TUCKER, Ga. -- I guess I shouldn't fool myself. Many times I go into races thinking that I'm going to take it easy or that I don't care what time I end up with.
And I really don't. But this race, the Charles Harris 10K, there was the potential for something special -- to break my 47:50 PR that had stood since the April 4, 1998 Roseburg (Ore.) 10K, set when I was 27.
I came within 8 seconds of that PR the first time I ran the Charles Harris in 2004, to qualify for Group IA of the Peachtree Road Race for the first time.
In 2009, I had a much more modest goal for the Charles Harris -- to only run under 55 minutes so as to qualify for Group IB of the Peachtree.
This year, the Atlanta Track Club made it harder to qualify for what they now call Group A, that is the group right behind the subseeded runners. For Group A, you have to run under 47:58.
In recent memory, my fastest 10K was last year's Peachtree, when I ran a 48:14. My last two 10Ks -- the Doug Kessler Lightning and the Strong Legs 10K were much slower. I ran those in under 50 minutes.
But I also had a lot of confidence in coming within 29 seconds of my half-marathon PR last week with a 1:46:59 in the Run the Reagan.
So anyway, it all came down to the first mile of the Charles Harris. The race start was fast and I logged a 7:35 mile.
From there I thought I could hold on. By Mile 4, I knew that a PR was a good possibility. I felt like I was running fast but was still in control of my race.
After Mile 5 by the turn I held up a little, knowing there were two hard hills at the end. By this time I knew I'd come in under 48 minutes and just wanted to finish strong.
At the top of the second hill I could see the finish and began to push to close.
It's kind of surreal that after all this time I finally did it.
Time: 7:48 a.m.
Temp: 37 degrees
Gear: Tech T, long (Atlanta Marathon promo), short sleeved T (Carolina grey), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.