The Fuzzy Butt 10K
Okay, it wasn’t really called that, but as you exit the interstate in Clanton, you see a water tower fashioned and painted to resemble a giant peach. But as you can see from the photo above, it resembles a fuzzy orange butt.
If you recall, this Clanton race was the focus of my training this spring, as I hope to build some speed and set some kind of new personal record—and it was to be my first 10K, before I ran the Gadsden race on a whim.
Since Clanton is at least 1.5 hours from my home, I decided to spend the night before the race at my mom’s house and then make the shorter drive in race day. All week, I had in my mind that the race started at 7:30 and that I would try to get there around 6:30 to meet the guys and warm up. I did arrive around that time, but quickly found out that the race started at 7.
I met the guys and we drove the course to see what lay ahead. Not a bad course, first three miles and out and back on the main road through the area, then the 5K would finish back at our start area while the 10K would hang a right and run some country/neighborhood roads.
I decided this week to wear my fuel belt, since at 7 the temp had climbed to 80 degrees with equally high humidity. At the gun, we were off, and I watched my new friends take off in their speedy way. Before the race I thought we had agreed that we would run together for the first 50 yards then break off into our race paces. No sooner had the gun sounded did I look around and all that was left was little puffs of smoke, much like Road Runner leaves when he takes off away from Wile E. Coyote! That’s okay. I had told them to “save themselves” and not wait for me.
The forst three miles of this race felt good, I was running a 9:30/9:45 pace and felt strong, but determined not to look at my Garmin continuously, as I am wont to do. By the 5K/10K split, I was running at a 5K PR pace and might have broken 30 minutes in 5K had I stayed on that route. In retrospect, I probably should have, because soon after the split, my body, which had performed wonderfully to that point, announced to me that we would no longer be running that fast in that heat.
So the next 2.5 miles were a struggle, to say the least. My Heed could only do so much, I couldn’t get enough water, and the heat took its toll. It affected everyone—even the fast dudes.
So I struggled to a 1:15 in the 10K. Respectable, yes, but 7 minutes slower than my 10K of the week before. We live and run and learn. Race day brings all sorts of variables that we just cannot train for. As runners, we leanr to adapt to the conditions. If they are favorable, like in Gadsden, we can push forward to new highs. If they are undesirable, like Clanton, then we adapt and survive the run in order to run again. Each training run, like each race, is an opportunity for us to learn from our selves and about ourselves. If we are paying attention, then those lessons will take us to areas, times, and heights that we can only imagine.