This past Thursday, it took me 51:55 to finish the 2008 Silicon Valley Turkey Trot in downtown San Jose. (see full race results)
This year's race was a good check-in for me to see how much I'd improved since last year's Turkey Trot which I finished in 1:03:48. You see, last year's race was the first race I signed up for in my quest to do a triathlon (and only my second 10K, the first one being back in 2000). A year ago, I still weighed 200 pounds, down from my high of 222, and my cardio was nowhere near how good it is now.
Flash forward to this year, and I managed to come in 495th of 2,413 runners (last year I didn't crack the top 1,000) and I was 124th in my age group. In fact, I missed posting a PR in the 10K by a measly 12 seconds (back in 2000, when I was but 31 years old, I ran the 10K in 51:42).
I was hoping (against hope?) for a sub-50 minute race, but it wasn't in the cards this year.
I think I went out too hard at the start, as I was on a 7:50 pace for the first two miles and felt good about having banked 20 seconds for the latter part of the race, even with all the traffic to weave through on the course. However, at the halfway mark, I'd slowed to an even 8:00 mile and only got slower from there to finally finish up averaging 8:16/mile (small victory: I never walked!)
I do have to say, the folks who set up the course did a LOUSY job of intermingling the 5K walkers and the 10K runners for the last 1.2 miles of the course. They had us sharing a paved trail, hoping the 5Kers would stay to the right and let us 10Kers run on the left.
Wishful thinking: I had to keep yelling out "5Kers to the RIGHT!" as they spilled over to our side and gummed up our trying to keep up our pace on the run.
But it's all for charity, and so I should be pleased I was able to shave so much time off in a single year. I know I'll never make that kind of year-over-year progress again. But that's not going to stop me from aiming for a sub-45 minute 10K next time.
I've got a year to train for it, and I know I can do it, no matter how the course is laid out.