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How fast would you run for free brunch?

The quick answer is, not really fast because the brunch isn’t really free and you don’t have to qualify for it. I took a week off my regular marathon training to race in the 6th Caffe Gelato 10 Miler held here in Newark, DE. If you are interested in the course, it is basically a loop in White Clay Creek road/park. (or look at my Garmin Connect. I paid for that service! Link down below.) I signed up for the race primarily for the “great” brunch (I heard) that they serve to all finishers. Otherwise, I wouldn’t really be bothered to pay a lot of money for a mid distance race, especially if I have no chance to podium and there are no shiny finisher medals. It is such a weird distance too.

Chilly early morning before the race begins!
Chilly early morning before the race begins!

I knew that it was going to be cold in the morning, which was fine by me, but I forgot that I had to hang around for an hour. The race started at 9am, which is really late. I wore neither a pair of long pants nor a hoodie, and the wind was blowing constantly with 5 degree Celsius air onto my exposed limps (or 45 Fahrenheit. It didn’t matter what the number is, it was cold). I really couldn’t wait for the race to start. We hang around near the starting position for some time while the crowd slowly built up. The sun was now shining photons at me and that kind of warmed me up a little, but it was still chilly. We met Cris, and found out that his son Cole (we run together at the Delaware Running Company every Wednesday at 6pm. Join us!) was injured so he is out. He must be devastated – I knew that he had really wanted to run this course. Together, we huddled around at the starting line and suddenly everyone packed in. The race director blew the horn and the race had begun!

For the first mile, we were cornered into the middle of a really large crowd jogging close to 10 min/mile. I would had prefer to go faster but I was still freezing, and it was definitely enjoyable to have a change in pace. I did a madman sprint for the 5k 2 days ago, so this pace felt awesome. However, as we were closing in on the mile #1 marker, my watch beeped 9.20 min/mile. The crowd dispersed a little by now, so I took this rare opportunity to run around them and gain some speed. When I looked back, I didn’t seen either Eric or Cris, and decided to go even faster and stick to my game plan.

Speaking of my game plan – I was not planning to medal, but I would love to finish under 80 minutes (8 min/mile), or even 75 minutes. That would give me a rank of about #100 finisher, gauging from last year’s performance. I also planned to negative split but didn’t want to burn my legs out, so the idea was to do 8:30 min/mile for the first half and 8 min/mile for the second half. I know that this doesn’t add up to 80 minutes, but I did not think I could even kept those pace, and I only realized this math problem during the run. Running does clear your mind.

We didn't finish fast enough. There was already a long line for the brunch.
We didn’t finish fast enough. There was already a long line for the brunch.

I speed up and started to pass a lot of people, until I stop passing people and the two girls just in front of me were pacing at 8.30 min/mile. Perfect timing! I followed them (sorry if I felt like a creep. they didn’t look backwards so I assumed I wasn’t making too much noise.) until around mile 4 marker where they stop for a drink. I kept pushing the pace by myself and downed a GU at the mile 5 water stop. I brought a GU gel with me just in case I ever needed it, but decided to use it anyway. The trail along the “pristine” white clay creek and the foliage with leaves turning yellow/brown made the scenery breathe-taking. It just sucked that I couldn’t enjoy that because I kept my head down to watch the rough trail –  I was almost tripped over by a root. Someone actually fell and was lying on the side of the trail waiting for help.

This is when the “incident” occurred. I’m not a trail runner, and this is kind of a back road trail. Some parts of the roads are very narrow while at other places, you have to share the road with people running in the opposite direction. I was held back by couple of different packs and (note:) sprinted pass them when I ever had a chance. This causes two guys in their thirties to take note of me. They happened to pass me when I was getting water and formed a new pack at a very narrow trail that lasted for almost a mile. In the end, I found some clearings and sprinted pass them. I tried to be courteous and said “on your left/right” when I passed each member. When I got out of their pack, the older guys commented pretty loudly that I was the same guy who did the same thing couple of miles back, and I shouldn’t have done that because I broke their rhythm and was being annoying. What do you guys think? I don’t face these problems on road races because the roads are usually really wide and I can keep even pace for a long time without getting block by people. Maybe it was wrong of me to sprint pass them, but I thought that would be a better solution because 1) I get out of there quicker 2) I get back to my usual pace faster.

Anyway back to my run. By mile 7, I realized that I was ahead of my game plan and was increasing my pace while still feeling great. I tried to hold back a little bit, but by mile 8, I did some quick calculations and found that if I pressed harder, I might be able to cross the finish line at exactly 80 minutes. This dream kind of evaporated at mile 9 because I needed to do better than a 6 minute/mile in order to achieve that goal. Nonetheless, I push even harder, passing every single person I can see in the yards ahead of me. At mile 9.75 (that’s what my watch said), I was at the bottom of a very long hill. I knew that this was coming but I didn’t know where the finish line was. I could gamble and run up the hill, or I could slow down and hope that there are more trail ahead. I chose the later. It turned out that the finish line was at the end of the hill, and as soon as I saw that, the clock at the finish line struck 80 minutes. Well, time to enjoy the last couple of steps!

Everybody needs more potassium.
Everybody needs more potassium.
Look at that spread!
Look at that spread!

I came in 90th overall (really happy), and both Eric and Cris came in soon after. We had our awesome brunch at Caffe Gelato (Breakfast potatoes, scrabbled eggs, fruits, bagel, french toast, bacon, coffee, beer, etc.) The spread was actually pretty impressive for a 350 people strong race. I will totally brag about the brunch to others. The fun events are now officially over! The next race will be the Philadelphia Marathon. T.T

Best tasting post race meal ever!
Best tasting post race meal ever!
There is even chicken noodle soup!
There is even chicken noodle soup!

Number crunching time!

Date: 10/19/2014, 9am.

Official time: 1:20:50.9 (PR for 10 miles, because, who the heck run 10 miles?); 90th Overall/M; 11th Male 20-24 age group.

Race results: http://www.novatimingsystems.com/results.aspx?race_id=2494

Track me on Garmin! http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/615864778

Cris, Me and Eric after the 6th Caffe Gelato 10 Miler!
Cris, Me and Eric after the 6th Caffe Gelato 10 Miler!

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