Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ils ne passeront pas!

Capitol Hill Classic 10K: Last year the hill ate me up. I was having a pretty good 10K til I hit the race's namesake hill in the sixth mile and it chewed me up and spit me out. My early sub-eight miles zoomed to a post-nine final mile. I felt lucky to finish in 48:44 (7:51) last year. (Left: The hill wasn't kind to me last year.)

This year I ran up the hill after every Mall run. I worked it. It's .35 mile and it's steep. It's three minutes of hard work.

Today was a perfect day to run, cool and overcast with a very slight breeze. As soon as I lined up at the start, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was H. Oh, hi.

H was a 10K student of mine two years ago. She has never beaten me. I used to think I could jump in on her races, pace her a bit and help her out. Then she got a personal trainer and started training relentlessly. I ran the last six miles of the MCM with her in October, her first marathon. She did a 4:07. My first marathon was a 5:05.

I was extremely happy with my 1:45 at the National Half-Marathon in March. Then H went down to hilly Nashville last month and threw down a 1:47 at the Half Mary there. Yikes.

I ran with H yesterday for the first time since December, four easy miles on the W&OD. She told me she was running today, so I went after a little intel. I asked her what her goal was on the morrow. Break 48, she said. Yikes. Not PR, or break 50 for the first time, no, break 48. Personally, I just was hoping I could break fifty.

When the gun sounded, I went out fast to put as much distance on H as I could in the hope that she wouldn't overhaul me later. Running eastbound on E. Capitol Street, I turned the first mile at 7:00. Running around RFK, I clocked the second mile at 7:25. Westbound on E. Capitol Street I passed by the third marker at 7:40. I was definitely slowing down. I kept mentally checking my stored minutes in the bank, knowing that the looming signature hill would slow me up.

Milepost Four was way off. I passed it going down Capitol Hill on Independence Avenue at 9:32. I was momentarily fearful that I had just run a 9:30 flat mile in a non-marathon race but then I knew that there was no way I had slowed down that much. Still, I was too tired to make full use of "letting it flow" as I ran downhill.

On the bottomland below the hill, I got mesmerized by how long an out-and-back it was on Independence Avenue before we rounded a cone and came back for the fearsome climb up Capitol Hill. Suddenly in my reverie I saw H off to the side thirty yards ahead. Oh, had she been quiet going by me.

Decision time. Do I let her go, or do I HTFU? I found a reserve and powered up beside her. I looked at her and she looked at me. I can tell the look from a woman that says, Not now! I passed by her without a word.

But when you're ahead, you can't keep track of where anyone is who is behind you. Although I was worried about what finishing strategy H might have, all I could do was keep moving. I hit the hill.

Unlike last year, I handled it. I powered up half of it before it wore me out and the rest of the climb turned into a slog. But even during the late going I wasn't tottering along in a faltering shuffle like last year.

Hill surmounted, I tried to push the last mile in. Finally I saw Milepost Six. I got spooked that I would get caught in that last quarter mile and I passed the last .2 mile in 1:28 (7:20 pace). A friend watching the race from the finish line later said I was really flying at the end. She had no idea of what was driving me.

I finished in 47:41 (7:40) by my watch, over a full minute faster than last year. H broke 48 minutes, just as she had set out to do. She did a great job. But her beating my a**, probably badly, will have to wait til next time.

As I trudged off to the start line of the accompanying 3K race, I was really happy with my time and effort in the 10K.

15 comments:

DawnB said...

congratulations Peter what a great race you had. Today all I've done is read about new pr's I can't but be envious. a 10K and a 3K in the day at the same race, nice...

yumke said...

Nice race report. They warned it was humid but I didn't find it too bad. Funny how they delayed this race (two weeks after we had the delay at the Pig).

Anonymous said...

Finishing strategy - hah! I had no finishing strategy once I made it back up that hill! It was great running with you yesterday and seeing you out on the course, even if you did beat me by 26 seconds (offical times: P 47:31, H 47:57). Next time! :)

-H.

Rainmaker said...

Nicely done! And most importantly you even worked in HTFU into the report. Well said!

Black Knight said...

Congrats to both of you for the good performance. The strategy is important because the coward enemies are always more smart and sly.

Steve Stenzel said...

Nice run!!! Way to go!!

ShirleyPerly said...

What an exciting race! Great job on your PR!!

jeanne said...

I'm with rainmaker...loved the htfu! and you did!

One day peter, when you are old and gray and i am old and gray(er), i will totter past you in a race. ONE DAY.

til then: you can kick some serious ass!

cindy said...

Very nice race!! A full minute faster than last year is awesome!

CewTwo said...

I learn so much when I read your race reports. Mostly about the doged determination that you have toward your convictions.. Whatever they are and wherever you may need to face them.

You have a strategy toward attaining goals that is admirable! You are a cut above!

H? Make him prove it! Stomp in the next one!

Sorry, peter... Had to do it!

Sunshine said...

The hill is yours! Running up hill: smart training.
Fun to see a former student do well.. and also fun when the teacher can still cut it.
Congratulations on your good race.
And wasn't it superb to have made-to-order running weather.

akshaye said...

Great time - you conquered the hill!

Petraruns said...

Wow Peter - that was some race! Nothing like competition to bring out the edge and this year you had the training to back it up. HTFU sorts me out many a time..

Congratulations! And H - I think there's a rematch that needs to be run!

Petraruns said...

Wow Peter - that was some race! Nothing like competition to bring out the edge and this year you had the training to back it up. HTFU sorts me out many a time..

Congratulations! And H - I think there's a rematch that needs to be run!

Jade Lady said...

48 minutes for a 10K - you blow me away! Ã…wesome job - nothing seems to daunt you. You have such sheer determination. One day....maybe...

Ok,my french is so bad - does it mean they shall not pass me ?