Saturday, December 8

Jingle Bell Run thoughts

Springfield's Jingle Bell Run is now the first race I've run 3 years in a row. Unfortunately, this year the course changed. I thought I ran the course in preparation, but I was wrong. Sadly I was wrong.

Let's look at the Jingle Bell Run and me through the years.

2005: My second 5K ever. I had a goal for 2006 of running a 5K in under 30 minutes. I met that goal in the Jingle Bell Run finishing in 29:52. I finished 175th out of 272 runners.

2006: I took on the Jingle Bell Run again hoping for another enjoyable race. Jim Evans passed me shortly after the one-mile mark. Such is life. I didn't have any designs on keeping up with Jim Evans that day. He was out of my league. I finished in 25:51 making me 120th out of 347 runners.

2007. Could I match the four minute and one second improvement of a year ago. It had been one of my favorite race courses because of a steep downhill. Minutes before the start of the race, Pam Sailors informs me that the course had changed. Instead of the downhill at the start, there was an uphill. It's in my nature to take hills a little faster than I should but I tried to run slower than last week when I ran a 6:36 first mile that did not feel fast at all.
Just after the start of the race, my pacer MS shows up. Kind of like a guardian angel. He tells me he's pacing me for 7 minute miles and I had started out way too fast. I slow down.
Long story short, I finish in 23:41 for a third place finish in my age group (wow) and am 61st overall out of 258 runners. And there were more than three runners in my 30-34 age group.

I am disappointed with my race, but am trying to keep it in perspective. Today's race was 21 seconds slower than my pr and I really feel like I didn't run a good, smart race. But I also look at it this way. I lost, but I learned something from the loss. I lost in the competition with myself and the desire to run the best race I possibly can. But I won because I learned some things. Also, I won because I have a small taste of what I can do if I can put everything together.

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