That's what I had told A___ before the race, and here I was doing exactly that. The crowd was surging, and I felt myself surging with it.
Run your own race, I tell myself. Pay no attention that guy in blue surging past you. You can look for him at mile 5.
That's always been my race strategy: ease into the race at the beginning, establish a moderate tempo by halfway through, and then start bearing down around the two-thirds mark. I'd rather let people pass me at the beginning and catch them at the end than attempt to stay ahead throughout the entire race. A better hound than a hare, I suppose.
I should clarify that the aforementioned strategy is my preferred race strategy; however, it does not work for distances like 5k and 10k. In those races, you are balls-to-the-wall from the outset—any dilly-dallying will result in a slower race no matter how hard you push the finish. Consequently, they aren't my preferred races, either. My favorite distance to race is the half marathon: a nice 13.1-mile run that is neither too long, nor too short.
Fifteen kilometers, or about 9 miles, seemed as though it would be similar to the half marathon: a relatively leisurely race that I could start easily and finish fast. However, no race is leisurely if you combine lack of training with a competitive spirit. I had not run adequate mileage prior to this race, and it was about to show . . . especially if I took it out fast.
Ease up! I tried to tell myself as a woman a pink jumpsuit zoomed past me. You don’t want to make this race miserable. Be smart.
I almost managed to take my own advice until the tall guy in gray came up on my left about one-third of the way through the race. For the next two miles, we traded positions: on the uphill climbs, he would move ahead, but as soon as we came to a downhill, I flew past him. That’s another one of my strategies: keep an even tempo on the uphills, lengthen and loosen the stride on the downhills. Basically, fight gravity as little as possible.
We had reached the halfway point in the race, and I wasn’t sure I could keep up with him for the rest of the race, no matter how many downhills remained. Fortunately, that’s the moment he chose to stop at a water station. See ya, sucker!
Results for this race:
Gender Place (All Women)
Age Group Place (F25-29) 9.3 miles (15k)