Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Black Hills Roundup 10K

On the 4th (sorry I'm so late with this!), I ran the 30th annual Black Hills Roundup 10K, which is held here in Belle Fourche every 4th of July as part of the Roundup festivities which are highlighted by a 3 day long PRCA rodeo, a carnival and really long parade. The 4th of July is a big deal around here. This would be my third year running this race and considering it starts right outside my house and the registration is a dirt cheap $10, I don't really ever see myself passing it up as long as we live here.

The course itself isn't PR friendly. This race marked my first ever 10K two years ago and I ran a 44:32, which I was pretty happy with at the time. Last year, I shaved all of 11 seconds off that time and posted a 44:21. This past April I set my 10K PR of 39:17 (I had other races in between...I didn't knock 5 minutes off in a single swoop). That was on a much faster course and I really didn't have any aspirations of bettering that today. The course is a big loop around town, with about 320 feet of ascent in the first half and then back down in the second half. The past two years, I had hammered the first half too hard and was consequently spent when I reached the highest point on the course, rendering the downhill second half pretty much useless. My goal this year was to pace myself better and set a signifcant CR.

There were probably 70-80 people for the race (haven't seen the full results yet), which is actually pretty big for around here (I've run in races in Belle with 7 people). We took off promptly at 7 and I quickly settled into a pretty good rhythm and settled into 12th pace. We were blessed with a nice fog, which kept ELSO out of the picture and made the conditions much cooler that they would have been otherwise. I clicked off a 6:32 and 6:34 for the first two miles, which was actually a little faster than I had planned, but I felt very comfortable with it so I just took what came. The most uphill part of the course came in miles 3 and 4 and I consequently posted a 6:48 and 6:47 for those two miles. The key, though, was that I maintained a very sustainable yet strong pace on the steepest uphills and was abled to hammer the pace on the downhills. During the first mile, I had gotten passed by a local high school freshman who finished 6th at state high school cross country last year as an eigth grader. I finally caught back up to him and ran alongside him for awhile around 4.5 miles and then pulled ahead. I was hoping to build a good cushion on him because I knew for a fact that I could not outkick him if it came down to that. Mile 5 was mostly downhill and my pace dropped to 6:24. As we neared the final mile, I could hear footsteps behind me and knew the kid was right on my heels. As we made the turn onto the main street through downtown, about a mile from the finish, he passed me and was off like a rocket. I attempted to keep him in range in the faint hope that he might fade and I might pass him, but after about 3/4 of a mile I wasn't getting any faster no matter how much I pushed and he was getting farther away. So, I accepted my defeat at the hands of a 14 year old and cruised in, posting a 6:16 6th mile and 6:17 pace for the final 0.2. I finished in 40:42 (a 3:40 CR), which was good enough for 7th overall and 2nd in my AG (30-39).

I was actually surprised by how much time I took off this course. Apparently, all of those hills I've been running in training the last couple of months have paid off, because I was able to hammer the uphills on this course much better and still have some juice left for the downhills. I didn't start feeling the strain of the pace until the final mile when I started trying to catch back up to the kid. And, as an added bonus, I got to meet Rupert from Survivor for the third straight year! He actually recognized me when he shook my hand during the AG results presentation and said "Hey, you've run this race for awhile, haven't you?" I got recognized by a celebrity!! ....well, if you consider a former non-winner of a once-popular "reality" TV show a celebrity.

All in all, a good tune-up for the Missoula Marathon on the 13th and, eventually, for the Roughrider Marathon on Sept. 20th. Thanks for reading!

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