Most of the time when race day arrives I feel ready to race but other times I don’t. On those rare race days when I don’t feel ready, I still run but I don’t push hard to get a great time or set a PR.
Yesterday was the annual Jingle Bell Run in downtown Detroit. This is a nice event with a 5k and 10k that draws several hundred runners, many of them dressed in holiday costumes. This year I saw more than a few Buddy the Elf outfits, Santa Claus, Christmas tress, and even a Gingerbread Man. But the morning of the race I wasn’t feeling it. I hadn’t done any speed training in several weeks and even my weekly mileage had dropped to under 20 per week this month. So as I headed downtown to the event I was planning to treat it as a simple 10k training run. Probably at tempo pace but not much faster.
As the crowd gathered in the starting area I did a couple laps around the building to warm up then stretched a little. Among the tall office buildings downtown my GPS was not getting a signal when the gun sounded. I started near the front and kept pace with the crowd. It didn’t feel like I was pushing it and without the GPS or mile markers I didn’t know my pace until my watch restarted and I had run about 2.5 miles. My watch showed that I had run the last actual mile at a 7:45 pace. I was surprised but I didn’t feel like I was pushing too hard so I kept going at the same pace. As I ran through Greektown, the Riverwalk and the Dequinre Cut I kept the pace. Heading back into downtown I passed the 5 mile marker. My watch showed 38:30. I knew I could break 48 minutes if I finished strong. That would be close to a PR (at least for the last five years or more). Turning the corner to the finish line I started my kick and crossed the line side by side with another runner at an all out sprint.
My time of 47:45 was close to my recent PR of 47:30 from 2008. And it was good enough for 2nd place in the M55-59 age group and 31st of all males.