Today was a very wet, windy and cold White Rock 'N' Roll. I couldn't believe it was May 1st in Dallas, Texas, and the temperature was high 40s/low 50s. It rained all night, let up a little before the race, then rained all through the race. Luckily I LOVE, I mean LOVE, training and racing in cold weather, and I've never minded the rain, so I felt great. Sometimes the grosser the weather the more motivated I am. It's like an additional challenge.
I waited in my car until right before the start, then went to the starting area and did some quick stretches. I met up with another racewalker that I know and we talked for a while. There were probably a little over 1,000 people at the race so it was a nice size (I always prefer smaller races). Then finally we were off and I started to warm up within seconds.
The course was fine, nothing too exciting or difficult. We skirted White Rock Lake for a while, then headed off into some of the neighborhoods around the lake, then back to the lake for the finish. There was only one "hill," and this being Dallas our hills are more like bumps for some of you.
I added a little kick for the finish and ended up finishing in 50:42, 18 seconds below my goal time of 51:00! My goal pace was 10:12 and I finished with a 10:08 pace, tying my PR pace for the 5k.
One reason I finished ahead of my target is my handy little Garmin Forerunner. This wonderful Training Watch/GPS is loaded with features, one of them being a Virtual Partner (see the screen shot to the left). With Virtual Partner you can enter your goal distance/time, distance/pace or time/pace, and the watch will tell you if you are ahead or behind your goal. You get a little running icon of yourself and your "virtual partner," so if you are ahead of goal you can envision yourself kicking the virtual partner's butt!
Unfortunately I am a knucklehead and I misread the Garmin screen. For most of the race I was ahead of pace but I thought I was behind (in the first half mile I was behind pace, naturally, and the feeling that I had to catch up was with me the whole race even though it is VERY easy to tell if you are ahead or behind). I kept trying harder and harder and kept seeing myself slipping behind, when actually I was pulling farther and farther ahead! I tend to speed up during races so I kept hoping I would speed up enough to catch that wily Virtual Partner. It was only until the last .75 miles that I realized I was ahead of pace! Then I felt AWESOME and kicked in to try and get a little faster.
According to the Garmin GPS I actually walked 5.17 miles, not 5, making my pace 9:48! I doubt the race was off by that much; it's probably a combination of the race course being a little long and how I ran the course. Dodging people, diverting to the side for water at aid stations, and how you take corners can all affect your distance. In any case, both paces were below my goal pace so I'm pleased. I hope everyone else racing today had similar good luck and a good time.