Finally an OFFICIAL sub-60 10K

The Port Angeles Rain Deer Run was only a “fun run” but I took it seriously. There was an official starting line. There was a starter, who sent us off with a wailing siren. There were course workers. There was a clock at the finish, and I watched the seconds tick as I approached the finish line. Best of all, there were gender/age class medals, and I earned one!

Since we all seem to be obsessed this week with taking “selfies,” I couldn’t resist posing for my iPhone before the start. As one of the first 50 registered runners, I was given antlers when I checked in. I proudly perched them on top of my Santa hat.

There were maybe 100 runners in all, about two-thirds of whom were running or walking the 5K. Some of the costumes were really clever… a whole family in Santa suits, several people in footed one-piece jammies, a couple of women in red tutus, and a really stunning angel. I was fairly low-key in my green shirt, red vest, Santa hat, and two jingle bells (one around my neck and the other tied to my left shoe).

As I looked around at the start, I didn’t see many runners who appeared to be in my age group, so I thought maybe I’d have a chance at a medal. The weather was perfect — around 45 degrees and calm. Rain was in the forecast but hadn’t materialized.

The siren blared and off we went! At first I was distracted by the sound of my bells, and I worried that I might annoy runners around me. I had to grab at my antlers a couple of times to reassure myself that they weren’t going to fall off. Then I forgot about all that stuff and just ran.

It was a little crowded at first. The 5Kers and 10Kers all started together, and there were lots of young children doing the 5K. I found myself behind two little boys who would run as fast as they could and then screech to a slow walk. Once I finally got past them on the narrow trail, I had clear sailing. At the 1.55 mile mark all the 5Kers turned around, and then for a while I couldn’t see anyone ahead of or behind me.

Soon I started to see 10Kers coming back from our turnaround point, and I counted them as they came. To my delight I discovered that I was about 10th overall at the 3.1 mile turnaround point. My watch read 29:45 — I was comfortably on pace and ready to pick up the tempo! Only one person had passed me up to that point, but right after the turnaround I passed her back and passed another person. I was all alone again.

Then about a mile and a half from the finish I saw another runner in the distance. Ever so gradually I gained on her. Right about the six mile mark I was close enough that she noticed me. She started to sprint and I thought, maybe I should just let her go. Then she eased off and I gained again. She sprinted another few steps and slowed down again. As I came up alongside of her, I threw her a big smile and said, “let’s race!” I pulled ahead of her and didn’t see her again.

I hit the finish line at 58:04. That was good enough to take home a third-place gender/age group medal. As it turned out, that runner I’d passed at the end was in my G/A group, and I’d barely nosed her out of a medal. And yes, there were several more people in our G/A group behind the two of us. I’m not so slow.

To make it an even sweeter semi-victory, I won one of the many very generous prizes donated by local businesses. I took home a $25 Costco gift card (which entirely covered the cost of my entry fee) and a three-month membership to a local fitness club. Hmmm…. I’ve been thinking about doing a little weight training in 2014. I might actually put that membership to use!

When I got home and downloaded the data from my GPS, I was amazed to see that my 9:20 overall pace was not just a 10K PR, but the fastest I have ever completed any distance. I have run lots of individual miles (usually the last mile) during longer runs at a faster pace, but I’ve never completed a run at a faster overall pace.

It was a good day! CFL and I walked down the street to our local brewpub, where I enjoyed their special 3rd anniversary beer, a bourbon-aged pale ale. Then it was home, where a warm shower greeted me and a blog softly called to me, “write, write…..”

And here I am! Proudly telling you about a wonderful run on a beautiful day and another PR on the books. Hurrah!

Posted on December 14, 2013, in Running and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Sure did enjoy the “selfie” that you posed for Lori! Love the blog and anxiously await the next chapter.


  2. Congratulations once again! This sounds like a “fun” crowd, with still very strong running goals. It’s a great photo! It shows a little playfulness in a race that is still serious enough to consider studying stats recorded on your personal GPS. 🙂 Well done!

    • Thanks Debra! Yes, it was a lot of fun. I’ve never before had that experience of reeling in and passing another runner in the final yards before the finish. I realized yesterday that I actually have a very strong competitive streak. Simply going out to run 3-4 days a week is a great thing, but the races — even the “fun” runs — are really what inspire me to keep running, to plan and to train, and to try to be just a bit faster each time. I love that!

  3. Loved hearing about your race and your success! Well done.

    • Hi MAWIL — I’m a MAWIL too! Thanks for visiting my blog, and congratulations on your recent first half marathon. It feels wonderful, doesn’t it?

      • Yes! I’m still pretty new to all this but enjoying it. It must have been such a thrill to be a ‘winner’ rather than just a participant. At the moment I’m just glad to be a finisher and I’m busy trying to run better than I did previously. Just getting a PB in a training run keeps me buoyant!

      • “Just glad to be a finisher” — that was me for a very long time… hence the name of this blog, “Slow Happy Runner.” Keep at it and you WILL get faster!

      • Yes, it’s a whole new life that I never thought would be mine! Have a lovely Christmas and happy running for the new year! Juliex

      • Thank you Julie… same to you!!

  4. Congrats again, jingle all the way!

  5. Yay!! Congratulations and I love the free antlers!!

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