This report really begins yesterday when my Garmin died.
I was headed out for a short run yesterday morning, and when I turned on the Garmin, and all I got was the "black screen of death." I tried a few tricks I know that have worked to resurrect it in the past, but none of them worked: It seems to be the death of the display screen, not the device itself, and I think there's no coming back from that. The Garmin is about 3 and 1/2 years old, and I think that's longer than the average lifespan for the device, but still...I mourn the loss.
So, that meant that for today's race, I had to pace myself by "feel" -- something I haven't done for a race in close to 4 years. What didn't help was that the race's mile markers were not accompanied by time clocks, so with the exception of a guy standing at the 1, 5 and 6 mile markers shouting out the time, I had no clue what my pace was as I ran.
At mile marker 1, I was at 9:14 -- which was about where I wanted to be; and at mile marker 5, I was at 47:30 -- a little slower than I wanted, but again, about where I wanted to be; but then at mile marker 6 I was at 57:20 -- NOT where I wanted to be (I had been hoping for an overall time of about that). Of course, I knew I had slowed some in the last mile because the 6th mile was pretty much all hill and then the last portion of the race was a winding path that went up and down small hills through the park where the finish was located, but I hadn't figured I'd slowed to a 9:50 min pace, but I guess I did (I only have their word for it).Therefore, I finished in 59:18 -- gun time (chip time was identical and was meaningless because there were no mats down at the start: when are RDs gonna realize that without mats at the start, all the timing chips are completely useless?!) -- which is a new PR and still fell within my "pie-in-the-sky" race goal!
So, even though I feel like I could have had it in me to run a faster race, I'm still pleased with this time and, let's be honest: It's always nice to fall just a smidgen short of expectation so that I have endless goals to pursue.