I didn't think for a moment that it would be anything but a good memory, but as I have proven in the past, you never can tell.
The race, as the two years previous was low key and a small field. I really like this part of the race, but I can see how it can be a bit discouraging for the race coordinator. I think today's race was about 25 runners which is very close to what the first year was, but not as good as last years turnout of over 50. Fifty is still a good number for a small race, I would have liked to see close to 50 again today.
I encouraged a friend of mine to run it as well and I was happy to hear just a few days ago that he was going to run it. The cool part was he really had a shot at winning the race, but the unfortunate part was so did the guy that beat him. :( He will be coming back last year to finish what he started today.
The starting was just like in years previous, kinda informal, and again with the Chick-fil-a cow. It didn't take long and we were off. I started off fast, but not too fast. I was running a good pace to start a 5k race... especially knowing what hills I had ahead of me. The first 1/2 mile was everyone falling into place and setting up their race. I watched ahead as the two leaders ran side by side (one being my friend) and then the two more in front of me just a little bit. The one guy that started pulling away a little bit is one of the better runners that has come out to this race before. Last year I beat him, but I was sure that this year that was not going to happen. The other guy was running just a little bit in front of me and I intentionally used him to pace myself and keep myself from starting the race too fast. As we started up the first hill he started to slow down a bit so I went ahead and passed him making the statement..... if only we knew this was the only hill. :) From this point in the race I ran alone.
The hills in this race are an absolute killer, anybody that disputes that needs to get their head examined. This being the third year I have run it I have yet to hear anybody say "that wasn't too bad"
I continued to run feeling each hill worse than the one before. My legs were feeling good but my breathing was an entirely different thing. As I neared the circle before the turn-around I saw my friend..... but not till after I saw the other guy. I felt bad for my friend as I knew that it wasn't looking good and the other guy was pulling away.
The second mile of this race is the absolute worst. It has the worst hills, but it also sets you up for a nice third mile. The third mile has it's share of hills, but the last 3/4 mile is a nice reprieve following the lung and leg blasting of the first couple miles.
I was heading down that last 3/4 mile and I was moving pretty good, and I was very happy. I knew I was going to be close to my goal time of 25:00, but was also quite suspicious that I would not quite make it. As I rounded the corner to finish off the race I still had all kinds of energy that is only a result of the miles that I put in. I finished really strong with an official time of 25:22. Not at my goal, but close enough that I have a smile on my face.
I stood around for a few minutes talking and when I finally started to head for a banana I felt what the hills had done to my calves. Nothing a little walking wouldn't help.
My mile splits:
8:07 - 8:37 - 8:04 - see more at my running log
Now - a little history
This race was my first race 2 years ago, and that was the first running of this race. I came in last that first year in 36:37, being beat out by a guy running with a hernia. My weight on that day was 219 (down from 258 at the beginning of the year)
Last year I had a few races under my belt and had just recently ran my first half marathon. I came in second overall with a time of 23:23. My weight on that day was 166.
Just one short month after that race I was running the SWAT Trot and trying for a PR when I was tripped and fell to break my collar bone. I have been off for 8 of the last 11 months.
Today was only my second race back following my return from the injury. My first race back was a much flatter course and I finished in 26:26. Today, I finished in 25:22 and 4th overall. My weight today is 178...... and dropping!
You can read more about my history with this race at these links:
Links to the official results and pictures: