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2006-01-21 - Shooting Starr MCRRC race

5 miles @ 9:20 min/mi

It's unseasonably warm (~50°F), esp. compared with the past two years (looming blizzard in '05, single-digit mercury in '04). Comrades Ken and Ruth and I confer before the event. I joke that we should do 9 minute miles, based on my "double the distance, slow the pace by 1 minute/mile" rule-of-thumb combined with Ruth's recent 10 min/mi half-marathon PR; Ruth is skeptical and suggests just aiming for sub-10:00 which would be a handy PR for us all. At the "gun" we launch ourselves downhill and, as usual, go too fast (8:57 for the first mile by my watch). Then on a long uphill grade Ruth suffers a significant asthma attack and sends Ken & me ahead. (She walks through the wheezing, however, and continues on to finish strongly.)

The second mile is 10:11, during which Ken's daughter Hilary greets us on her way back to a sub-40 minute result. After the midcourse turnaround I try to follow Ken's advice to go faster on the descents and manage to cover mile 3 in 9:47. (At the water stop I grab a cup, drink a sip, and dump the rest over my head; it cools me but also washes sweat-salt into my eyes.) The fourth mile, including the long downhill grade, is my fastest at 8:36. I keep pushing hard and close the books with an 8:59. Add ~10 seconds that we started behind the line and the result is 46:40, ~5 minutes better than my best prior at this distance. Both Ken and Ruth likewise PR in well under 50 minutes.