The West Valley Dash of Hope 5K/10K is a small race in Los Gatos, California. A friend on Facebook was running her first 10K, so I wanted to be there to offer her some support. I've only run 2 other 10K races since high school, and both races were free fun runs at work. I had run a 45:37 in May, 2010, and a 44:28 in October, 2009. I shelled out $45 for the race day registration. I found it rather expensive, but knew that the most of the money would be going toward a good cause - childhood hunger in the local bay area. My running has not been very good lately. My lower back feels tight and my legs have felt very heavy over the past few weeks. Consequently, I've only run 54 miles so far in the month of July. I lost my running mojo! To get my ultra running mojo back, I signed up for a 12 hour night race on August 4th. It starts at 7pm and finishes at 7am. The runner who runs the furthest on the 10-mile trail loop wins.
Back to the 10K race. I forgot to charge my Garmin Forerunner, so I had no watch to manage my speed. I found someone near the starting line who might be running a similar pace and made a new friend! Mark was planning on running a 7:10 pace after running a 12 miler the day before. Since that would give me a PR, I thought it would be perfect to use Mark as a pacer. Even if I couldn't keep up, it was worth a shot! The first mile was done at a 6:45 pace. Too fast! The second mile was done at a 7:13 pace (according so someone nearby), which was a little better. Then Mark turned off to finish his 5K race. I thought he was running the 10K! And it turned out that the majority of the runners there were running the 5K. The course had a lot of rolling hills, and it got a tad warm, so I slowed down a little, while maintaining a reasonable effort level. With 0.2 miles to go, I sped up a little to pass a 10K runner, then cruised in for a 46:0x finish time. Surprisingly, it was good for 2nd place in my age group, and a medal! I've never won anything in any of my races! And the 30-39 age group is usually stacked with fast runners! Where did all the speedsters go?