I couldn’t have asked for a nicer day for a race. The sun was shining but it wasn’t too hot, even considering the relatively late race start of 9:45 am. The race course takes advantage of the street closures for the Alameda Independence Day Parade and the runners start fifteen minutes before the parade follows.
Because we followed the parade course, the race had a big audience. People lined the streets the whole way, and the streets were downright crowded near the starting line on Park Street in Alameda. Folks cheered and applauded us runners the whole way, which was a great boost.
One thing Alameda doesn’t have is hills. The whole course was flat and running the course was a matter of finding a sustainable pace and keeping with it. I did notice that it felt like work more than I expected it to, but I kept it going for the whole course and had a bit of energy left for a boost in speed once the end was in sight, and I wasn’t the only one. I found myself pushing hard to keep the runners near me from passing. One did get past me, but I was able to hold off two others.
At 117th place I’m not really all that concerned about whether I’d come in 118th or 119th, but I find it refreshing that even at my level, far away from those vying for top placement or placement even in an age group, that some competitive spirit flourishes. It’s not so much that I care that those people didn’t pass me. Instead, I’m glad that they tried to pass me and that I rose to the challenge. That’s part of what makes the race fun.
The best news is that I didn’t have any knee or foot trouble the whole way, and I was able to walk normally after the race. I’m still experiencing some pops and an occasional twinge in my knee and foot, but I’ve gotten away from the constant pain when I put weight on my left side. I seem to be healing up. The challenge for me now is to devise a schedule that increases distance and pace much more gradually than I had increased last month. I’m not yet sure what that plan will look like except that I need to focus on shorter distances and a higher frequency of runs, with at most a single six or seven mile run during the week and the rest in the two-to-four mile range.