Saturday, March 6, 2010

Race Report: Champoeg 10K

It was a March 6 better than any of us deserved, chilly at first – there was a thin, watery layer of ice on the car windows at 7:30 a.m. – but under skies marked here and there by only the wispiest of clouds the day turned certifiably springish. Springlike. It blossomed with abundant springosity. Fairly boinged, it did. A shorts-and-shirt, no-gloves, no-hat sort of day for the run.

We – Lad and I – whipped up pumpkin muffins the night before so we could throw them down for breakfast and make a fast getaway, and that scheme went off without a hitch. We were at Champeog State Park, 30 miles south of Portland hard on the Willamette, by 8:25 for the 10K start at 9.

Should I have been running the concurrent 30K as a training run for Eugene? Yes, if I had the self-discipline not to blow it out for 18.6 miles on the mostly paved course, leaving me fried for a week. Trust me, I don't. I know me. I made the best choice for my Eugene program. (Plus, doing so left me 2-for-2 with the ORRC 10K Series, and I aim to run in as many of those races as I can.)

They counted us down and off we went, me too fast, and to back up that claim I present this evidence: Joe Dudman remained in sight for more than a mile. Moreover, afterward Joe said he went out too fast. Without the (forgotten) Garmin I relied on the mile markers for my splits. The first came in at 6:03 and I still wasn't feeling too bad. Mile 2 was a 6:28 with some headwinds and turns. Mile 3, on the meandering, undulating bike path, was a 6:36. The small fraction of the mile to the turnaround that followed featured an ugly little climb, slowing me to 6:50 for Mile 4. Around then, a slightly older fellow passed me and not in the usual chipping-away-at-it way you'd expect that late in the race. He burst past me. I remember thinking, "Whoa, that dude is on his way to a serious negative split." But when he'd stretched the gap to10 or 15 feet, well, the gap stopped stretching. I don't know what his state was, but I was feeling great. The slow miles in the middle had revived me.

I chased the older dude over Mile 5, a 6:27. Then early in Mile 6 – 6:15! – I passed him. He tucked in behind me and I suggested to him that we go after the two guys ahead of us. We did, or I did – he stayed close but I opened up some distance – and with a final 0.2 miles in 1:10 I was done. 39:49. Off my PR by a half-minute, but my second 10K under 40 minutes. I was pleased. (Race results are here.)

I got a blue ribbon for finishing first in my age group, but that was a little hollow: Dudman beat me by nearly four minutes, giving him claim to fastest Master. Since he got that award, I got mine. OK. I'll take it.

Afterward, we drove over the hill through Newberg and out to my sister's in Scholls where many pancakes were consumed.