Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Breaking 30

By Frank DeVar

You’re going to get into a fight with someone. You know what day, and time it will take place, and you’ve known for awhile. It’s always the night before where the reality of your coming plight sinks in. Particularly when you know, deep in your soul, that your opponent is a little stronger and a little quicker. You try to convince yourself that maybe you have a few tricks he has not seen and victory is not such a far-fetched idea. Your reward with this logic is a few stressful hours of sleep before the battle takes place.

This past Sunday, I was able to live this sequence after finding out I would be lining up against Chris Kwiatowski at the Veterans Day 10k. We had never raced, or even worked out together(even though we are technically on the same racing team), but with his recent 49:06 Army ten mile time, I knew it would take something miraculous to win.

Races, particularly those that go exactly to plan, are the hardest to remember. Looking back at Veterans Day, I can remember the first mile going out very quickly, and becoming increasingly concerned that Chris and Jeff Brannigan, did not look like the pace was very taxing. The next four miles were hazy. When I think about those miles now, it was almost like a dream where you try move faster or have a clear thought, but an invisible force is holding you back. Only at the fifth mile, where my coach Dustin Sweeney was standing, did my head clear. All he really said was, “24:13.” Initially a good sign as that was a 5 mile PR, but when I tried to do quick math, it became apparent that hitting under 30 minutes would be an impossible feat.

An unknown runner was between Chris and I. He had a great stride but was coming back to me quickly. He proved to be the better man as he beat me by two seconds, but I was not distraught as I crossed the line at 29:59. We covered the last 1.25 miles at 4:35 mile pace. Chris beat me by 12 seconds in a convincing win.

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