First was the Army Birthday 10miler at Fort Bragg. This was my first time running at Fort Bragg in 20+ years. Fort Bragg has long claimed to have the best trained and most fit soldiers in US Army. Airborne soldiers run and run and run. It was kinda a trademark.
Race morning. It was a typical NC morning. Lower to mid 70's. We knew it was going to be a hot one. As I was mentally planning for the race and visualing the race, I decided that I would run "hard". I thought about taking it easy and running with a friend but standing there I decided to go for it.
I lined up in the 7 min mile corral and was ready to go. Right before the cannon (gun) went off every one closed in, so we were right at the start line. It was great. Once the gun sounded, everyone sprinted off. The first mile was a complete blur. I think there was 200+ sub 6:10 milers. In my head I was thinking that I will never be able to maintain this kind of pace, so I started backing off. By mile 2 I was still running a 6:20 pace and not really working. The crowd as normal had thinned and all the sprinters were beginning to fall back.
By mile 4 I was still running a 6:25 pace and the course was still pretty flat. Since it was an out and back I felt that was good. I started seeing the front of the pack returning. They weren't that far a head of me. Then Ii started looking for the female runners. By this time there was only 1 in front of me and she was coming back to me. Once I passed her, I started clicking off the guys. At the turnaround I had plenty left in the tank but in typical Army fashion the turnaround was at about 4 1/2 miles. Leaving more than half to go. I made it to the 5 mile mark by 33 minutes. I started doing the mental calculations in my head. Hmmmm, if I double what I just did then I would finish in 1:06. That would not be bad at all. But then I remember that sprint start and didn't see where I would be able to get another 6:10 mile in the last part of the run, plus remembering that I would have a long uphill climb to finish. Well stop thinking and just run.
By mile 7 I had a technical problem with my iphone. It just decided to stop for some reason. I took it off as I was running and tried to get it going again. Finally after about 1/4 mile it restarted. I guess I hit something accidentally.
At mile 8 I was just about at Longstreet. Longstreet has a long downhill which leads into a long slow uphill. I told myself just to cruise down and work my way to the finish. This race also had people doing a 4 mile walk. So as I was getting into these last couple of miles we had walkers along the course. That made it completely interesting for the finish. I couldn't tell who was a runner who ran out of fuel or a walker just casually finishing.
So I decided just to continue passing people. Mile 9 was the beginning of the uphill. I started the ascent and started concentrating on my breathing. Almost at the finish, just go. Once I finally crested the hill and entered the track, I was ecstatic to see the finish line. Looked at my watch and I was still at around 1:05 which meant I would have a negative split after all.
Finished strong. Felt great.