June 9, 2012 Sunrise 8k Run - Simpsonville, SC (A Greenville Track Club Race)
The 33rd Sunrise 8k Run fell on my birthday again in my 6th time running it. My last time there was in 2009, when I had a PR in 37:50 (7:38/mi) with 618 finishers. Quite a bit different feel there with 819 runners! Plenty of room to grow even more and so excited for everyone who came out!
Only a week removed from my 52.7 mile run at the Black Mountain Monster 12hr last Saturday, I had two decent 4 mile runs on Wednesday and Friday of this week to make sure sure my legs felt all right - and my quick run yesterday told me my legs were just fine! Hmm, should I even think about a PR here? It was already pretty soft, as my 10k PR pace was 7:19/mi (from Reedy River - 2010). Why not? Shoot for 7:30 and see how it goes.
Saw lots of friends before the race (most of which are GTC members) and thought I'd stick with one of them, but they ended up taking off from the beginning and I never could catch her. Starting at 6:30am is nice, and starting less than 5 miles from the house is super!
Started at a good pace for me, and didn't quite know what pace I was running until I came up to the 1mi marker and GTC's Jim Roberts was calling out the times: 7:24 - right about on pace! It was a pace I felt I could hold, but I knew the 1st mile was a bit faster than normal with the excitement and all. The flat mile 2 down S. Main Street was about maintaining that pace and see if anyone I knew was going to slow down enough for me to catch them. Nah, not really.
It's very interesting how many runners do Not thank the volunteers or people cheering them on. Wearing headphones certainly takes away from that (and why I don't specifically cheer for those wearing headphones - they aren't going to hear me anyway). I thank every one I pass at every race. I was near the same people the first 2-3 miles and no one else thanked them, even after hearing me say it half a dozen times...oh well.
So back to the race. Just after going thru mile 2 in 15:07 (7:43 for that mile - slowed down a little too much I guess), we started into some neighborhoods of Simpsonville. Rolling hills for the next 2.5 miles, but none that were too challenging. Ran the tangents and kept my turnover steady. I decided to wear my (trail) Brooks Cascadias as they feel Much lighter than my Asics 2160 road shoes. Maybe the difference was only in my head, but it helped nonetheless.
Mile 3: 7:39 (22:47)
Came across one friend of mine who had been so busy with work, his training had suffered. He's normally much faster than me, but I've been lucky and was able to keep going today. Another of the DNR goons passed me thru here. I kept him in my sights, but I knew there was no way to catch him. I was still running somewhat above a comfortable pace. My last 15 races going back to Sept 2010 have all been half-marathons or longer. It sure makes these shorter races seem very manageable.
Mile 4: 7:37(30:24)
I felt at this point that my PR was in jeopardy. I was a little mixed up on my exact PR coming into this event, but I also knew I have had excellent finishing miles here (last mile is always 25+ seconds faster than my mile 4). I pushed a little more and began passing people. Once we turned onto Hwy 417, I knew I had more to give. Reeled a few more in and then took the last turn and downhill into the finishing chute. Only at the turn and seeing the finish clock did I know I had my 8k (Happy Birthday) PR!
37:31 (clock time was actually 37:36).
Wow - still amazed I was able to do this, but there's certainly room to improve. Nope - never satisfied!
Chatted with some people and cheered on a few runners before eventually heading to my car and back home. Got there before 7:30!