The Ten for Texas is a local ten mile running race event in my community that is, generally, a fun and well run event. It seemed to me that this year's race management left a fair bit to be desired in several areas (T shirt sizes, aid station management), however it was still a fun and well-supported event.
This event is a very personal one to me, this was one of the earliest race events I did--and the first I did where I knew other runners from my local community. It is also the primary race that I use to judge how I have changed physically and how I have improved as a runner over these several years.
Ten for Texas 2007 - After coming off a winter and spring where I started running on my own, I joined a local fitness group (Woodlands Fit, a local group of USA Fit). It was during this period where I first did the Ten for Texas race and it was the first time a race was also a social event for me. I finished the race in 2:01:11. I was hoping to get under 2 hours but was still happy with my time. Here is a photo of me coming across the bridge after mile 9 of the race.
Ten for Texas 2008 - The local cleanup efforts following Hurricane Ike forced the 2008 race into the same week as Rock n Roll San Antonio, so I had to wait until 2009 to do this race again.
Ten for Texas 2009 - At race day on 2009 I was just coming off of a knee injury. I did put a solid effort forward, although I was not quite up to pushing my hardest for that distance. I finished in 1:57:54, and was a bit disappointed with that time as I had hoped to do a bit better. Here is a photo of me in practically the same spot as the previous time.
Ten for Texas 2010 - I sat out the 2010 race to concentrate on the half iron distance race a few weeks later, although I did go and watch the race and cheer on my friends.
Ten for Texas 2011 - I came into this year's race determined to give my best effort and see just what I could do. As I thought about my race goals in the days leading up to the race, I was thinking that beating 1:45:00 would be a good goal. After talking over with a friend in the coming days, that goals moved under 1:40:00. I later started thinking that I might even be able to get under 1:35:00 with a near-perfect day. Well, the day was not perfect. The recent weather had gone from cool and dry to warm and humid on race day, however I was not going to let that deter me from my goal. I started the race with a plan to try to run 9 minute miles and see if I could hold that pace long enough so that when my pace slowed it might be enough to still be under 1:35:00.
Mile 1 - this was one of the tougher miles due to the large race congestion. I had forgotten how many slower runners put themselves up front in a running event. Mile 1 goes by in 9:08.
Mile 2 - The field is starting to spread out a bit, although the aid station near the end is far too small and unprepared as runners largely went behind the table to grab their own water as there was almost none on the table or being handed out by volunteers. Mile 2 went by in 8:54.
Mile 3 - Now we are finally getting spread out enough that I hardly had to jostle my way by other runners. 9:02.
Mile 4 - We are starting to see solid signs of community support cheering runners on in areas, though my pace slowed a bit after I felt some soreness that subsided when I slowed a bit. 9:10.
Mile 5 - As I get to the halfway point, I know that I have slowed a bit but also know that I am feeling faster and stronger than expected. I am thinking that sub 1:35:00 seems pretty good if I keep holding up. 9:14.
Mile 6 - The course takes a northward turn as we begin the return half of our course. There is good crowd support and I see some friends cheering. I feel strong enough to pick up the pace a bit. 9:01.
Mile 7 - I have a strong mile as we head back up and see a couple more friends. I start thinking I might have a chance to get under 1:30:00 if I can hold the pace. 8:49.
Mile 8 - I can start to feel the fatigue, though I also know I just have a few miles to go and I slow a slight bit to be ready to concentrate on the last 2 miles, including the bridge at mile 9. 9:16.
Mile 9 - I push my pace and feel good, though I am also cautious to not push so hard that I can't maintain the pace. I try to be ready to smile for the photo op after the bridge. I know getting under 1:30:00 is going to take a good last 2 miles and I make the effort to try to do it. 8:49.
Here is my photo on the mile 9 bridge.
Mile 10 - I push myself, and as I get closer to the end I push harder still. Looking at my Garmin Forerunner 305 during the middle of the mile, it looks like I am going to fall a bit short of being sub-1:30:00 but I still go hard and finish with an all out pace over the last minute or two. Mile 10 goes by in 8:21.
Finishing time: 1:29:50 (I had 1:29:53 on my Garmin and was sure the official time could not be far off.) Yes, I had done it! I actually ran the race in under 90 minutes, under a 9 minute per mile average pace! Me....the guy who couldn't break 2 hours a few years back..... :-)
What made these differences? Lots of training and obviously losing some extra weight. My approximate weights at the time of each race:
2007 - 265 lbs
2009 - 220 lbs
2011 - 175 lbs
I didn't notice until I just wrote these that I had similar weight loss over each two year period during the last 4 years. I know it didn't really come off that evenly throughout this for year period.
All in all, I have to say that the Ten for Texas was an enjoyable and successful event for me this year.