The 43rd Annual Rocket Run 10 miler
I'm just getting around to it.
I'm just getting around to it.
Every year I try to enter a new race, or at least new to me. For years, I've seen the Rocket Run 10 miler pop up, but I never registered for it. I guess I couldn't appreciate the distance. Because it's not a 10K or half marathon, just something in between, it didn't resonate with me. My outlook on this distance changed last year when on a whim, I signed up at the last minute for the Firecracker Chase 10.2 mile race in Fayetteville, TN. I realized this is a great distance for a race. It really allows you to push yourself. There's not a lot of managing a race at this distance. It's all about how much you can pour yourself into it.
A Historic Little Town
The race takes place in the historic little town of Mooresville, AL. The town is about the size of a postage stamp. It's small, but consists of beautiful old homes, and the race starts at the "Old Brick Church." This race is free to members of the Huntsville Track Club, so I was surprised to see that Martin Schneekloth was not at this race. Apparently, he chose to run the Savage Gulf Marathon, which requires an entry fee. I will leave it to the reader to discern what I'm implying.
The Race Begins
I went out at a pretty good clip. At one point I looked at my watch and realized I was running below a 7 minute pace. I knew I had to slow down or I would blow up at some point. As I passed the 1 mile mark, I was running about 7:45. I maintained an 8:00 minute pace as I ran up a long frontage road that ran parallel to I-565. From miles 3 to 4, the gradual climb and rolling nature of the road began to take its toll, and my pace fell off to around 8:19.
The Middle and the push to the Finish line!
At mile 5, I clocked an 8:29 pace, and by mile 6, I was at 8:44. As I reached an aid station on the other side of 6 miles, I saw Graham Gallamore working the station. Graham gave me a shout out and that was a much needed lift. Graham is a ten time Mountain Mist 50K finisher -- a proud group who has an awesome jacket to prove their accomplishment. If I'm not mistaken, Graham is also the visionary who created the Dizzy Monkey. This is a challenge that requires one to finish the Dizzy 50K on Monte Sano Mountain in Huntsville, AL, on Saturday and then make the trek up to Nashville, TN to run the Flying Monkey Marathon on Sunday. Thus, the Dizzy Monkey.
Somewhere between mile 7 and 8, I see Carol Phelps doing a walk/run thing. I knew something was up. Carol is a really good runner, with a super smooth gait (and she consistently beats me.) Carol and I ran together to the 8 mile aid station, and she said she was still exhausted from a fast run earlier in the week. It can happen. Fatigue can catch up with you at all of the wrong times. I told Carol to hang in there. She's the real deal and she wound up finishing strong.
I knew I needed to pick it up and between mile 9 and 10, I posted a negative split -- from 8:41 to 8:22.
I almost beat Kathy Youngren
Kathy and I have a running joke (see what I did there) that goes back to the 2016 Delano Park 12 Hour run. A well meaning and kind runner, sincerely told Kathy that she almost beat her.
I needed someone to pace me for the last few miles, if I had any chance of getting a PR. Kathy was sitting down with a bunch of friends and it looked like she had called it a day, but I convinced her to get back in the race, to help a brother out. This very nice young woman was convinced she would have posted more miles than Kathy, if she had not reentered the race. I don't think that was necessarily true, and may have been a case of alternate facts, but needless to say, she didn't beat Kathy. However, since then it gives me great joy to tell Kathy that I almost beat her. In fact my life coach, Dr. Stephen Hawking assures me that in the overall space time continuum, that the difference between my finishing times, in any given race, and Kathy's are infinitesimal.
So, back to the race. As I was about a half a mile from the finish line, Michael Smith comes blazing by me. Michael is the wrangler for the Thursday morning Fleet Feet Breakfast Club runs. This group meets at 5:30 am. Those early morning runs must have paid off, because he shot by me and there was no catching up to him.
In any event, I finished the race in 1:23:58, with an 8:24 overall pace. OA: 57/230 AG: 7/21 - Meh.
There were some great performances out there. Brandon York won with a mind blowing time of 54:09, and a pace of 5:25. My daughter still gets a laugh thinking about the time we ran the Cookie Dash 5K together and Brandon ran and won the race dressed in a rabbit suit.
Lauren Mitchell won with a time of 1:06:12.
Rob Youngren was in the mix with a 4th place finish followed by, in his words, a 24 mile cool down run. Me thinks Rob has his eyes focused on the Barkley.
Dink Taylor, Chad Ayers, and Todd Parsons all had top 20 finishes.
Eric Fritz, who's been dealing with a nagging injury, finished in 1:17:35. Way to go Fritz. You nailed it.
Brad Ryder just keeps getting faster. He passed me.
On the women's side, Anya Gluzek, Aleisha Chaffin, and Kathy Youngren all had a great day. They're fast.
It's always good to see my friend Donna Palumbo. Donna is one of the nicest people in the world and she keeps knocking down those distances -- from 5Ks to marathons.
The Huntsville Track Club is working with a great organization, Ainsley's Angels, which gives people with special needs the ability to experience an endurance event with the help of Ainsley Angel volunteers. This year, Shannon Green experienced the Rocket Run 10 miler with several Ainsley Angel runners assisting her throughout the race.
(Shannon Green approaching the Finish Line!)
Many thanks to Race Director Valerie Connaughton, all the volunteers, and race sponsor OTBX (the Old Town Beer Exchange)! The beer at the finish line was much appreciated. It was a fantastic event and I look forward to making up for lost time and running this race for years to come.
Finally, I will leave you with this quote.
"I want my time running to serve as a reward." -- Frank Shorter
Races are the icing on the cake. It's the everyday run that will make all the difference in your life.