It was a year ago I started this blog. I had documented my fun time at the Gate River Run National 15K Championship. I have always run this race with friends, and we made it kind of a party in Asics, lol. We would stop and take photos, indulge on whatever the onlookers had to offer, and just chat it up with the folks around us. I miss my girls. They have moved away.
This will be the first time running this race alone. This was the only race I tolerated running with friends, so this will be new territory for me. The Gate is my absolute favorite local race, without a doubt. It coils you through the nicer Jacksonville neighborhoods from the start downtown. You have a beautiful view of the St. John's river for part of it, and it provides the challenge of climbing Jacksonville's bridges. The last hurdle, the Hart bridge, is lovingly called "The Green Monster". When you descend off the bridge, you are literally catapulted to the finish in Jax Stadium--where the Jaguars play. See why it is my favorite race? Who doesn't want to see themselves finishing on the HUGE big screen?
I have suffered from tendonitis for the last few days, but today was beautiful and I felt good. I went for an "easy" seven-miler. When I got going, and it took awhile, I decided to step it up and see how I could do casually while working it a little harder. I didn't want to eject lungs, or anything like that--I just wanted to see where I was pace-wise in a race capacity at a distance smaller than a marathon.
My Garmin said 9:12 min. mile--one second faster than my five mile PR. I also knew I could push it harder. I know the race route very well, and I know one big part of it is getting proper placement at the start. So, taking the bridges into consideration, I should be able to do well at the Gate. I can do this for two more miles. That is all I have to do.
I am getting excited. This is the first race I will actually "race" since.....well, hell....who the hell knows when?