I would do a little bit faster.

When I woke up in the morning I still had that fever from some bug I caught. I was still coughing a little too. So I had no clue how badly I would do as I have never raced while being sick. But I decided to race anyway because this would probably be my last opportunity to do this event and I already missed it last year.

As I warmed up for my usual 15 minutes before the race I felt light headed and my legs were rubbery. But when I lined up at the starting line the adrenaline started pumping as I hoped it would do and we got going. I forgot how flat this course was. It actually felt like it was going slightly downhill for the first 2 miles. We had perfect conditions: sunny and on the chilly side.

I clocked the 1st mile in just under 7 minutes. I wanted to be conservative. The next mile I pushed a bit more as it kept feeling like we were going downhill. I kept thinking that we were going to pay for this by hitting some hill. It actually goes up a bit in the last 1/2 mile but not much at all compared to Tallahassee standards. Still, it was enough to make me run my slowest mile in the race: 7:04.

But something happened in my head as I completed my first loop. The cheering must have carried me for the next mile, my fastest in 6:39. I remember being amazed when I read the time on my watch.

Mile 1
Mile 2
Mile 3
Mile 4
Mile 5
Mile 6
Mile 6.2

Then it hit me. My legs were giving in. They really felt like rubber. Fortunately my cardiovascular system was holding well. So I focused on my form and hung in. 2 miles left; piece of cake. Another trick I used was to set my eyes on a runner ahead of me and try to catch him. I caught a bunch and it helped me forget about my head and my legs.

I was pleasantly surprised to do mile 5 in 6:50. 1 mile to go. One guy to reach. Easy. After that, a quick sprint to the finish and it's over. This guy was 100 yards ahead at mile 5. When we reached mile 6 I was within 20 yards of him. At 6.1 I was only 10 yards away. When I got within 6 yards he heard me and started sprinting. I sprinted too. But he was more fresh than I was and finished 2 yards a head.

I love the feeling of fighting dizziness to get our of the way of other runners and to remove the chip from my shoe. The endorphin kicks in for a while. No need for drugs! Then it's over to get some water and food in my stomach, cool down, change shoes, stretch and wait for the results.

In Gainesville I thought I stood a chance to get an age group award and I did. I was second in my age group. The first guy finished 5 minutes ahead of me. The 3rd guy was 5 minutes behind me. Nice spread! Great day. This season I hope to break 41 minutes. I have a lot of work ahead of me. 15 seconds faster per mile.


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