I ran the Denver Hot Chocolate 15k as a tune up race in preparation for the California International Marathon this December. I had conservative expectations for my performance at the start line because of the effects of a lingering cold.
The plan was to keep the heart rate at 160-165 for the first 10k, and then pour it out for the final 5k. Prior to my cold, I expected to start at 7:40, work my way down into the 7:30s for most of the race, and then finish in the 7:20s. But, with my cold, I prepared for those times to potentially be 10 seconds slower.
The race start was well organized so I had no problem picking my pace right away. Going out I found my self going much faster than I anticipated for the first tenth or quarter of a mile. Even faster than I thought given how I felt on my pre-race warmup. I told myself to slow down, keep the HR in check. The time to speed up would come.
I noted everyone that passed me. I'd see them again.
I saw a close friend on the course cheering me on. He yelled, "Patience! Stay patient!" Wise words for the first mile and a half of a 15k.
I worked at keeping my HR steady and to my surprise paces in the 7:30s and 7:20s were feeling sustainable through the first and second 5k.
As we neared the 10k I started to see a lot of the people who passed me in mile 1. You see, a lot of them thought they were running a 10k, but a 15k is not a 10k, it's a 15k.
As I passed my fellow racers I could hear their labored breathing. My own breathing was controlled. Quiet even.
One runner was boorishly listening to music on his cell phone in his pocket. I enjoyed passing him most.
An aside, I have no problem with people who want to wear headphones when they race as long as it doesn't impact their situational awareness. But, playing music out loud while racing is completely feral behavior.
During the final mile I caught sight of the 7:30 pacer. I worked my way closer and closer. Another gratifying pass.
I finished 5th for my division in 1:08:23, which puts me on track for my 3:30 CIM goal.