What could go wrong?

About a month ago I did what I had been regarding as a potentially foolish thing, and registered for a 10K which is being held the same weekend as my scheduled 18-miler.  I am now faced with the dilemma of how to juggle my runs this week such that I can: 1.) still fit in all my workouts, and  2.) not screw up my long run with the shifted schedule.  In keeping with last week’s Up with Fun, Down with Stress theme, I have decided that that the enjoyment factor trumps potential soreness in this case, and it will therefore all work out.  The 10K in question is my favorite race of the year, the McConnell’s Ice Cream Endurance Events in Santa Barbara.  This will be my fourth year running it, and it never fails to delight. 

 The first thing to understand here is that little local races in Santa Barbara are not like those in other places (except maybe Eugene, Oregon).  The field is fast and competitive at all ages, and it’s pretty rare to see anyone walking.    The races are cheap and low-key, and usually start with the race director shouting “Everyone know where you’re going?” at the crowd at the starting line.  There are no T-shirts, no swag bags, and minimal prizes.  It’s racing for runners, by runners.  The crown jewel of the SB racing series, at least as far as I’m concerned, is McConnell’s, which features a 5K, a 10K, a 1-mile ocean swim, and an ice cream buffet for all finishers.  The bargain basement price of $20 buys you entry to any combination of these.

 The first thing one notices when racing in SB is how hardcore everyone is.  I’ve gotten run down by 9-year-old boys and 75-year old men.  I’ve been passed by women who were both pregnant and pushing baby joggers.  The world record time for a 5K by a 12-year old girl was set at McConnell’s.  It’s pretty much an equal-opportunity ass-kicking.  It’s also a family affair.  Two years ago I watched a middle-aged woman and an adolescent boy glaring at each other as  they raced down the chute at the end of the 5K, each desperately trying to edge the other out.  As they sped by, the man in the crowd next to me cheered, “Go William, beat your mom!” 

During the same 5K, I also overheard this jewel:

IronMan Tattoo Guy: Aren’t you running today?  You did great at Night Moves last week.

Kid: I just turned 11… I only run 10K’s now.

And the ice cream… did I mention the ice cream?  Clearly it is a race not to be missed, which brings me back to my original question of how to cram everything in this week.    First of all, I’m not going to actually attempt to race the 10K the day after the long run, which will have to move to Saturday.  My schedule calls for 6 miles of Yasso’s tonight, 4 miles easy on Wednesday (Four?  Where did that come from?), and a 7-miler with 5 at tempo on Thursday.  I’m thinking I’ll punt the tempo on Thursday and make that an easy 5, which I’ll run in the morning.  That will give me almost two full recovery days before the 18, which I’m hoping will be enough to avoid the aforementioned Saturday doldrums.  That leaves the tempo, which I’m going to use as a goal pace for the 10K.  The saving grace is that next week is an easy week, so I feel like even if I end up really sore or tired after the race, I have a bit of cushion following.  Wish me luck.

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