Yesterday I ran in the Mt. Evans Ascent, 14.5 miles from Echo Lake at 10,600 feet elevation to the summit at 14,264 feet. My time this year was 2:24:17, or 9:57 per mile, which is 54 seconds faster than I ran the same race last year. Even though my time improved, it was a much more competitive race this year and I went from 21st place overall in 2007 to 43rd in 2008 (out of 360 people). Not bad, but I was hoping for a bigger improvement over last year's time. The overall winner was Matt Carpenter, who beat the previous course record by 4 minutes, and beat the 2nd place finisher by more than 12 minutes! That guy is a rock star of running.
I ran the first mile in 8 minutes, but wasn't feeling strong, my place slowed, and many people passed me. I improved in the second half of the race, at least compared to other racers, and was able to regain position by passing several people, including 5 people in the last half mile of the race - which is definitely my fondest memory of the race.
Before the race I had delusions about a top 10 finish, but I would have had to run at a pace of 8:25 per mile to do that. That's a minute and half faster, per mile! To do that would take a fundamentally different level of commitment to the sport, and/or different genetics than I was born with. I don't think I'm ready to commit the time it would take to get to that level.