Undeterred, though still fatigued and a bit sniffly, I bundled up and walked over the Hyde Street hill to the starting line. We had a pretty big turnout, as the organizers expected; over 200 participants. The weather was oven ten degrees cooler than it had been for the half marathon a week before. I kept a jacket and gloves on and jogged in place to keep warm. I chatted with our race photographer, who has a (rare for him) injury and has not been running; I told him how I'd been citing him as my example of a 70+ year old who beats me in every single race. He snapped a nice pre-race photo of me, where I attempted to show off my US Half Marathon tech tee without actually taking my jacket off.
The race began, and I attempted a brisk pace. By the time I reached mile 1 in 9:55 I knew I wasn't going to break 60 minutes today. I would have to be running 9:40 miles and I did not think I could sustain even 10 minute pace for a full hour, especially while still getting over a cold. And indeed, I ran most of the subsequent miles at a somewhat slower pace. But I felt pretty good, no noticeable cramps or soreness which have plagued me on previous attempts at this particular race. (Finished in 1:12:29 in March of this year and 1:14:02 last November.)
Finished in 1:02:50 (10:09 min/mile pace), though I forgot to stop my watch so until this evening only knew for sure that I'd finished in under 1:03. Not my one-hour goal, but a new PR nonetheless, and exactly one minute faster than my previous 10K in September. My field placement was 72% which is pretty decent based on my history with this club. Age Graded Calculator puts my performance at 50.74%, with an age-graded time of 59:47 (which would have beaten my goal!). Also, it took me about eight seconds to cross the starting line, but I'm ignoring that in the calculation; our club runs are too small and inexpensive to use chip timing.
Since I didn't meet my 60 minute goal, I'm giving myself one more chance to do so in 2012, with the Golden Gate Park 10K on December 9. Before that I'm also doing another race along the Embarcadero, a four-miler (weird distance; guess I'll run it as if it were a 5K). That will make it a baker's dozen of races for the year and that will be quite enough for 2012, whether I meet my time goal or not.
Looking ahead to 2013, my club schedule has not been finalized yet, but it looks like I will do one 5K with them in January (hopefully with boyziggy) and another one or two in March. In between, on my birthday I'll be running another half marathon, Kaiser Permanente. And I already signed up for next November's US Half in order to get the lowest possible pricing. I'll be signing up for Bridge to Bridge and the Big Gay 10K again as soon as those dates are announced, and of course I have the SF Marathon, my first full, in June. Whew!