Monday, April 06, 2009
"Settle": The Cherry Blossom 10-Miler
"Settle" was my mantra, my reminder. Right off, I must write that I had a good time and enjoyed the race. It is a favorite of mine (and thousands of others).
I started out too fast (at sub 7:45s) and drank too much water in the 30 minutes before the start (but I wanted it!). As a result, by mile 3, I developed a side stitch. I tried to breathe easy -- belly breaths through my nose as in yoga -- and slow to 8-minute miles. I thought, "Settle," and let my shoulder's relax and ran a little straighter. But then a fast song came on my iPod (yes, I run with music, always) -- Green Day's "Minority" -- and I picked up the pace again. "Just for this song," I thought.
I swear, I didn't really care about being faster than ever before. I just wanted to enjoy the cherry blossoms and the 10 miles.
When the song ended, I reminded myself, "Settle." I was past mile 5 (and made a port-o-loo stop -- people sure make a mess in those on-course -- icky).
I had the brutal Hains Point bit of the course remaining. Sure, it is flat and has a ton of lush cherry blossom trees. But it is a straight shot south for almost 2 miles. This part is mentally, not physically, brutal. But maybe it has that effect only on me.
"Settle." But then someone passed me. I felt myself speed up, a reaction controlled by some baser instinct. "Settle." What am I, a skittish colt? There are 14,000 people all around me. Some are going to pass me; I am going to pass some. Who cares?
The side stitch was still there, but bearable, though it did now seem to be on both sides of my abdomen. Fabulous. "Settle, settle, settle." The unintended mantra actually seemed to help. Who knew?
Once I made the turn at the point, where The Awakening statue should be but isn't anymore, I felt (almost) fine. The side stitch was a ghost. I passed mile 8 and finished the last two miles in 7:45s. Done and done in 1:18:34.