(Results) The day started nicely, with my nephew and niece sweeping the kids' 1-mile fun run after less than two weeks of running training! My nephew was first overall in 6:56 and my niece was fourth overall and first girl in 7:37. After a start like that, I was of course expected to continue the family winning tradition and take home the 10k win. I looked around and there didn't seem to be any fast-looking females. Then I got to the starting line, and there was a woman in a black sports bra and shorts with an extremely well-defined vertical line down her abs. Huh. This could be a problem. You can see us in this picture:
The first 3.5 miles of the course were out and back on a street in Bar Harbor which involved going up a hill and down the other side, then turning around and doing it again. This woman (Elizabeth) and I passed the miles right on each other's shoulders in 6:08, 12:13 and 18:22. Fast times, despite the hills. We came back past the start/finish lines and I made the mistake of taking a cup of water (it was humid out). Elizabeth got about 10 meters on me.
At that point, I gave in to the demons that tell me it would be so much easier if I just slowed down. I slowed down to about 6:30 pace and watched Elizabeth run away. Around mile 5 or so, a man passed me. In the final stretch, I nearly outkicked him, but he kicked and held me off (see photo below). In the end, Elizabeth ran 38:04 to my 38:59. It turns out that she is a well-known local runner, and she told all her colleagues and friends that she would be running, which explains all the people cheering for her on the sidewalks with posters.
Funny story about the sprint finish: Two days before, as we were finishing our 3/4-mile training run, my nephew sprinted for the end. I accelerated and hung on his shoulder, matching his pace from just behind him. After we finished and slowed down, he asked me if I was running my fastest. I thought for a moment -- should I lie, to boost his ego? "No," I said, "but remember, I've practiced a lot." The next day, as we were walking along the beach, he asked to race me. "Sorry," I said, "but I have a race tomorrow. I'll race you right after I finish." As I was sprinting for the finish in the 10k, out of the corner of my eye I saw my nephew racing me on the sidewalk. I kicked hard and outran him. I think this was the best possible way to do it, because I didn't have to out-sprint him in a one-on-one race and make him feel bad, and yet he got to race me on his own terms.
I was very unhappy with my giving up halfway through, and I decided to avenge my poor performance in the Red Rooster Ramble five days later. This picture basically sums up my feelings about my performance relative to Elizabeth's:
1 day ago