A weekend prior to the Sunburst race I did a practice run with my good friend, Jonny the Fox. Jonny is a great guy, and also my biggest running enemy. I have never beaten him. I have run with him and he always is encouraging and we always have a good time. When we train together we can keep together but on race day, he always steps up. On the Saturday prior, he was "off". He had literally just gotten back from a week in Italy (I don't feel that bad for him) and then a couple days in New Orleans. He had not run at all in quite a while so needless to say the training run was a bit shaky. He told me a couple times to "go on ahead" but I stayed. I wouldn't have been that much faster so I just enjoyed the company for 6 miles.
RACE DAY: JtF and I planned for him to pick me up at 6:30 and ride over together. We SQUEEZED into our parking spot and got over to the waiting area on the turf at the Hall of Fame. I knew Jeff was around somewhere so I ditched Jon in search of Jeff so I could maybe run a bit with him. Low and behold Jeff and I met up and after the 5k crossed the timing strips, I hopped in the pack and ran 5 city blocks or so with him. As I was leaving Jeff, I reminded him the two things that I figured out my first Sunburst race.
1.) There is one significant hill. When you get there, just walk it. Don't blow your energy on it today. Just walk it.
2.) As you enter the tunnel of the stadium, it slopes down, then flats out, then slopes down before you get into the stadium. As you enter in, and the crowd noise is piped in like a Colts vs. Patriots game in Indy, and the intensity picks up, I have seen someone every year just about take a spill.
So I met back with Jon and a couple others for our start of the 7:45 10k. When the gun fired Jon and I got into our pace quickly after fighting a bit of traffic from the other 1,205 other runners. It did take me by surprise the pace Jon picked. The weekend before we were struggling to keep a 10:30 pace and today we were just barely into the 9 min mile. We talked a bit during the run. checking on each other and talking about how the course seemed totally different from last year (which by the way, it was identical). He requested a walk here and there and honestly I was fine with it. We got to the hill and I think we were both eager to walk that. It is a 2 part hill. You cover the first 200 yards or so, turn right, then the last 100 or so hits you. It is one of the steeper and tougher hills I have been dealt in my road racing career (ALL 13 races...). The race continued on and we entered the tunnel, high fived and as soon as we hit the turf, I sprinted my butt off.
In my head, I knew Jon crossed the starting timers maybe a second before me. I really wanted to have beat him by at least a second. When the results came back officially, I was a 58:50 to Jon's 58:52. I know this wasn't a real issue for Jon, nor was it a fair training prior to this race with him traveling and I had my marathon, but I needed to see a win.
I don't think I would have P.R.'ed my 10k time. I had taken things a little to relaxed from the marathon, but I think I may have cut off 2 minutes at best. My 10k P.R. is 55:32 at this same race last year.
After the race I saw and got updates from most everyone I was hoping to see. Another nice Sunburst was had by all!