On Friday (the day before this race), a quasi-retired firm partner who likes to stay up on people's lives, and whose son does triathlons so he has a decent feel on running and triathlon stuff, stopped by to see what my next race was, if I had anything going on before the marathon.
Now, he can be interesting to talk to, has had lots of life and professional experiences, but also long-winded, and tends to be very rah-rah religious and use a very "inspirational story" kind of approach to conversation (and those aren't positives, in my book). But when I said I had just hit my sub-30 5k, and was going to PR at the 10k, he asked if I was going for a sub-60 time. At that point, I was thinking of going for 1:02 or 1:03 - still a huge PR (it was currently sitting at 1:15:20 (12:07 pace) for real races, and 1:10:26 for a virtual race), but definitely totally doable. Maybe start out under 11:00, push down towards 10:00, maybe finish under 10:00 the last couple miles.
But he got me thinking, even with the inspiration quote he used of "attitude determines altitude" - if there's any chance of achieving it, you first have to believe that you can. The McMillan calculator said my new 5k time indicated a 1:00:43 10k - and I felt like I went a bit too conservatively at the start of the 5k - I certainly didn't want to finish that close but over a one hour finish!
What the hell. While being a little aware that I shouldn't stress my body too much just 8 days before my goal race, I figured I might as well go out fast, aiming for a 59:59 finish, and if I couldn't hold on, even if I slowed down into the 10:00s, or really even in the 11:00s, I'd still get a PR. I knew I could start for under a 1:00 finish, and even if I slowed down probably still get under 1:03, definitely under 1:05; but if I started for a 1:03 I didn't think I could pick up enough for under 1:00. Starting fast gave me the most options, and a virtually guaranteed PR either way.
The Best Dam Run is held in Estacada, about an hour SE of Portland. It's a point-to-point course, with day-of packet pick-up (there was also pick-up the day before at the Tualatin Road Runner store) and buses at the city hall. Buses started at 8:30 to take runners out to the starting line, and then the 10k walkers began at 9:30 and the runners at 10:00.
It was a small-ish race (though not quite as small as the 5k the week prior) - 79 walkers and 330 runners. The buses dropped us off by the start line, and from there we had a quarter mile walk down the road (the same way the course went) to a boat ramp on the lake to the porta potties. (There was also an enclosed "bathroom" as part of the available accommodations, but it was just a permanent porta potty, no plumbing, so actually kind of worse in a way.)
As usual I was super early, got my packet and t-shirt (very pretty shirt! worth paying the extra for, but I'm still wary of going down a size in shirt ordering - and ordering the size I used to need is a bit big), and hung out in my car for a bit even before the buses were heading out. An older gentleman chatted with me for a few minutes, explaining that he used to run a lot, but as he aged (now 72), he was getting into speed walking, and this was the first 10k he was walking.
I was on the second bus to the start line. Walked down to the porty potties. Ran back up, waited around (sadly, not good cell coverage at this area) and watched the walkers take off, ran back down and back, and then partly down and back again, to get a total of 1 mile easy running to warm up.
As the runners started, I got in the middle of the pack. Started off a smidge slow until the crowd thinned out, then got into a groove. I was leap frogging off and on with a few people, but gradually passing them, and picking it up a bit at the end. The course was almost entirely downhill. The most noticeable incline near the beginning was slight as we went over the title dam; then near the end of mile 5 we had a much more significant hill as the side road/quasi-path we were on went up to meet back up with the main highway. But quite an easy course overall!
1 - 9:49
2 - 9:31
3 - 9:27
4 - 9:28
5 - 9:27
6 - 9:08
6.2 - 2:47 time for 0.35 - 8:14 pace
Official time: 59:37! Obviously my garmin went long, and I was getting worried as I approached just how long it would be, since I realized it would be quite close as far as getting in under an hour. I kept passing people, and made it!
There were finisher medals, and the finish line had a good spread of snacks - bagels, pretzels, tootsie rolls, red vines, cookies, peanut butter, gatorade. There was also a tent set up with laptops to immediately look up your official results, which was pretty nifty. All in all a very organized race - I think it's the first ORRC race I've actually done, even though some of them have been on my radar as possibilities before. Definitely makes me inclined to do more of their events.
(The 72-year-old speedwalker also finished in under an hour! (And was the first place walker.) But at least he was 10 seconds slower than me. :) )
(And the inspirational-conversationalist partner was excited for me when I talked to him on Monday.)