Many road races these days have categories for heavier people (you can read "fatsos" there if you must), with "Athenas" for women over 175 pounds, and Clydesdale (why not Zeus?) for men over 200. As much I hate to say it, I'm currently in the second category, but Saturday morning's run made me feel a little more like a thoroughbred again. My PR for a 10K run is about 37 minutes, 17 seconds, which was right at six minutes per mile. I weighed then about 30 pounds less. I remember the race that gave me the PR, a hilly 10K down in Beaver, Oklahoma, where I got into a battle for 2nd place with a guy through the entire race and we both came steaming down the hill to the finish line, gutting it out, and he beat me by a step, but I never ran a 10K faster. So I was grateful to him. That was maybe 15 years ago. About 10 years ago I ran The Strawberry Run in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, the first 10K I had run in years, and I finished in over 45 minutes, which I considered a great fall, a sign of fading athleticism. But until Saturday I hadn't run a 10K under 45 minutes since before that Wisconsin "disaster."
So, Saturday I hauled my Clydesdale ass to the starting line of Madison's "Tour the City" 10K, joining 19 others, including the true thoroughbred Rod DeHaven, an Olympic marathoner and holder of some state and national records. I was hoping for something under 50 minutes, but I had the feeble hope that a 45 minute 10K was in the tank, since I've been running well. 50 minutes would mean about a 7:30 pace or so, and I had my lap counter watch to check my pace. But there were no mile markers! How fast was I going? I had no idea until I passed the finish line and saw a 44:11 was my time. Whoop! When I checked the pace, and saw the 7:06 per mile speed I was going, I gave my 50-year-old self a slap on the back and a double whoop. Visions of a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon (3:25 for this old codger) began to take shape. So if the foot holds up, and I manage to stay on the DELAP Diet (Don't Eat Like A Pig), maybe I can improve mightily on last year's 3:51. Things are looking good. With some luck and good training, I'll make it.