Today I participated in the 30th edition of Cursa de la Mercè — a 10k race through the streets of Barcelona. Well in advance of the race I had set myself the target of finishing the race in 48 minutes and hence beat my personal best by a minute and a bit. My fairly optimistic target was backed up by an unusually effective running schedule for the past month.
On Thursday my plans changed. I was having lunch with some friends when the wife of my running mate asked me if I still planned to run the race in 45 minutes. I corrected her and said that I was actually aiming for 47:30 to 48:00. She claimed to have heard a different story. She got support from her husband. He was also pretty sure that I was wrong about my plans. He claimed that I was aiming at 45 minutes.
Since I did not want to argue with my friends I gave in and admitted I had been wrong. My plan was actually to run the race in 45 minutes. I cannot say that I was unhappy about being persuaded to change my plans. I was rather excited about taking on the challenge.
This morning I passed the starting line together with my running mate — aiming at crossing the finish line in less than 45 minutes. Our mission did not start well. We got stuck in massive traffic and ran the first kilometer in over five minutes and a half. After the first kilometer was behind us the traffic became sparser and we could increase the pace. However, we gradually moved further away from our target of 45 minutes.
We crossed the 5k mark 24 minutes and a half after crossing the starting line. I was having a tough time. I signaled my running mate that he should go on without me. The gap between us increased and soon he was out of sight. I did not expect to see him again until after the finish line. I was thus rather surprised when I met him again after two and a half kilometer. We ran together for a while until I decided to increase the pace a bit for the last kilometer.
I crossed the finish line 49:22 minutes after I crossed the starting line. I was four minutes and a half behind the plan of the wife of my running mate; a minute and a half behind my own original plan; eleven seconds away my personal best (on the wrong side); and eleven seconds ahead of my running mate.
Despite not meeting any of the plans I was happy with the race. In the past I have usually been unhappy with myself for setting myself too easy targets. It was nice to try something new.