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Today, I ran the GSK 10k Run in Lincoln for the first time. It was a fast frigid adventure. Cold and wind dominated the race (this seems to be a persistent theme this year for the last few races). The race starts and finishes at Holmes Park/Holmes Lake in Lincoln. I wish the race course allowed us to simply run loops at Holmes Lake (softer surface with crushed limestone and more scenic, also safer but I’ll get to the safety issue a little later).

Before any race, I try to survey the start and finish. Here’s the view of the finish at Holmes Lake (the start is actually on Normal Boulevard just north of the finish).

The race is run by the Lincoln Track Club and sponsored by Glaxo-Smith-Kline, the pharmaceutical company. It was formerly called the Novartis Run. There are a few loops on the course, about a mile loop to begin which runs adjacent to Holmes Lake, then we run onto Normal Boulevard before we reach mile 1.

A 2 mile race was also part of this series (mainly for kids but some adults ran that too).

Got off to a fast start. For a very short time, I was in 4th place in the lead pack but that was faster than I was prepared to go. Looked at my watch then: 5:15 pace. Slowed down to closer to my race objective pace of trying to break my 10k PR in this race: 45:44. The first mile was fast: 6:34, breaking my fastest mile pace.

The first half of the race went very well: breaking records for the 1k, mile, 2 mile and 5k distance according to Strava. After running a fast 5k, I backed the pace off a little to try to reserve some energy for the end.

Then at 4 miles, my Garmin died. I knew I was at 28 minutes and change but didn’t know how many seconds. I immediately started my vivofit 2 tracker so I could at least see elapsed time and approximate splits. But this put me in the awkward situation of running by feel the last 2.22 miles.

My efforts to revive the Garmin 620 watch failed and I finally gave up on it.

At 5 miles, a kind race volunteer said I was at 35:01 (that’s what I thought he said anyway but it must have been more like 36:01 or 37:01). At this point, breaking the 10k PR seemed almost inevitable. Almost. Except for one critical error I made at the end. Within sight of the finish, I was concentrating on finishing strong and accidentally dropped a running glove. In a momentary lapse of reason, I ran back to retrieve it. That cost me the PR. But of course my Garmin died before that anyway.

Maybe the cold froze my brain. Not sure why I retrieved the glove. But of course I remembered the infamous cross-country meet from high school when I was running with the leaders, lost a running shoe in a hole/dip, ran back to retrieve it and could not recover my pace/momentum. Momentum is very important to running success. If we suddenly become inert, it can sour a strong race performance.

As a race volunteer/spectator said at the end: NO! Don’t get the glove, finish first! Too late.

Lesson learned: Just keep running. If you drop something, finish first, retrieve it later!

So what went right? Strong start, 4 unexpected broken records (breaking records from my gold-medal age-group race last summer), and a good performance in adverse cold, windy weather conditions. It was as if a genie asked me to trade my 4 PRs (4 wishes instead of 3) for the full-distance race PR and I accepted. I was somewhat comforted by Smashrun’s message about “killing a super fast run in the freezing cold” (but ignore the runstreak day there, it’s really runstreak day 873: I didn’t log all my treadmill runs into Smashrun long ago).

What went wrong? Garmin fail, the splits after 5k were slower, and running by feel relying only upon my vivofit and race volunteers to tell me where I was on pace until I could see the finish.

The safety issue in this race occurred at 56th Street and Normal Boulevard. I was trying to cross 56th Street and police either failed to stop a driver or he failed to obey their commands: a truck suddenly darted in front of me crossing Normal Boulevard north to south on 56th Street, forcing me to break my stride and momentum. I held my hands and arms up and said: “Hey hey hey!” The police officer apologized. The driver took off. In my review on BibRave, I made it clear that I recommend this race with a strong caution for safety. Safety should be paramount and come first. If it doesn’t, the issue needs to be corrected to keep runners safe in the future.

But I can’t make excuses. I just didn’t execute at the end of the race. And my watch froze or went to sleep. Maybe the Garmin was full, I just deleted all the activities maybe that will help. Otherwise, I need a better backup solution than a vivofit 2.

So with a 45:44 in my sight, I finished :10 behind that at 45:54, 7:24 pace. Overall, it was a good experience except for the ending. Just too darn cold primarily. I know I can make up the 10 seconds. As a hot-blooded runner who prefers warmer tropical weather, aiming to do that later this year when some warmth is present to assist me.

Afterward, I learned I was 5th of 29 in my age group (40-49) but 36th overall out of 180 runners, 32nd of 103 men. Not bad. Grateful for the experience and accentuating the positive, I am happy with it and running on to new warmer adventures.