So... the grand strategy I laid out a few days ago went bye-bye in the first 30 seconds of Heart of the Hills. Oops. Yes, I did the complete newbie mistake of going out too fast. Yes, I paid for it a little. And though I'm not a race newbie, I am really new to the ins and outs of racing races, rather than running them.
If that makes sense.
Anyway, let's talk about goals. I usually have three: A manageable one if I have a mediocre race; a achievable with a good effort and circumstance, and "pie-in-the-sky" if things go really really well through no fault of my own. My Huntington Woods 3M experience was of the latter variety. If you had asked me two minutes before the race if I thought I could average a 7:07 pace, when my mile PR was 7:30, I would have probably laughed and said "Not a chance." So it can happen. Hopefully more than once. :)
My goals for this race were simple- Primary goal of 10K PR at sub 53. Secondary goal of sub 50. And "OMG" goal of sub 46. I wanted negative splits. I wanted no shin splints. Oh, and to not get passed by a girl. (just kidding!)
Of the three time goals, I beat two, and was 58 seconds off for the third, coming in at a very happy 46:57, or a 7:34 pace. Saying I'm pleased is a nice understatement, and I'll leave it at that for now.
As for the details of the race:
My pacing (after the first mile) was good. Even though the course was quite hilly, (and to be fair to me, the first mile is the flattest of the six) I maintained pretty even splits. How even? Well... you be the judge... 7:09, 7:39, 7:34, 7:35, 7:31, 7:26 and my last .2 was at a 6:13 pace or so. I confess I sped up when I could hear the announcer calling out names and the crowd cheering.
Take off the first mile, and I did have negative splits. I didn't feel even a twinge of shin splints. And I remember being passed by two women; one I lost sight of around mile three, the other I passed about a mile and change from the end. I think it does my ego good to both catch up and to be blown away. Weird, eh?
I placed fifth in my age group, but there was less than a minute and a half between me and number two, while there was six minutes between number two and number one. If I was in the 25-29 AG I would have been first place by over a minute; if I were in the 35-39 I'd have been 10th.
So I'd better get faster before I get older. :)
And yes, I barely remember a thing about the scenery. That's one of the sad casualties of racing rather than running races- everything sort of passes as a blur.
Heart of the Hills was a splendid race, and for a race I'd been looking forward to for quite some time, it lived up to my expectations!