The Lung Strong 15k was the final race of the 2008 Run for Your Life Grand Prix, and also the longest race in the RFYL Grand Prix series at 9.3 miles. I’m fine with that distance but before the race I was a little worried about my wife Linda, whose longest previous run (even in training) was 10k (6.2 miles). I’m happy to report that she sashayed through the course without any problems at all, so we both completed the Grand Prix series and ran in every race of the season. If I haven’t mentioned it before, when Linda started running last year shortly after me I had never seen her run at all in our 29 years of marriage. Since then she’s run something like 50 races, which is an amazing accomplishment for a 57-year-old woman whose previous athletic accomplishments could be summed up in two words: mall walker.
This morning’s weather was iffy at best. I woke up at 4 a.m. and looked outside to see raindrops bouncing off the pavement. For about 2 seconds I was tempted to go back to bed, but seeing as how I had already paid the registration fee AND it was a Grand Prix race AND I’d feel guilty if I didn’t run AND I hate to miss a race anyway, we were soon headed for Jetton Village in Cornelius. Aside from a few sprinkles during the race, the rain held off and the weather was great for running. It’s definitely one of the most scenic road race courses, winding through Jetton Park and alongside some of the nicest homes on the shores of Lake Norman.
This was an unusual race for me in that I ran the whole race without taking any walk breaks. I really didn’t plan it that way and was prepared to take however many 20-second walk breaks I needed (a la Jeff Galloway). It hardly even occurred to me until I saw the 6-mile marker and realized that I had run two-thirds of the race without walking, and that was when I thought to myself I’d just try to run the entire race if I felt like it, and I was happy with my chip time of 1:08:16 (7:21 pace). It’s hard to tell how much difference it ultimately made in my race time, but my 8th and 9th miles were noticeably faster than my 6th and 7th miles, which is unusual for me…
Mile 1 – 6:59
Mile 2 – 7:02
Mile 3 – 6:52
Mile 4 – 7:21
Mile 5 – 7:21
Mile 6 – 7:35
Mile 7 – 7:44
Mile 8 – 7:23
Mile 9 – 7:14
I ended up in 2nd place in the 55-59 age group and was really happy to see that the age group awards were nicely designed, large medals made specifically for the Lung Strong race. That’s a pleasant surprise after all of the unique awards that have been showing up lately (pizza cutters, jigsaw puzzles, etc.).
One shortcoming of the RFYL Grand Prix races is one I hope they’ll find a solution for in the future. As the premier running events in the area these Grand Prix races should have professional photographers and have finishing photos and photos along the course of the race that people can purchase. I’ve run several of the Palmetto Grand Prix races and they all have photos available after the races. They’re not quite as fancy as the big operations in the bigger marathons, but they’re also not as expensive. It’s a simple process to buy a full size digital photo, delivered through email, for only $5. I believe a lot of people would be willing to pay five bucks for their race photo and surely the Charlotte area is loaded with wannabe photographers who would be willing to give it a try.