In the Chicago Marathon the first people to cross both the starting line and the finish line will be the elite runners. They will come from all over the world. Many will be from east Africa, the region that is home to a disproportionate number of the world’s best marathoners. Behind the elites will be the rest of us. Some will be faster than others. I belong to the prestigious class of runners know as the “middle of the pack.”
I will not be among the first runners to finish. No, I won’t even be close. Many will cross the finish line before I reach the halfway mark. But that’s OK. There is only one runner I compete with. Me. Like most runners, I compete for personal records, also know as PR’s. As I get older PR’s get harder to attain. My last one was at the “Crim Festival of Races” in Flint, Michigan in 2015. I ran the 10 mile race in 1 hour, 39 minutes, and 35 seconds. A 9:59 per-mile pace, it was not one of my better times. It’s only a personal record because my one previous 10 mile race (the Crim in 2013) was really bad. I finished that one in 1 hour, 51 minutes, and 20 seconds.
A New PR?
The 10K (6.2 miles) is another distance I have struggled with. My 10K PR is 55:12, an 8:54 per-mile pace. To put that in perspective, I have run 5 half marathons, more
than twice the distance of a 10K, at a faster average pace. I set my 10K PR at the “Heart of Detroit” in downtown Detroit in 2011. It was a hot, humid August morning. I struggled with the elements, but still managed to PR and finish 4th out of 19 in my age group. Nevertheless, I’ve since thought I could do better, despite several subsequent failures to beat my 2011 time.
My Chicago Marathon training plan calls for a 10K race tomorrow. I will be back in downtown Detroit to run the “Escape to Belle Isle.” The weather forecast is predicting a warm but tolerable 66 degrees at race time. Belle Isle is a flat course. My training has been going well. It looks to be a good day to try for a PR. I’ll let you know how it goes.
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