Before today, I recently competed decently at the Run at the Rock 7 Mile trail race, not so well at a "5k" in Brier Creek (that clocked 3.35 miles on my Garmin), and just last Saturday, had a blast running the Black Mountain Marathon with my dad; his first marathon since Boston '88. Today would be a true gauge of fitness on the hilly "Get Your Rear in Gear" course that I have run well on before (17:29 in 2010). Bring it on.
So I was a little more nervous than I should have been. Training has been a steady 25-35 miles a week since December and I can start to feel the consistency paying off. While I have only done a few little workouts, at 6:00 pace, I was hoping to run that speed today. I got up, had some coffee, a small breakfast, and watched Lopez Lomong's 5k American Record from last night on Flotrack. I was ready, I thought.
Warmed up and hit the start. Some poor girl muffed the national anthem, then we were off. A guy from Bull City Running took off from the gun and I was behind him and one other guy for the first half mile. As we turned onto Peace, I passed the second guy, but was a ways back from the leader. The first part of the hill by Cameron Village hurt, but I carried on. Hit the mile in 6:04 or so and was a little bummed, but was happy with my position in a sea of 720 or so competitors. Cruised down Clark and began to lose a little steam at the turnaround. I was right on around 19:00 pace. I wanted under.
This is an out and back race and part of the fun of the second half is hearing the cheers from the other runners as you press back towards the Fletcher Park finish. I heard the footsteps behind me as I approached the downhill, but I knew how to run this section. I thought so at least. My legs did not agree. I passed the 2 mile in 12:32 and was pissed. How did I slow so much? Oh well. Back to the race. At 2.25 miles, my legs weren't responding, but I pressed on, wanting to hold my ground.
This is where it got weird.
|Finishing the death march|
So I soldier through the last bit of the race, hold my silver podium spot and finish in 19:05. I was bummed to not break 19, but I'll get there again. I ran 19:29 there in 2009 and then dropped 2 minutes the following year.
After finishing, I walked back to my car, called my girlfriend to tell her how I did, then did what any other mid-thirties sane person would do and put on my pullover, hat, and compression pants and jogged back onto the course, looking for the perp.
I'm generally pretty laid back, but this is the kind of thing that pisses me off, and although my 6 foot, 180 pound build isn't great for racing, it's ideal for post-race confrontation. I'm not a meathead. Promise.
|Not a satisfied look|
But that was that. I got back to the finish area, collected my award (a gift certificate to my team's store, Capital RunWalk, which my girlfriend will enjoy), headed to Breugger's and got a bacon, egg and cheese on everything, and a french toast coffee. All is well. Onward and upward. Probably even treat myself to a beer at Trophy Brewing later today.
Looking forward to the next one!
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