The Czarina and I headed over to a ritzy gated community called The Verandah to run an 8K. This morning's effort marked my first race since last May's 5K in Riga. Despite the nagging sciatica pain in my right hamstring I believed an effort at under 8 minute per mile pace was well within reach. The Czarina was skeptical of her fitness and planned on something closer to 8:20 pace.
The weather was good but not great and the course while flat was full of twists and turns. At the gun I got out surprisingly well and much to my amazement I wasn't staring at the Czarina's back for the first mile. She had stayed true to her word and took it out easy. When I hit the first mile in 7:32 I was shocked. I was running relaxed and easy and thought to myself, maybe 37:30 is possible? Unfortunately a combination of humidity, unending turns and a reluctance on my part to really push it kept me from running that fast. I waited until the final mile to start reeling in a group of a half dozen runners that I had been shadowing for the first four miles passing all but a couple running a 7:18 final mile and finishing in 38:11. I hadn't run a 8K since 1998 when I ran 32 minutes, but that was 30 pounds ago!
The Czarina finished soon after I did running 40:09, averaging a pleasing 8:04 per mile and capturing her age group. It was a nice effort given her recent unhappiness with her training. After my warm down I saw that I too had taken an age group award, my first in a long, long time. I finished 2nd and picked up a trophy.
Next on the race calendar is a 5K in a couple of weeks followed by a half marathon in early March. If I can stay healthy a sub-8 minute per mile effort seems realistic. If I can stay healthy and if I can continue to lose weight who knows how fast I can run. But the idea of running a Boston qualifier doesn't seem so unreasonable right now.
Bloggers update: The Czarina was very unhappy with the fact that I failed to point out that she won her age group. Yes, she came home with a bigger trophy.